UI disputes Troyer's statement

UI disputes Troyer's statement

Spokesman: The investigation was fair; no confidentiality agreement exists

URBANA — The University of Illinois investigation into anonymous emails and its conclusion — that they were sent to faculty leaders from the laptop of former chief of staff Lisa Troyer — was rigorous and independent, contrary to statements recently made by Troyer, a university spokesman said.

Troyer, who resigned as UI President Michael Hogan's chief of staff in early January amid the investigation, issued a statement to The News-Gazette this week, claiming she did not write the emails and that the investigation was mishandled.

The UI ethics office, legal counsel and two outside firms hired by the university concluded a pair of anonymous emails sent in December were composed and sent from Troyer's laptop, there was no evidence of hacking and the laptop was not improperly accessed.

"It was a very thorough, rigorous investigation and included forensic evidence and information provided by multiple witnesses. We're very confident in how the investigation was conducted and in the findings," university spokesman Tom Hardy said Thursday.

Hogan and UI Board of Trustees Chairman Christopher Kennedy have also praised the report.

Troyer, who issued a brief statement to the press on Jan. 13, the day the report was issued, said she has been relatively silent in recent weeks because of a confidentiality agreement.

"I cannot publicly disclose the verifiable details that question the credibility of the investigation. I cannot publicly share the exculpatory facts omitted from the report, or specifically challenge the unsubstantiated speculation, irrelevant information, and many inaccuracies in the report," Troyer wrote in her statement published in Thursday's News-Gazette.

But Hardy said the UI has not entered into a confidentiality agreement with her.

"The information conveyed by Troyer or on her behalf in the interim has been carefully assessed but has provided no new perspective or impact on the conclusions," according to Hardy.

The inquiry began Dec. 12 when the UI's information technology was notified after members of the University Senates Conference received an anonymous email from someone purporting to be a faculty senator. The email concerned the group's discussion on enrollment management and changes proposed by Hogan in areas of recruiting students, admissions, financial aid and more. The anonymous email urged faculty not to pretend a consensus existed among the three campuses in response to the proposal.

The investigation initially involved the University Ethics Office and the Office of University Counsel. The UI also hired law firm Jones Day and forensic data analyst Duff & Phelps. The investigation cost the UI about $200,000.

In her recent statement, Troyer criticizes faculty members who, she says, have characterized her as being "coy" about her denial of responsibility and that her relative silence has been aimed at ensuring job security or protecting others.

UI College of Law Professor Michael Moore, who authored the letter sent to trustees on Monday urging them to ask for Hogan's resignation, declined to respond to Troyer's statement and her allegations against him.

Joyce Tolliver, an associate professor of Spanish and vice chairwoman of the Urbana senate, described Troyer's statement as "sad."

"I find it sad that, rather than explaining her documented intrusions into faculty affairs, Dr. Troyer finds it necessary to defend herself by accusing individuals of purposely trying to hurt her through our references to those intrusions," Tolliver said.

Tolliver also said Troyer is mistaken about what she said about the former chief of staff.

"I did not claim that Dr. Hogan created the zero-time faculty position for Dr. Troyer. I said, rather, that he announced that she would be 'taking up a tenured faculty position on our campus — without having consulted with the provost.' My claim was not that Dr. Hogan created a new position for Dr. Troyer, but that he announced that she would now be taking up those duties before he even consulted with the provost."

Tolliver also said she made no claims about the motivations for Troyer's silence.

"I did claim that her silence has the effect of protecting the president," she said.

Everyone has the right to make statements to defend their actions, said Harriet Murav, president of the Campus Faculty Association.

"I don't think I as Campus Faculty Association president or anyone else in CFA or faculty I know have been particularly bloodthirsty," she said, referring to Troyer's statement that there's little she can state publicly "even though I believe revealing more would go far to quell the blood thirst that's rampant among some."

"The real issue," Murav said, "has less to do with particular issues and the allegations of malfeasance and more to do with the big picture" of having more faculty voice in shared governance.

Faculty "deserve to have a fair and open process in which their voice gets heard. For that reason my colleagues feel so strongly the only way to give faculty a true, real voice is to create a faculty union like our colleagues at UIC have done."


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urbanaman wrote on March 02, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I guess I’m too “old school” in my approach by thinking that the solution here is obvious and easy: if you’ve committed offenses (illegal, unethical or both) or have conducted yourself in such a way that a significant number of your well-respected colleagues no longer have confidence in you, you pack your things and move on. What say you, Drs. Hogan and Troyer? And for our part, we promise to pretend that it was all just a bad dream…

Hartree wrote on March 02, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Let's assume Dr. Troyer is telling the truth and she feels bound by a confidentiality agreement of some sort.

It's not with the U of I as a whole, according to the spokesman.

So, either that's inacccurate and she has no confidentiality agreement, or she entered into such an agreement with someone OTHER than the U of I itself. An agreement with an individual? An agreement with some subset of the U of I that the spokesman doesn't know about?

Either way, that gets into pretty sticky territory.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 03, 2012 at 12:03 pm

If there was an "other" who made the agreement; any communication with Dr. Troyer directly could be detrimental to his future if discovered.  Better watch the "Soprano's" reruns on the A&E channel for how to use stolen cell phones for communicating.  Either that, or "dead drops" in parks.  The State of Illinois Investigator General's investigators do have the authority to shadow people; take pictures of people; and interogate suspects, and witnesses.  A little paranoia goes a long way.  Although; sometimes there is a thin line between paranoia, and reality.

urbanaman wrote on March 03, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Assuming Ms. Troyer's innocence, especially in light of the Duff & Phelps report (btw, these guys must love the U of I and the weasels they continue to hire for them to investigate) requires the gullibility of approximately a five-year-old. I would rather assume that Troyer will drop her campaign of absurd denial, apologize for insulting the university and C-U community with her ridiculous claims of victimization by both a phantom and investigators, and leave our community along with her arrogant and offensive excuse for a boss. If not, is there any way to bring criminal charges against her for necessitating an outrageously expensive wild goose chase of her red herring hacker?