CHICAGO — Faculty senators publicly lambasted university leaders Thursday for a "pattern of inappropriate, secretive and deceptive behavior" that culminated in the now infamous anonymous emails sent by President Michael Hogan's chief of staff.
Don Chambers, a UI-Chicago professor and chair of the University Senates Conference, delivered remarks near the close of the UI trustees' meeting in Chicago Thursday about what he called "one of the worst scandals to ever confront this university."
He said the investigative report on the anonymous emails sent to faculty by Lisa Troyer contains evidence "implicating a wider scope of involvement in the controversy than simply the question of who wrote the anonymous emails themselves."
The report found no evidence that Hogan or anyone else knew about the Dec. 12 emails, which were traced to Troyer's computer. The anonymous emails, signed by "a senator," attempted to persuade Senates Conference members to drop their opposition to Hogan's plan to revamp enrollment management.
Chambers said "leaders must accept responsibility for what happens on their watch even if they may not have personally directed or approved it."
And he said other "secret communications" uncovered during the investigation were "unbelievably mean-spirited and nasty."
Investigators found that Troyer had drafted, but didn't send, anonymous "test" emails to faculty and administrators who spoke against the enrollment management plan at a campus senate meeting earlier in December. She was on the phone with Hogan at the time, the report said.
"This pattern of sleazy conduct, now on open display, is as damaging to the university as the production of the infamous emails themselves," Chambers said.
Chambers said he was speaking on behalf of the leadership of the Urbana and Chicago campus senates, as well as the Senates Conference. He did not mention the Springfield campus senate, even though two representatives were there, including Professor Tih-Fen Ting, who investigators found had sent Troyer information about internal Senates Conference debates through anonymous emails.
Hogan declined to respond directly to Chambers' comments after the meeting.
"I disagree with what he said, but he has a right to say it," Hogan said. "The investigation speaks for itself."
He again denied having any prior knowledge of the Dec. 12 anonymous emails or the earlier test email. Troyer has denied authoring them and told Hogan and investigators that her computer was hacked.
"I may have been on the phone with whoever was typing, but I didn't hear any typing," Hogan said.
Asked if he has talked to Troyer since the investigation, Hogan said, "I call her from time to time to check up on her. ... I've been a good friend of hers for many years."
Earlier, asked about Hogan's future at the university, board Chairman Christopher Kennedy reiterated his support for the UI president.
"There is no question as to the future of President Hogan," Kennedy said. "The board's got great confidence in him. He acted appropriately throughout the investigation."
Kennedy said Hogan brought in outside counsel to investigate the emails, had the consultants report to someone other than himself and kept the board fully informed throughout.
The investigators "issued a complete report that cleared him of any involvement," Kennedy said. "The board is confident in the process."
He also said the board will not get involved in decisions about Troyer's future.
Troyer still holds a zero-time tenured faculty appointment with the Department of Psychology on the Urbana campus. Her salary, above $200,000 as chief of staff, has yet to be determined.
Kennedy said the board had purview over Troyer's administrative position, as she reported directly to the president "who reported to us."
But as a faculty member, her reporting line would go through a department head, dean, provost and chancellor first, he said.
"We don't want to get involved in something six levels deep into the university," he said.
Troyer did not attend Thursday's meeting.