WSU settles over ‘offensive language’

Former athletics administrator resigned, agreed not to file complaints against WSU

REBECCA WHITE, Evergreen assistant news editor

Last year, WSU signed a $31,000 settlement with a former athletics administrator after he used what a university spokesman called “inappropriate and offensive language.”

According to the settlement documents, which were obtained by a public record request of all settlements signed by the university regarding sexual harassment or assault, John E. Lucier, former associate athletic director, agreed to never apply or accept a position at WSU again.

Specific allegations were not outlined in the settlement, and WSU spokesman Phil Weiler said the complaints had to do with “words, not deeds.”

“My understanding is that the complaints in this case had to do with inappropriate and offensive language used in the workplace,” Weiler wrote in an email.

He said to his knowledge, this wasn’t a case of sexual assault, and the university is not at liberty to discuss the details of the situation and the settlement.

The agreement, which was signed by Provost Dan Bernardo, Former Athletic Director Bill Moos, Attorney for WSU Danielle Hess and Lucier, resolved “all matters arising from [Lucier’s] entire relationship, employment or otherwise, with WSU.”

The university agreed to accept Lucier’s resignation, effective April 7, 2017, according to the settlement. They agreed to pay him $31,529 for purchasing his contractual notice as well as agreeing to the terms laid out in the settlement. Lucier was also eligible to receive whatever annual leave he had accrued during his employment and WSU agreed to not contest any claim he made for unemployment.

According to the settlement, both WSU and Lucier agreed the document was not an acknowledgment of wrongdoing.

“By entering into the AGREEMENT, neither party admits any violation of any duty, contract, order, rule or law,” the documents read. “The negotiation of this agreement shall not be admissible in any proceeding as to any kind of acknowledgment or admission of such a violation, wrongdoing or negligence.”

In the settlement, the university also agreed to funnel all requests for information regarding Lucier to the human resources department, only providing title, salary and dates of employment unless Lucier gave written authorization. Outside of a letter of recommendation and material the university is legally required to share, WSU agreed to release no other information on Lucier’s employment until April 2019 when that provision expires.

Lucier also agreed to give up any claims he might file against WSU for breach of contract, discrimination or other employment issues brought up before or after the settlement was signed.

According to a state employee database, Lucier worked for WSU for about five years. He previously worked for Fresno State University.

Lucier could not be reached for comment.


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