Home > News > Education > Higher ed. regents conclude investigation amid ongoing allegations of unethical behavior

Higher ed. regents conclude investigation amid ongoing allegations of unethical behavior

By Bob Conrad

The Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents voted to reinstate two members of the board who temporarily stepped aside after NSHE Chancellor Melody Rose accused them of harassment and misconduct.

NSHE Chancellor Melody Rose. NSHE image.
NSHE Chancellor Melody Rose. NSHE image.

Those speaking in support of Rose before the meeting called on the regents to complete what some said was a slipshod investigation into Rose’s allegations by the law firm that conducted the investigation.

The regents voted to return Chair Cathy McAdoo and Vice Chair Patrick Carter back to their roles on the board for the reminder of the fiscal year. Both were accused by Rose of undermining her work.

“I believe that the new Board of Regents officers, Chairwoman McAdoo and Vice Chairman Carter, ran for their leadership positions deliberately to marginalize me and to limit my effectiveness, and that their ultimate intention is my dismissal,” she alleged, as first reported in the Nevada Independent. “The abuse I have experienced since the leadership turnover has been persistent and unrelenting…”

Jennifer Hostetler, an attorney saying she represented Rose, spoke during public comment. She called for a more thorough investigation into Rose’s concerns.

“Employee complaints should be thoroughly vetted by the investigator with each material allegation investigated and addressed. However, the investigation here primarily focused on gender discrimination and determining whether gender discrimination occurred,” she said. “It did not fully vet the chancellor’s other claims including those related to violations of the Board of Regents bylaws and handbook and the chancellor’s contract.” 

She also said allegations of ethics violations “by certain board members” should be further investigated as well. 

“Should Chancellor Rose be retaliated against in any manner for filing the complaint and bringing forward her concerns and potential violations by board members, I anticipate there will be significant legal consequences,” Hostetler warned the board. 

NSHE Regent Byron Brooks.
NSHE Regent Byron Brooks. Screengrab from NSHE Board of Regents meeting Feb. 17, 2022.

Regent Byron Brooks is also alleged to have intimidated Rose by attending a meeting carrying a concealed firearm. Brooks, at today’s meeting, said he could do so because “as a veteran, I took an oath to protect and defend not only the Constitution, but the public as well, which includes my fellow regents staff and the Chancellor.”

He said university police identified “substantial threat assessments” and he had authorization to carry his firearm to meetings.

Gov. Steve Sisolak on Twitter yesterday posted a letter to the regents in support of Rose.

“She has cemented herself as a team-builder and I look forward to continuing to work with her to improve the lives of Nevadans,” he wrote. “Your leadership, or lack thereof, could very well shape the future of our state.”

Former regent Lisa Levine also chastised the board. 

“I know firsthand how political and petty the relationships in this building can be,” she said. “Your own investigative report found that the ethical code of conduct for regents in the handbook was violated in several instances, and goes on to identify four ethics issues by Carter and five by former Chair McAdoo.”

The regents approved to accept the investigation as being concluded and the reinstatement of McAdoo and Carter in their positions. Four regents voted against the measure.

“This motion asks for the acknowledgement of the conclusion of this investigation, which is factual and has occurred, but also explicitly ties the return of previous leadership to that conclusion with no other discussion or mediation or indication as to how the board moves forward,” said Regent Amy Carvalho. “This implies that the board will simply return to the environment that initiated the original complaint.”

Related Stories