Wednesday, May 7, 2003

$85,813 paid in
McCubbin complaint

A Wisconsin college settled charges
filed by a female professor

A month before Hamilton McCubbin was named as the first chief executive officer in the 119-year history of the Kamehameha Schools, the University of Wisconsin paid $85,813 to settle charges that he sexually harassed a female professor.

McCubbin, a former dean of the Wisconsin's School of Human Ecology, said yesterday he was unaware of the December 1999 settlement and that the university found no wrongdoing when it investigated the woman's complaint.

The sordid allegations of a 5-year-old sexual harassment complaint came to the forefront this week after the 61-year-old McCubbin resigned from his $350,000-a-year post at the Kamehameha Schools amid allegations he had an improper relationship with a female staffer.

McCubbin had no comment on the Kamehameha Schools' investigation, and the estate refused to discuss the circumstances of McCubbin's departure. The trust also had no comment on the Wisconsin matter.

McCubbin, a 1959 Kamehameha Schools graduate, said on Monday that he resigned because he has achieved many of the goals he set when he joined the trust three years ago and wanted to spend more time with his family. He added that he took the job with the understanding that he would serve as a transitional CEO.

The Kamehameha Schools' five-member board began an investigation of McCubbin several months ago after it received a complaint from employees who work in McCubbin's office that their boss was having an affair with another employee in that office.

A person close to the investigation said the $6 billion charitable trust re-examined the Wisconsin case in light of the recent allegations.

In the University of Wisconsin complaint, a former assistant professor, Jikyeong Kang, alleged that McCubbin pursued an unwanted personal relationship with her over three years, beginning in 1995 while he served as dean of her department.

Kang, now a professor at the University of Manchester in England, alleged that McCubbin repeatedly kissed her against her will, persistently called her at her home at night, asked her to massage him, and suggested that they have an intimate relationship.

During one uninvited visit to her home on Aug. 13, 1997, McCubbin asked Kang to give him a massage, Kang said. When Kang refused, McCubbin asked her if she would massage him if she received tenure, she said.

During the summer of 1997, Kang alleged that McCubbin pressed her to take his hotel room key when they were both in London on separate business trips.

She said that McCubbin obtained a copy of her itinerary before the trip and booked a room in the same hotel. McCubbin later moved to another hotel after he found out that she was staying with colleagues, Kang said.

He later told her not to tell their colleagues that they met in London, said Kang.

"Dr. Kang found this behavior unwelcome and did not accept his invitations so far as she felt able," Linda Harfst, Kang's attorney, said in the complaint. "She tried to make it clear to Dean McCubbin that she did not want an intimate relationship with him."

McCubbin said a formal investigation conducted by the University of Wisconsin in early 1999 found that Kang's allegations were false. A Jan. 7, 2000, story in the Wisconsin State Journal quoted university official Casey Nagy as saying that a university investigation in early 1999 revealed no misconduct. But Nagy also told the Journal that the investigation led to discussions between McCubbin and the school's provost and chancellor over the direction of the school.

McCubbin stepped down as dean in 1999 after serving 14 years in the position, but remained as a tenured university professor until January 2000, when he joined the Kamehameha Schools.

McCubbin previously told the Star-Bulletin that Kang filed her complaint after she was denied tenure by faculty members.

As dean, McCubbin had the authority to override the faculty's decision, but he declined to do so, he had said.

McCubbin said yesterday that he disclosed the matter to the Kamehameha Schools board when he was hired three years ago.

"Had I been under investigation or if there was a lingering issue, I would never have put Kamehameha Schools in that predicament," he said.

According to a December 1999 settlement agreement, the University of Wisconsin paid $85,813 to Kang. The payment represented the amount that Kang would have earned as an assistant professor for the period in which the alleged incidents occurred. The settlement also called for Kang to resign from the university.

Harfst said yesterday that Kang settled because she wanted to move on with her life. Harfst added that she was not surprised by McCubbin's current controversy at Kamehameha.


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