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UCA closes sexual harassment investigation at OA office

Posted: August 8, 2012 - 8:44pm

The University of Central Arkansas recently finished an administrative investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of interns at The Oxford American offices on campus, according to records released by the university under the Freedom of Information Act.

Between July 19 and Aug. 1, UCA officials interviewed interns, staff and former staff and found: “There were many examples of inappropriate sexual conversation and language, obscene gestures were witnessed and potential sexual harassment situations were documented.”

The workplace at the prestigious literary magazine could be viewed as “hostile,” according to the draft report released Monday.

A final report, with few changes, is expected to be reviewed by President Tom Courtway today [Thursday,] said Graham Gillis, interim title 9 coordinator for UCA, in email.

The move to investigate workplace conditions at the magazine came after the Oxford American Literary Project Board fired magazine founder and former Editor Marc Smirnoff and former Managing Editor and Managing Art Editor Carol Ann Fitzgerald for inappropriate behavior last month, board officials said previously. Allegations have surfaced that the pair sexually harassed interns or staff at the magazine.

Fitzgerald and Smirnoff deny sexually harassing interns or staff and are contesting allegations via a website, Facebook and emails. The pair have listed defenses and counterclaims online.

However, Smirnoff admits to touching or photographing feet, adopting pet names for interns and serving alcohol to underage interns.

After reviewing emails, the UCA police department referred the issue to the Title 9 coordinator to investigate. The issues at the magazine never warranted a criminal investigation, said Arch Jones, organizational and community services director.

The university took up its own investigation because the magazine’s office is located at Old Main, according to the report. Under title 9 legislation, universities are obligated to investigate cases of possible harassment of students even without a complaint, according to the draft report.

In the draft report, issued Monday, UCA officials made three recommendations to improve workplace conditions — requiring sexual harassment training, communication from management for what is acceptable behavior and holding regular meetings to discuss workplace issues. The report also recommended keeping signed documentation of training in personnel files.

In a telephone interview Wednesday evening, publisher and interim Editor Warwick Sabin said The Oxford American will implement the recommendations by UCA.

“Were going to do everything that UCA wants us to do,” Sabin said. “We’re going to comply with everything that UCA recommends.”

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Scarlet Sims
1976
Points
Scarlet Sims 08/09/12 - 09:11 am
4
0
NYT visits Conway, writes on OA

I found a New York Times article today on The Oxford American and Mr. Smirnoff. Take a look http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/09/books/oxford-american-editor-fired-in-...

It seems the eyes of Southern literary circles are on Conway.

i_wonder
27122
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i_wonder 08/09/12 - 09:19 am
6
1
eh...ya
Unpublished

"It seems the eyes of Southern literary circles are on Conway."

Yes, and pointing and laughing at us for being in a sexual harassment scandal.

I guess it's less creepy than the toe-sucker story......maybe.

Not all Southern men are so unrefined....

GreerferryMom
58
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GreerferryMom 08/09/12 - 10:23 am
3
1
Unbelieveable

It is unbelieveable a 40+ year old man could get away with
such action with young interns year after year. They impeached a president for that type of behavior toward just one intern. How many others are they working for the OA?

justsayin'
2983
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justsayin' 08/09/12 - 11:26 am
2
1
drama

No US president has ever been impeached. Andrew Johnson faced impeachment proceedings in 1868 but was cleared by the Senate; Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before full proceedings began; and in Clinton's case, the Senate voted not to proceed with impeachment. Just a little history for you.

Still a crazy story. He said, she said. Sounds like there is a lot of drama at the OA office.

BuzzBy
17777
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BuzzBy 08/09/12 - 12:46 pm
5
0
Here Is One For You Too
Unpublished

A History Lesson that is
CLINTON WAS IMPEACHED

Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, was impeached by the House of Representatives on two charges, one of perjury and one of obstruction of justice, on December 19, 1998. Two other impeachment articles, a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of power, failed in the House. The charges arose from the Lewinsky scandal and the Paula Jones lawsuit.

Clinton was acquitted by the Senate on February 12, 1999. With a two-thirds majority required for conviction (i.e., 67 senators), 50 senators (out of 100) voted guilty on the obstruction charge and 45 on the perjury charge. The Senate was, 17 votes short of removing Clinton from office on the former charge in the Senate
From WIKIPEDIA

lachowsj
5440
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lachowsj 08/09/12 - 11:11 pm
2
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Buzzby is correct

Clinton was impeached as was Andrew Johnson. Neither was convicted.

NoKidding
2460
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NoKidding 08/09/12 - 12:41 pm
2
1
A little history

House impeaches, and has done so twice. Senate convicts, but hasn't yet.

justsayin'
2983
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justsayin' 08/09/12 - 03:17 pm
2
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Thank you both

I didn't realize that the removal from office was actually seperate from the impeachment trial itself. I do appreciate the history lesson. Am I reading correctly? Impeachment just means an official is being accused of unlawful activity by the majority of the house?

NoKidding
2460
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NoKidding 08/09/12 - 03:21 pm
1
1
It's like

The House is the grand jury. Impeachment is its indictment.

justsayin'
2983
Points
justsayin' 08/09/12 - 03:23 pm
4
0
And not that I have a leg to

And not that I have a leg to stand on, but the website I went to after seeing the comment (because I was under the impression that since no president was removed from office that it wasn't considered impeachment)is where I got the text. Can you believe not everything you read on the internet is true? :) Obviously, I should have looked into more than one site. Hindsight :)

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