- Letters to Editor
BY: WESLEY ROBINSON
Eastern released the remainder of the documents regarding the termination of Debra Hoskins. The records revealed human resource policy violations, falsification of records, unethical use of university procards and alleged sexual harassment during her time as Center for the Arts director.
More than 700 pages of reports, university audits, investigations, emails and other correspondence detailed the university’s reason for attempting to fire Hoskins June 12, which was blocked by the Center for the Arts Community Operations Board. Hoskins resigned shortly thereafter.
• Retained personally identifiable credit card information, discovered at a March 20, 2012 inspection of the Center’s ticket box office.
• Falsified invoices for events using incorrect flat rates.
• Procard transactions May 20, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2011 of which nearly halfwere made by other than Hoskins, totaling $14,564.
• Using the procard for unauthorized meals nearly a quarter of which were not for potential donors or sponsors as is university policy.
• Hoskins offered a Center business manager position to someone before the job was officially posted.
• Overpayment on Center events including the Jerry Seinfeld event (at least $13,588) and the Manheim Steam Roller Event (at least $6,803).
In an April 17 ruling, Madison County Circuit Judge William G. Clouse Jr. ruled the privacy agreement between Hoskins and the university did not federal law requiring state funded institutions to disclose most of the documents related to her tenure as Center director and subsequent termination of employment at Eastern. Hoskins could have further appealed the decision but elected not to.
The records redacted the names of students and other university employees who could potentially be harmed by the documents being released.
Peter Baniak, editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader said the law has supported the Herald-Leader’s request for the records and is pleased they have been released. The documents sought by the Herald-Leader related to her tenure as director of the new $33 million facility, which opened last year.
Previously withheld documents were released in March included in the documents internal audit report, which detailed the mishandling of credit card information, complimentary tickets, the underpayment of acts performing at the Center, overpayment of service contracts, issues with the Center’s procard and the sale and storage of alcoholic beverages.
Earlier this year, the university and Hoskins released some of the documents concerning her tenure, many of which highlighted concerns about the center’s questionable handling of customer’s credit card numbers and information from her former employer, Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts in Danville.
“We are pleased that the records which we originally asked for under the open records act have now been released,” Baniak said.
As for the nature claims and reports of the records, Baniak has a different outlook:
“We’re going to let the records and our reporting in the newspaper speak for that,” Baniak said.
Most of the allegations against Hoskins had been revealed prior to the documents release late Wednesday, but the allegations of sexual harassment and instructing students to falsify time cards were brought to light.
Hoskins was being placed on unpaid leave for a week after violating the university’s sexual harassment and non-discrimination policies, according to one document.
Also among the documents is paperwork signed by Hoskins certifying completion of sexual harassment training on Jan. 3, 2012.
Hoskins former administrative assistant Brigid Gatlin said Hoskins instructed her to do her sexual harassment and discrimination training because she did not ‘have the time to do so’ in a document Gatlin submitted outlining “countless” occurrences of sexual harassment.
Gatlin also said Hoskins was inappropriately referring to administration, harassing students and using her procard to make unapproved purchases as well as changing receipts.
Hoskins denied all allegations of sexual harassment and said she did not know about university policies in regards to other issues in which she was accused.
The Herald-Leader reported that Hoskins is the director of the Grand Theatre in Lancaster which is set to open soon.