A USF administrator has been stripped of his title after accusations of sexual harassment at his former university came to light.
Herb Maschner, former director of the USF Center for Virtualization and Applied Spatial Technologies (CVAST), was told Wednesday by the university that he would be removed from this position and reassigned, according to USF spokesman Adam Freeman.
This reassignment came after the Tampa Bay Times reported accusations against Maschner of showing a female coworker unwanted attention for four months before forcibly kissing and groping her in October 2013, while at he was working at Idaho State University, according to a lawsuit filed in Idaho.
For several weeks, USF reviewed the matter and Maschner met with College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) leadership, faculty and staff, according to Freeman. On Wednesday, USF told Maschner his assignment would be changed, “which management in the college believes will facilitate greater productivity and success for him and his colleagues,” Freeman said in an email.
“CVAST faculty members will now report to their department chairs, not Dr. Maschner,” Freeman said in an email. “He will also have no governance responsibilities, such as committee assignments or evaluative functions, in the Department of Anthropology and the School of Geosciences.”
An Anthropology faculty meeting on Oct. 28 mentioned the reports about Maschner from the Times. During the meeting, the department discussed what they wanted to do with the information and concluded they wanted Maschner reassigned, “as they are concerned for faculty and staff, especially those under his direct supervision,” minutes from the meeting said.
“Faculty felt (the) hiring of Maschner was out of the normal hiring process,” minutes from the meeting said. “For example, while he did interview via Skype with the faculty, he never gave a job talk nor did he interview with individual faculty members as part of the screening process. There appeared to be a rush to fill this position and therefore people felt pressured and rushed into making a decision.”
The minutes also mentioned that department members feared damage to the department’s reputation. Some members, as mentioned in the meeting minutes, expressed concern about Maschner remaining in the department and said female faculty had already been to see the Associate Dean and general counsel.
A motion was made at the meeting to send a statement to Eric Eisenberg, the dean of CAS. The motion passed unanimously.
“That the Chair with the full support of the (Faculty Advisory Council), and the faculty of the Department of Anthropology request that the Dean identify a way to disassociate our Department from Professor Herb Maschner and to rescind his membership in the department immediately,” the statement read, according to the minutes. “In addition, we express concern for individuals under his supervision and encourage this to be taken up by administration at USF.”
The notes from the minutes said the department had received no guidance on what to do in the meantime and no advice on what to say to students when asked about the situation. The recommendation was made to send inquiries about Maschner to Eisenberg.
Maschner’s benefits and $195,000 salary with USF will remain in place for at least 90 days. His future salary and title have yet to be determined, according to the Times.