Regents launch official inquiry into reported leak of confidential info

May 11, 2017
University seal

In a closed session this morning, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents passed a motion launching an official inquiry into a reported leak of confidential information to a Twin Cities media outlet.

On the evening of May 10, KSTP- TV reported on allegations made against a Gopher Athletics employee. The source of the information, according to KSTP, was “a regent [who] provided the contents of the email with reporters on the condition of anonymity.”

The Board motion calls on each of the 12 Board members, as well as University employees who had access to the memo, to sign affidavits stating they did not share the confidential memo, or its contents, with media or anyone else. The Board will also engage outside counsel and experts, at the direction of the University’s General Counsel, to conduct a forensic investigation of electronic communications of individuals with access to the memo. The motion also signals to KSTP that the University is legally releasing KSTP from its apparent agreement of confidentiality with a Regent, and it encourages KSTP to reveal its Board source publicly. Based on the information from the inquiry, Board leadership will consider future actions appropriate to secure information.

“It is a great honor and responsibility to serve on the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents,” said Board of Regents Chair Dean Johnson. “We strive to uphold tremendous fiduciary responsibilities that require us always to act professionally and ethically, and to maintain privacy and other legal expectations. So it is greatly disappointing that we are faced with the potential that a member of the University community may have betrayed the public’s trust.

“That’s why members of the Board believe strongly that we need to investigate any potential leaks of private and confidential information,” Johnson said. “We will get to the bottom of this and take necessary action as we become aware of the facts.”

The University has no further comment on accusations reported on by KSTP beyond the following statement:

“The University takes very seriously any accusations made against any of our employees,” said University Spokesperson Chuck Tombarge. “However, as is the case in any private personnel matter, the University cannot discuss the details of the current situation.

“We have comprehensive human resource processes in place to investigate allegations fully and allow all parties involved to respond to investigation findings. We are committed to respecting the privacy of all involved whenever employment matters are under consideration. Only when matters are concluded, and when permitted by law, can we provide additional information.”

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