9 INVESTIGATES: New Briar Cliff president accused of sexual harassment

Local News

Allegations of sexual harassment are being leveled by multiple women against a local university leader.

9 Investigates has obtained copies of an internal complaint filed by a female employee against the new president of Briar Cliff. 

We’ve also learned a troubled past at other educational institutions where he’s worked.

Documents obtained by 9 Investigates detail three separate incidences involving female Briar Cliff employees and Dr. Hamid Shirvani.

Among the complaints: accusations that Shirvani singled out a small group of women for raises above what other department employees were given, secret dinners with the same women at off-campus locations, and conversations the complainants felt were inappropriate for the president to have with a subordinate. 
 
KCAU 9 has also learned the university has done an internal investigation and the Briar Cliff Board of Trustees Executive Committee determined there wasn’t enough evidence to conclude that any policies were violated.
 
A letter from the university’s lawyer does say the committee would be addressing the issues that have been brought to its attention.
 
We reached out to Briar Cliff University for comment. In a written statement, Chief of Staff Rachelle Karstens says:
 
I cannot confirm any specific investigation because cases are confidential under Title IX. However, the University fully investigates all reports of possible Title IX violations, including sexual harassment.
 
Let me clearly state that Dr. Shirvani has not been in violation of any Title IX claims, and has the full support and backing of the Briar Cliff University Board of Trustees. The Board appreciates President Shirvani’s leadership and is eager to implement the shared vision of Briar Cliff under his guidance.
 
Dr. Shirvani has a past of problems at prior universities.
 
He served for 11 months as the Chancellor of the North Dakota University System until the state board of higher education voted unanimously to buy out his contract for $925,000. The move apparently came after months of complaints about his management style and how he treated staff.
 
Before that, Shirvani served as the President of California State Stanislaus where in 2009, 91% of the professors expressed “no confidence” in his leadership.
 

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