Minnesota Athletics Punished for Sexual Harassment | Athletic Business

Minnesota Athletics Punished for Sexual Harassment

Randy Handel, the University of Minnesota’s associate athletic director for development, has been suspended and demoted after an unidentified coworker complained he sexually harassed her.

The university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action released a redacted report it had sent to Handel dated May 3, which details the allegations. It describes instances of unwanted hugging, touching and comments by Handel towards a female colleague.

The report describes incidents that occurred behind closed doors, usually in Handel’s windowless office. The accuser alleged that Handel had hugged her more than 20 times, despite her saying early on that that kind of contact made her uncomfortable. Handel “acknowledged hugging (redacted) on a few occasions in congratulatory contexts,” according to the report.

As part of its investigation, EOAA interviewed witnesses inside the athletics department, who, despite having mostly “positive things to say about their interactions” with Handel, corroborated parts the accusers account.

EOAA concluded in its report that Handel had violated the university’s sexual harassment policy, and made recommendations for a response.

Handel was given an opportunity to respond in writing to the EOAA, which he did on May 11. Athletics director Mark Coyle handed down the disciplinary action in a letter yesterday.

“Based upon my review of the record, including the EOAA report and your response, I accept and adopt the findings of the EOAA that you violated the University’s policy prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace,” Coyle wrote.

As a result, Handel was suspended without pay for two weeks must attend sexual harassment training and coaching. In addition, Handel will be stripped of his supervisory duties, his office moved, and his salary revised.

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