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Utah Valley Settles Lawsuit with Ex-Title IX Officer

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Copyright 2018 The Deseret News Publishing Co.

Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City)

 

 

OREM - Utah Valley University has settled a whistleblower lawsuit from its former Title IX director, but neither party is giving details on the terms.

Administrators at the Orem university have not said why details of the agreement and any potential payout are being kept secret.

Melissa Frost, who headed UVU's Title IX office from 2014 to 2017, sued the university in May in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City, alleging she was fired after telling the school's attorney she was about to investigate allegations by three women against white men in upper management.

"While each side denies any wrongdoing, Ms. Frost and UVU have agreed to set aside their claims and focus on their mutual interest in ensuring equality and fairness for everyone in the university community," the parties said in a joint statement.

UVU spokesman Scott Trotter confirmed the parties had reached a settlement but declined to say whether Frost has her job back. Her attorney, Lauren Scholnick, also declined to comment beyond the statement.

Title IX is a federal law barring sex-based discrimination at schools. At colleges and universities, the offices investigate reports of sexual harassment and assault.

Frost has alleged school officials were slow to refer students the Title IX office and to adjudicate a sexual assault case involving athletes, and argued that campus police took gay male students' sexual assault complaints less seriously, among other issues. She sought reinstatement at UVU, plus payment for lost wages, benefits and seniority rights, and other damages if she is not reinstated.

Attorneys for the school argued in court filings that administrators didn't know she was gathering information about potential Title IX violations at the time, and the university later hired an outside investigator who found Frost's claim of retaliation was unsubstantiated.

UVU's attorneys also argued that Frost used coercive tactics to force student victims to participate in Title IX investigations. They pointed to a June 2017 memo giving her notice of the school's intent to terminate her that said complaints against her intensified over several months.

Email: aknox@deseretnews.com

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October 30, 2018
 
 
 

 

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