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May 2, 2013

Sexual harassment, other offenses alleged in Hoskins’ records

In 740 pages of documents

RICHMOND — (Note: Readers may find some contents of this story offensive.)

In the second, larger release of documents under the state open-records law Tuesday as ordered by Madison Circuit Court, allegations of sexual harassment and abuse of her university credit card are leveled at Debra Hoskins, former director of the EKU Center for the Arts.

An earlier release of documents spelled out accusations of an ethical violation as well as mismanagement. The latest round of documents also alleged violations of university personnel policies in the supervision of students and volunteers.

The documents also include memos from Hoskins to university officials denying some allegations and the claim that a personal vendetta was being conducted against her.

The sexual harassment accusations include the claim that Hoskins repeatedly pinched another woman’s breast, frequently used a vulgar term for sexual intercourse, discussed her sex life and the sex lives of others in front of employees, including students.

She reportedly told employees how certain top-level male university officials would become sexually aroused upon hearing news of strong ticket sales and repeatedly talked about “the people she had to sleep with” to sell tickets or promote the center.

One employee claimed Hoskins disparaged her ethnic heritage.

A memo from one employee listed 54 alleged infractions.

Accusations of mismanagement of employees include:

• Lining up uniformed employees for inspection and humiliating them in front of their peers with comments about their bodies

• Telling employees to report hours in weeks other than actually worked

• Having employees work also as unpaid volunteers in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act

•Barked” at employees, once telling an employee, “I pay your check … you’ll do what I want.”

Names of students and low-level university employees are blacked out in the documents, but not the names of upper-level employees.

While details of the accusations could be considered too unsettling for publication in a newspaper of general circulation, their summary would help the public understand why EKU sought to remove Hoskins as director, according to defenders of the university.

EKU “took a beating,” it was said after Hoskins resigned under pressure, and the school felt bound by an agreement with her not to disclose records related to her employment.

Supporters of Hoskins, who claimed to be familiar with the accusations against her, had described them as trivial offenses that were “correctable” and did not merit her dismissal.

Bill Robinson can be reached at editor@richmondregister.com or at 624-6690.

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