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Vegas Chamber jumps into NSHE ‘hostile workplace’ controversy

The Vegas Chamber waded into a battle between elected and appointed leaders of the Nevada System of Higher Education on Tuesday, calling on leaders of the Board of Regents to step aside until an investigation into the chancellor’s hostile work environment complaint is concluded.

A statement from the organization, which promotes and advocates for local businesses and has more than 3,500 members, also said the board leaders should “resign immediately” if Chancellor Melody Rose’s accusations are upheld.

Rose, who started on the job in September 2020, submitted a 21-page memorandum Oct. 4 to the NSHE’s Chief General Counsel Joe Reynolds, saying she experienced “abusive treatment” at the hands of board Chair Cathy McAdoo and Vice Chair Patrick Carter.

Rose said the abuse dated to late June, shortly before McAdoo and Carter took up their leadership roles on the board on July 1.

In its statement, the chamber said it believes it would be prudent for McAdoo and Carter — identified by title, not by name — to step aside while an independent third-party investigation that they announced on Oct. 15 is being conducted.

“If the allegations are proven to be true, these regents should be held accountable and resign immediately,” the business organization wrote. “It is time for true governance and culture reform of NSHE and the Board of Regents for the sake of all Nevadans and the future of our state.”

An NSHE spokesman referred a Review-Journal inquiry about the investigation to attorney Scott Abbott of Kamer Zucker Abbott law firm, who did not respond to a request for comment.

McAdoo wasn’t immediately available to comment Tuesday afternoon and Carter declined to comment.

The chamber’s stance is similar to the position taken by Regent John Moran, who issued a statement after word of the chancellor’s complaint became public early this month calling for a special session of the board to consider whether to remove McAdoo and Carter from their positions.

Two other regents, Amy Carvalho and Patrick Boylan, have called for a special board session to “discuss options for conducting board business during the course of the investigation,” in Carvallo’s words, but said they did not favor a vote on removing McAdoo and Carter.

Other regents have declined to discuss the matter, in some cases saying they have been instructed not to comment.

In addition to urging the top regents to step aside, the chamber’s statement noted that Rose’s recent complaint and allegations “highlight the longstanding governance and conduct challenges with the Board of Regents.”

“Unfortunately, the Nevada System of Higher Education, under the leadership of the Board of Regents, has been plagued with myriad questionable actions and behaviors for many years, undermining the public institutions of higher learning in our state,” the chamber said.

Earlier this month, Kris Engelstad McGarry — a trustee of The Engelstad Foundation, which supports higher education projects in the state — issued a statement saying Rose has her full support.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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