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Report says ex-professor “likely” broke misconduct policy

BY KATHERINE BAUER

A report from Drake University regarding the investigation into the misconduct of a former political science professor states that “it is more likely than not that (Mahmoud) Hamad has repeatedly violated Drake University’s Sexual and Interpersonal Misconduct Policy …”

“Hamad set out to and did exploit the power differential that existed between him and his female students,” the report says.

Hamad “remains on leave of absence without a teaching assignment, and has resigned from the University effective June 1, 2018,” according to a statement from the university.

Hamad’s profile has been removed from the political science department website.

President Marty Martin also addressed the issue in a campus wide email Monday.

“Many of you have expressed frustration regarding a lack of information surrounding Professor Hamad’s departure,” he said. “I fully understand this frustration and appreciate that some of you are even angry at not being told more. However, neither Provost Mattison nor I can publically share all of the details regarding this matter.”

Martin also addressed why Hamad resigned, rather than being fired by the university.

“Pursuant to the University’s Faculty Manual and Academic Charter, the only two options for securing the removal of a tenured faculty member on conduct grounds are resignation or a referral of the matter to a faculty disciplinary committee,” he explained. Hamad is a tenured professor.

According to Martin, a referral to the faculty disciplinary committee could involve hearings, with examination and cross-examination of witnesses and the receipt of additional evidence. Should this committee recommend the removal of a faculty member, the recommendation would be sent to the Drake University Board of Trustees. The board could also hold its own hearings or refer the matter back to the disciplinary committee.

“This process would undoubtedly be a protracted and stressful experience for those involved,” Martin continued. “Provost Mattison was balancing all of this in reaching a resolution in Professor Hamad’s case.”

The outgoing and incoming presidents of Faculty Senate also released its own statement.

“We condemn his (Hamad’s) actions, and applaud the University’s proactive treatment of the allegations from students, received officially in May 2017,” the statement reads. “In our reading of the materials, the university has acted appropriately since receiving the complaint, to protect students’ identities and well-being and effectuate Hamad’s departure from campus.”

David Courard-Hauri, current president of Faculty Senate, and Renee Cramer, incoming president, signed the statement. It goes on to say that they are concerned that “recent reporting mischaracterizes the process and outcome, and has the potential to do harm to alumni and current students.” It adds that they are confident that students’ reporting sexual misconduct or assault will not be met with retaliation.

According to the report about the investigation, investigators determined that the witnesses and accusers interviewed were credible, providing detailed accounts of Hamad’s behavior, several of which “were corroborated by other witnesses.” Investigators did not “identify any motivation to provide false information.”

The report says that Hamad’s denials of his behavior were not credible and that he contradicted earlier statements several times.

“While not admissions, Hamad’s ambiguous responses further convinced the investigators to find the witnesses’ allegations to be more likely true than not,” the report reads.

Anyone who has experienced sexual assault, exploitation or misconduct can reach out to Violence Intervention Partners at 515-512-2972, a confidential hotline run by Drake students; the Counseling Center, 515-281-3864; or a pastoral counselor, 515-274-3133. These resources, by law, cannot share confidential information, including with law enforcement or Drake’s Title IX coordinator.

Public Safety and Katie Overberg, the Title IX coordinator on campus, can walk survivors through legal options as well. They are not confidential resources. A student may request confidentiality, and Drake will weigh that request against the university’s obligation to provide a safe environment. Reporting to Drake Public Safety, Overberg or the police does not mean criminal charges must be filed.

An anonymous report can be made at drake.edu/ethicspoint. The university says it will respond to anonymous reports, but its response could be limited.

Pamphlets Around Campus

Pamphlets with the names of former and current students, a Fraternity and Sorority Life organization and Mahmoud Hamad were spotted around campus Monday morning. The forms accused the individuals and groups of sexual and interpersonal misconduct.

Pictures of the pamphlet, emblazoned with the words “These People are Cancelled” on the front were posted on social media.

The Times-Delphic reached out to the email listed on the paper but have not received a response.

Drake has issued the following statement:

“Protecting students is our first priority. We became aware of the pamphlets as soon as they were discovered and we are investigating. Any students who wish to report sexual misconduct or violence are encouraged to speak with the Drake University Title IX office or to a confidential resource listed at drake.edu/titleix.”

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