Embattled UW-Platteville provost leaving for higher ed job in Maryland

M.D. Kittle
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Posted: Dec 22, 2016 9:46 PM
Embattled UW-Platteville provost leaving for higher ed job in Maryland

MADISON, Wis. – A University of Wisconsin-Platteville administrator accused of discrimination and retaliation is leaving the institution to take a higher education post in Maryland.

Elizabeth Throop, acting provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, has accepted a new position at Frostburg State University in Maryland, according to a message to UW-P staff from Chancellor Dennis Shields. Frostburg State also reported the hire this week. 

Throop will begin at Frostburg on July 1, 2017.

In the message from the chancellor, Throop said she will remain with UW-Platteville as provost until next summer, working on “key initiatives such as assessment, Higher Learning Commission, and implementation of our new budget model.”

“I thank Provost Throop for her service to the university, “Shields said in the campus. “She came in during a time of transition and helped us reorganize into a stronger institution. It is not surprising that she became in high demand. We wish her well in her new endeavors.”

Throop also is a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit filed by UW-Platteville criminal justice professor Sabina Burton.

LEAVING PLATTEVILLE: Elizabeth Throop, UW-P’s acting Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, is taking an administrative post at a university in Maryland. She departs under a cloud of discrimination and retaliation allegations.

Burton claims Throop, Shields and others repeatedly discriminated and retaliated against her in the four years since she stood up for a student who alleged she was sexually harassed by a male political science professor.

The federal district court tossed out the lawsuit and granted the plaintiffs summary judgment, but Burton has appealed the case – now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. She asserts the lower court did not sufficiently consider critical evidence that shows a pattern of discriminatory and retaliatory behavior.

Burton claims she has been passed over for department committee assignments, harassed through unfounded investigations, and effectively stalled in her professional career at the university – all in the name of administrative reprisal.

RELATED: UW-Platteville chancellor dismisses complaint against whistleblower professor

Throop has been named in at least four Equal Employment Opportunity Commission/Equal Rights Division complaints: Two from Burton in 2013 and 2014; one from Florence Omachonu, a racial discrimination case against Throop and Shields that was scheduled to be heard in federal court on June 13, 2016; and a complaint by Eugene Allcalay, a former full professor in the Music Department who alleged retaliatory treatment. Allcalay and the university have since settled the case, sources said.

Throop joined UW-Platteville in 2012 as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Education and began her current role as acting provost in July.

It was mostly during her tenure as dean when Burton raised her allegations against Throop.

“In the nearly five years I’ve been here, I have been struck by the immense commitment of the UW-Platteville faculty and staff,” Throop said in email release. “They work so hard for the success of our students; I’ve never seen a group who toil so tirelessly to ensure that students are working to the best of their abilities.”

In January 2015, Throop was named as a finalist for an administrative position at Ferris State University in Michigan.

In early November, not long after Burton told her story to Wisconsin Watchdog, Criminal Justice Department Chairwoman Staci Strobl resigned her leadership post.

“Unfortunately, recent events have made clear that there is no institutional support for me to take the necessary step to help this department move on from a past that is both troubled and troubling,” Strobl wrote in the email to Melissa Gormley, interim dean of UW-P’s College of Liberal Arts and Education. “Under those circumstances, I feel unable to do my job and would better serve the institution and my colleagues as a tenured member of the department.”

Burton said she feels no consolation in Throop’s departure.

“I hate how the UW System deals with corrupt people. They are treated with velvet gloves, i.e. promoted up or into another department on campus, or encouraged to go somewhere else so they become someone else’s problem. They should be held accountable,” the professor said in an email to Wisconsin Watchdog. “UW-P goes instead after the victims of the corrupt, abusive administrators. Why? Because it is easier for them!”