Former Texas State University police chief accuses institution of retaliation, law violations Clery
SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – Laurie Clouse resigned as chief of the Texas State University Police Department in June, following an investigation that indicated she retaliated against a complainant employee. In her first interview since leaving, Clouse defended her tenure, refuted the investigation’s findings and said the university retaliated against her for raising an alert and raising concerns about continued violations of the Clery Law. , which requires public disclosure of crimes on campus.
The state of Texas hired the law firm Husch Blackwell LLC to investigate grievances filed against Clouse in January 2021. The firm issued an investigative report on June 18 recommending that the state of Texas hold Clouse liable. retaliation against an employee. Clouse resigned from his post the next day, according to the State of Texas and media.
When Texas state officials announced Clouse’s resignation, they made no mention of the allegations against her, the law firm’s investigation or report, according to the University Star report. The university thanked Clouse for their “excellent service” and the improvements to Compliance with the Clery law, training and diversity, according to a letter reported by Texas Tribune,.
The state of Texas did not send the investigation report to KXAN until Friday, after months of delay and a decision by the attorney general’s office that some parties must be released. Most of the report provided to KXAN has been redacted, including the names of the employees and the person who originally filed a complaint against Clouse.
Clouse said she felt a whistleblower. When she began to voice concerns within the state of Texas about possible violations of the Clery Act, the institution took action against her, she said.
“I was highlighting violations which have potentially serious consequences for the institution and, because I brought them to the fore, they made these findings against me which were prejudicial to me professionally,” said Clouse.
Clouse said she had never spoken publicly about the investigation report or issues with the university before, and that she was not going to do so until the university released the investigation report. to the media and that KXAN contact her for comment.
âI’m going to stand up for my professional reputation because I don’t have a history of this kind of behavior, and it’s never happened to me before,â Clouse said. âThe only reason I’m talking to you now is because they released a report that contains my name, and I have to be able to defend myself. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have told anyone.
In a brief statement provided to KXAN ahead of the Clouse interview, the state of Texas said it was not commenting on the personnel issues. KXAN has asked the university additional questions about the Clery de Clouse retaliation and law violation allegations, and we will update this report when more information on the state of Texas becomes available.
At least one employee filed a grievance against Clouse in January accusing him of unprofessional conduct. The complainant claimed that Clouse had retaliated against him almost every day since a complaint was filed, that he had become “basically isolated” and that he was “very uncomfortable” to be in the department, according to the investigation report.
Investigators established a timeline showing the employee complained about Clouse on January 22, then filed a formal complaint and grievance about Clouse six days later on January 28.
Investigators said Clouse deleted the complainant’s direct report on January 27, then threatened to investigate the employee on January 28 and put the employee on a performance improvement plan on January 29. .
The employee filed an additional “grievance supplement” on March 11, alleging continued retaliation by Clouse since the original complaint.
In his interview with KXAN, Clouse rejected and contradicted these findings. She said the university’s human resources department approved the performance improvement plan and it was not disciplinary.
She said the employee was only monitoring employees due to the absence of another employee.
âI just referred these employees to me, but he maintained the scope of control shown in the organizational chart,â Clause said.
âThen the third thing was that I threatened to investigate him. Well, as the chief of police, when a person breaks the policy, it is my responsibility to either confirm the violations of the policy or to exonerate that employee.
Clouse also said the retaliation finding was fundamentally flawed as the employee suffered no harm.
During the investigation, investigators conducted 33 interviews and meetings between mid-February and mid-May. They were also provided with a copy of a secret recording of a conversation made by the complainant employee during a meeting with Clouse.
In response, Clouse told investigators the grievance against her was “shocking” and that she was “appalled” that an employee recorded her. She told investigators she had not ignored or refused to speak to the complainant employee, and she released a performance improvement plan as a tool to stop “cheeky comments,” among other reasons, according to the. report.
Investigators said the evidence showed retaliation from Clouse.
“While some of the concerns expressed by Chief Clouse to justify taking these steps may be legitimate, in the end we believe these are mere pretexts for his real motivation for retaliation,” according to the investigation report. . “As such, the investigators recommend a finding of responsibility with regard to [the employeeâs] retaliation complaint resulting from such adverse employment actions.
Clouse said she believed the investigation was a retaliatory measure – the state of Texas’ response to issues she raised regarding the institution’s compliance with the Clery Act and the the school’s Title IX office, which investigates allegations of discrimination and sexual misconduct.
Violations of the Clery law?
The state of Texas has struggled with Clery Act issues in the past. In 2019, according to Texas Tribune, the university underreported campus sexual assault in 2016 and 2017, and the The US Department of Education has opened a formal exam of State of Texas compliance with the law as of November 2019.
Clouse began his tenure at the State of Texas in this context. the university hired her in February 2019. Clouse previously served in law enforcement for over two decades, most notably with the Wichita Falls Police Department and most recently as Captain and Chief of the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center. in Fort Worth.
The Clery Act requires the university to publicly report crimes committed on campus, and State of texas produces an annual report containing this information.
In the state of Texas, Clouse said a complaint about stalking and harassment – a possible criminal violation and related to Title IX – had been reported and summarily dismissed without investigation by the university. Clouse said the Title IX office acknowledged receiving the complaint and said there was gender bias and it reached the level of reporting, “but they did not investigate.”
âI think it was in violation of Clery, and I brought it up. I met with the compliance officer and explained to him that I believed this was a violation. I then spoke to my direct supervisor and told him that I believed the establishment was in violation and that I was very concerned because the establishment was already under investigation by the Ministry of Education, which is common knowledge, âClouse said.
Again, closer to the time of her departure, Clouse said she was aware of another case in which the university failed to properly investigate a situation and broke Clery Law. She said she also reported this incident to her supervisor. Clouse said she was unaware of the status of the Education Department’s investigation.
Clouse said she has retired from law enforcement. Since his departure, James Dixon of the UPD has been its leader. In November, the state of Texas announced that it would bring Matthew Carmichael, University of Oregon Police Chief, as Chief in January 2022.