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Ex-Montana State Northern Provost Denies Harassment Claims

HELENA, Mont. ― A former provost at Montana State University-Northern has denied allegations that she sexually harassed a dean who filed a complaint with the Montana Human Rights Bureau.

Rosalyn Templeton testified before a state hearing officer in Helena this week.

Northern administrator Randy Bachmeier filed a complaint in May 2013 alleging Templeton touched him inappropriately over a three-year period and that the university retaliated against him by setting criteria that didn’t allow him to apply for the provost’s job after Templeton announced her resignation in August 2013.

Bachmeier and other Northern employees testified last month in Havre, but there was not enough time for Templeton to testify. Some Northern employees backed Bachmeier’s claims while Chancellor James Limbaugh said he’d received complaints that Templeton was “short, moody and difficult to talk with,” but said he was unaware of Bachmeier’s issues with her before the complaint.

Templeton testified that when she arrived at Northern the university was in poor shape and she had to pursue changes that would make the faculty uncomfortable and frustrated. She said hugging and touching was a family tradition as a way of showing support, but that none of her actions were sexual in nature.

Templeton said Tuesday she only recalled touching Bachmeier twice, did not recall him telling her to stop and was shocked when he filed his complaint.

She acknowledged that 47 faculty members filed 78 grievances against her in her previous post at Marshall University. She said she did not read staff evaluations of her at Northern, figuring they would be negative because of the changes she made.

Hearing Officer Terry Spear is expected to make his decision later this year.

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