Las Vegas Sun

December 2, 2022

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Regent calls on chair, vice chair to step aside amid accusations

Nevada System of Higher Education Building

Yasmina Chavez

Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Melody Rose has claimed that Board of Regents Chair Cathy McAdoo and Vice Chair Patrick Carter undermined and micromanaged her, discriminated against her based on her gender, and committed a host of ethics breaches.

A member of the Nevada Board of Regents is again pressuring the board chairwoman and vice chairman to resign from their leadership positions amid allegations by the Nevada System of Higher Education chancellor that the two abused their authority and committed other improprieties in an orchestrated attempt to hound her out of her job.

Regent John T. Moran, who this month called for Chair Cathy McAdoo and Vice Chair Patrick Carter to relinquish their officer positions as Chancellor Melody Rose’s complaint was investigated, sent an email Friday to the two demanding they step aside.

“I had expected — or at least hoped — that both of you would recognize the seriousness of these allegations and work with me and our colleagues in a constructive and transparent manner to address any and all concerns and minimize any further harm to the NSHE,” Moran wrote. “You have chosen to do nothing which, and needless to say, furthers my profound disappointment in you.”

Rose made her allegations in an Oct. 4 memo to NSHE’s general counsel. Among her claims: the two repeatedly demeaned her, undermined her authority, sidestepped her to hold inappropriate conversations with her subordinates, discriminated against her based on gender and possibly committed open meetings violations.

The board hired a Las Vegas law firm to independently investigate Rose’s complaint, with Moran calling for McAdoo and Carter to step out of their officer positions during the duration of the investigation.

In his note Friday, Moran says he confirmed independently that communications have ceased between Rose and the two board officers, with troubling implications for management and direction of the system.

Under Nevada’s higher ed oversight structure, the elected Board of Regents and chancellor work together in a way similar to the school board and superintendent of a public school district. The arrangement calls for the regents’ chair and vice chair to collaborate with the chancellor in selecting and prioritizing the regents’ business and placing items on the 13-member board’s agenda.

“I have said this before and will say so again, the role of the chair and vice chair of NSHE are important positions because they hold agenda-setting powers in coordination with the chancellor and her Cabinet,” Moran wrote to McAdoo and Carter. “I have confirmed that communication between both of you and the chancellor are no longer possible and, thus, effective governing by board leadership is in question.”

Moran is complimentary in his note of the job that Rose and her staff have done since she became chancellor in September 2020. He wrote all NSHE employees have “a right to a safe, fair and fun work environment and, also, the right to be free from retaliation, harassment and discrimination.” The regents, he says, have an obligation to maintain whistleblower protections “regardless of whether we agree or disagree with the content of a particular allegation and/or allegations.”

McAdoo and Carter were silent on the matter until last week, when they issued a statement saying it was inappropriate for the regents to comment on personnel matters. Most of the regents issued similar statements when contacted by the Sun, and some have failed to respond to requests for comment. Regent Amy Carvalho called for a special meeting of the regents but would not go so far as supporting Moran’s call for a vote on McAdoo and Carter.

Moran, in his letter, told McAdoo and Carter that in continuing to address the issue he was acting out of an obligation to serve the public.

“As board (members), we are duty bound to act with care and in the best interests of the NSHE and its mission,” he wrote. “Proper discharge of that duty compels us to speak up and take action when we become aware of matters within the system that run afoul of its mission, governing principles, policies, or the law.”

Sun reporter Jessica Hill contributed to this story.