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Saturday, September 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Spears’ future at UI hangs in balance

In this April 28, 2016 photo, University of Idaho President Chuck Staben, center, Athletic Director Rob Spear, left, and head football coach Paul Petrino answer questions during a news conference in Moscow, Idaho. (Geoff Crimmins / Associated Press)
In this April 28, 2016 photo, University of Idaho President Chuck Staben, center, Athletic Director Rob Spear, left, and head football coach Paul Petrino answer questions during a news conference in Moscow, Idaho. (Geoff Crimmins / Associated Press)
By Justyna Tomtas Lewiston Tribune

It appears the Idaho State Board of Education may decide the fate of University of Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear this week when it meets at Idaho State University.

The board has met in executive session twice since July 13 to discuss personnel issues at UI.

On Wednesday, the board will once again convene in executive session to “consider the evaluation, dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent, or public school student.”

The executive session notice also states the board may “communicate with legal counsel for the public agency to discuss the legal ramifications of and legal options for pending litigation, or controversies not yet being litigated but imminently likely to be litigated.”

The board is scheduled Thursday to take action on UI personnel matters discussed in Wednesday’s executive session.

Spear was placed on paid administrative leave April 3 while an independent investigation was conducted into the handling of sexual assault complaints. The findings, released earlier this month, found both UI and Spear’s response in 2012-13 to reports of alleged harassment and sexual assault by student-athletes was “insensitive and inadequate.”

Other items of business during the state board’s two-day meeting

A $125,000 capital budget request for a new Tribal and Diversity Center at UI, as well as $600,000 for project planning, programming and pre-design activities for new science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and classroom facilities. Lewis-Clark State College has requested $6,000 to repurpose its mechanical technical building to accommodate changes in space following the completion of the college’s new career and technical education center, scheduled to open in 2020.

UI is asking for $146,900 to implement the planning and design phases of exterior repairs to the Bruce M. Pitman Center to repair the ceramic tile exterior after tiles “have fallen onto sidewalks and roof areas below.”

UI will seek the board’s approval for a Master of Science degree in plant pathology. If approved, it will be the only program in Idaho to offer the degree.

LCSC is requesting the approval of the Tri-Partnership Development agreement between the college, the Lewiston Independent School District and the city of Lewiston for infrastructure and offsite improvements in the area of the college’s new career and technical education center. The agreement already has been approved by both the city and the school district.

According to a news release, the board also will preview a data dashboard system that will allow people to search and view data on the state’s postsecondary institutions, take recommendations from the board’s Guided Pathways Committee to prepare students for after high school, and consider an outcomes-based funding model for the state’s higher education system.

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