Former CU Colorado Springs diversity chief’s bullying allegations unfounded, external investigation concludes

A months-long investigation initiated by the University of Colorado concluded that allegations made by the Colorado Springs campus’s former diversity chief that she was forced out of her job by the chancellor were unsubstantiated, according to a university statement.

Andrea Herrera last year alleged she was pushed out after facing “openly hostile and intimidating treatment” from CU Colorado Springs Chancellor Venkat Reddy.

“After a six-month investigation, the external investigator found Professor Herrera’s claims to be unsubstantiated and determined that Chancellor Reddy had not violated any university policies related to protected class harassment, discrimination and bullying,” CU said in a statement.

University President Mark Kennedy accepted the report, CU noted, “and the investigation is now closed with no further action required.”

Herrera’s attorney Chet Kern issued a statement calling the investigation a university-funded “sham.”

“Professor Herrera was caused to suffer through the intentional and illegal behavior of Chancellor Reddy,” Kern said. “Repeated, pervasive and openly hostile and intimidating treatment, and retaliatory animus, culminating in her discharge from her position.”

In November 2020, Herrera alleged that Reddy created a toxic workplace environment and pushed her out of her leadership role. Herrera, who went back to being a professor in the Women’s and Ethnic Studies Program, joined the Colorado Springs faculty in 1999.

“The University of Colorado takes such allegations extremely seriously and as required under applicable university policy and federal law, undertook an investigation of the allegations,” CU said in its statement. “The university will continue to prioritize reporting of allegations of discriminatory, harassing or bullying behavior, conduct fair and equitable investigations into such allegations, and support ongoing efforts to educate its community members in ways to create and sustain a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all.”

Herrera’s allegations were referred to the CU Boulder Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, the university said. CU Boulder then hired an independent external investigator — Mark Flynn, an employment attorney with Denver-based firm Employment Matters — to conduct the investigation.

Herrera filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about her allegations, Kern said.

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