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WSU to conduct independent review of provost’s departure

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At the request of faculty senate leadership, Washington State University President Kirk Schulz has initiated an independent review to look into questions raised regarding Mitzi Montoya stepping down from her appointment as WSU provost and executive vice president in October 2019.

The review, which will begin this week, comes after some faculty and staff members expressed concerns about Montoya’s departure following recent news reports. Upon its conclusion, the results of the external assessment will be made publicly available.

WSU has contracted with the Seattle-based law firm Karr Tuttle Campbell to conduct the examination. The firm was selected by the Executive Committee of the WSU Faculty Senate. Karr Tuttle Campbell’s employment relations department has extensive experience in labor and employment law, including workplace investigations.

The independent review will examine three areas of concern including possible issues of gender bias against Montoya, any improper influence or pressure surrounding the decision to terminate her appointment, and the role that the consulting firm Ideas for Action, LLC played in the decision.

Montoya, who holds a Ph.D in marketing and statistics, served as provost and executive vice president during fall 2019. After stepping down as provost, Montoya assumed the role of special assistant to the dean of the Carson College of Business, along with her faculty appointment in the Carson College

Montoya currently serves as a full professor with tenure in the Department of Management, Information Systems, and Entrepreneurship. As professor and special assistant to the dean, she is continuing her research on the drivers of success and failure in organizational innovation. She is also supporting the Carson College of Business’ corporate engagement efforts and is continuing her Advancing Women in Leadership initiative.

Dr. Bryan Slinker, formerly dean of the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine, assumed the responsibilities of provost and executive vice president on an interim basis in October. He will continue in the role through June 30.

A 15-member search committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students from across the WSU system is leading the search for a permanent provost and executive vice president. A new provost is expected to be named by the end of spring semester.

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