JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The ETSU Board of Trustees denied a request to hear an appeal to a ruling made in the case of a former ETSU professor. Dr. Anthony Masino is accused of creating a hostile environment and retaliating against a student he dated.
The board met on Friday and voted to deny the petition to appeal.
Masino is a former ETSU Associate Professor and Accountancy Department Assistant Chair. He was officially terminated from his position on July 31, 2019.
In June 2018, Masino appealed the findings of an internal investigation that said he violated university policy in retaliating against the student he dated.
At the recommendation of the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, the hearing of his appeal was officially denied by the Board of Trustees on Friday afternoon.
Court documents say Masino dated a student in one of his classes during the fall of 2016. That relationship lasted through January 2018.
The student later accused him of creating a hostile environment and acting in retaliation, making negative comments about her to other students and colleagues in wake of their break up.
“An investigation took place, and a committee of faculty found by a preponderance of the evidence that the faculty member did in fact violate the university policy,” said ETSU spokesperson Joe Smith.
Masino’s appeal said the investigation lacked due process. He accused the university’s attorneys of retaliating against him for his past criticisms of ETSU’s legal team. He also said the complaints only came after he reported the student’s behavior, which came after he found out she had cheated on him.
The Board of Trustees vote denying the petition for that appeal was unanimous on Friday.
“The executive committee are of the opinion that the university followed the proper procedures, we correctly applied the law. Therefore, based on the executive committee’s recommendation, I move the board to deny Mr. Masino’s petition to appeal,” said Board of Trustees member David Golden.
The vote to deny was backed by findings listed in a newly-released letter from the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office. The letter states Masino can’t dispute several case facts, including that his relationship with the student violated ETSU policy.
The letter states Masino also reassured the student during the relationship that nothing was wrong with their dating because he helped draft the university policy that allowed it.
Another item in the letter says there was clear and convincing evidence that Masino had romantic relationships with three other ETSU students.
Masino was not present at Friday’s Trustee Meeting. Smith said the university could not answer further questions beyond a given statement.
You can read the full letter from the Attorney General’s Office below: