ETSU trustees deny appeal from fired professor, more at Friday's meeting

Brandon Paykamian • Feb 21, 2020 at 7:10 PM

The East Tennessee State University Board of Trustees voted unanimously Friday to deny the appeal of an accounting professor who was fired in July after being accused in 2018 of creating a hostile environment for a student with whom he had a romantic relationship.

According to the university, Anthony Masino dated a student and later retaliated against her by talking about her to colleagues and other students after their breakup. The institution’s investigation into the allegations against Masino began after the woman filed a Title IX complaint with the university.

“After review of the matter, the Executive Committee recommends that Mr. Masino’s petition to appeal the president’s decision to discharge Mr. Masino from employment with ETSU should be denied,” Board Member David Golden said, adding that the university followed the “proper procedures” despite objections from Masino and his legal counsel.

In other news

• The board was updated on ETSU’s new esports team, which began tryouts two weeks ago. The competitive video gaming team will join more than 170 colleges and universities in the National Association of Collegiate Esports.

Tryouts will run through May, with a final roster announced in June. Scholarships will be available to some students, according to Senior Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer Karen King.

King said the “preliminary” esports team has been picked. They were set to compete in their first tournament that night at Milligan College, where players will compete in the video game “League of Legends.”

“We really are excited about moving this forward,” King said.

• President Brian Noland gave his quarterly president’s report, where he discussed some of the legislation in Nashville that campus leaders are keeping an eye on. Noland said he was particularly concerned about Senate Bill 2288, which would allow students to carry concealed handguns on campus.

Noland said he doesn’t feel “enhanced weapons presence on campus is going to keep anybody safer.”

“I’m hopeful that this is something that will not emerge, but we are tracking it carefully,” Noland said.

• Noland said the construction on the $53 million James C. and Mary B. Martin Center for the Arts is “coming along” and will be operational next year. Noland added that the newly renovated D.P. Culp University Center will have a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center on March 6.

As for future capital projects, Noland said he has been involved in “multiple discussions” with state leaders about getting state funding for a new humanities building, which would cost the university about $71 million.

For more information on Friday’s meeting, or to watch the full meeting, visit www.etsu.edu/trustees.

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