Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Longtime USF VP resigns after investigation

TAMPA — A longtime University of South Florida vice president for communications has resigned in the wake of allegations that he created a "hostile and offensive working atmosphere" for female subordinates.

Michael Hoad, who spent 25 years at the university, resigned effective last Friday from his position as an associate vice president of communications at USF Health. He had resigned from his other position, as vice president of communications for the university, in September.

An internal investigation last October concluded Hoad made a series of inappropriate remarks in 2012. Some examples:

• Hoad told female student assistants of "all the girls he dated in college and discussed his sex life."

• After a suggestion was made in a staff meeting about starting a blog called "Between the Lines'' during the Republican National Convention, he joked it should be called "Between the Sheets'' and written by a female staffer.

• He texted female interns after hours and posted one woman's photo on his computer.

"Hoad's conduct unreasonably interfered with employees' job performance," wrote investigator Mary Li Creasy. "There is no circumstances under which employees or students of the University should have to get together to try and figure out how to avoid the unwanted attention, unnecessary flattery and sexual comments."

The investigator said she received no allegations suggesting Hoad had propositioned or inappropriately touched the women. But his behavior was "belittling and unprofessional," the report said, and by singling out women, Hoad created "a hostile and offensive working atmosphere … on the basis of gender."

Hoad appealed the report's findings last November, writing that some allegations were overstated and taken out of context. He said the investigator did not take into account mitigating factors, including his recent illness.

"While there were instances of unprofessional behavior for which I'm deeply sorry … there was no sustained discrimination based on gender," Hoad wrote.

In December, his appeal was denied by M. Dwayne Smith, senior vice provost for academic affairs.

On Jan. 3, Hoad submitted a brief note to USF president Judy Genshaft and other top leaders, saying he would resign from USF effective Feb. 1 "to develop a new career strategy and look ahead."

On Monday, Hoad told the Tampa Bay Times that he could not go into details about the allegations because doing so might inadvertently identify the women who complained about his behavior. He said the time in which he made the remarks — spring and summer of 2012 — was particularly stressful as he dealt with a serious heart condition and led the communications effort during state budget cuts.

"I'm very apologetic to anyone I did offend," he said.

USF declined to comment in detail. "USF is committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for all employees and students," said Terri Drye, USF's associate vice president of human resources, in a statement.

Longtime USF VP resigns after investigation 02/04/13 [Last modified: Monday, February 4, 2013 11:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84


    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General


    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  5. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest


    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.