Sunday, December 17, 2017
Education

UF fired official involved in the Antonio Callaway case

GAINESVILLE — The University of Florida has fired one of its deputy Title IX coordinators and is conducting an internal investigation, according to school officials.

The termination was laid out in an Aug. 23 letter to Chris Loschiavo, who also served as associate dean of student affairs and director of student conduct and conflict resolution. It came a few weeks after Gators wide receiver Antonio Callaway was cleared in a high-profile sexual assault investigation — a case in which Loschiavo was involved.

But the university did not provide a reason for the dismissal, said spokeswoman Janine Sikes.

Callaway's attorneys had raised concerns about Loschiavo in letters to UF officials. His outside consulting work with the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management piqued conflict of interest questions, they wrote. They argued that his role as "the investigator, the prosecutor and the judge" in the case gave the Gator star a raw deal. And they lamented that Callaway's counter-complaint — which paints Callaway himself as the victim of sexual assault, owing to his lack of sobriety — hasn't been taken seriously.

Sikes could not comment on whether the complaints raised by the Johnson & Osteryoung law firm were related to Loschiavo's firing.

Loschiavo was set to hear Callaway's case in August, according to emails obtained by the Tampa Bay Times. But on July 1, an email from UF said a third-party arbitrator would be hearing the case instead.

Jacksonville lawyer and Gators booster Jake Schickel was later appointed. Attorneys for the complainant cried foul, asking Schickel to withdraw.

Callaway's attorneys didn't object to Schickel's appointment, but instead wrote that the case had been "corrupted" long before that, owing to Loschiavo's involvement.

"The University continues to treat Mr. Callaway's life with reckless disregard for his future by failing to provide him due process and fundamental fairness," wrote Huntley Johnson.

The university stood by Schickel. He cleared Callaway after an early August hearing.

Loschiavo began working at UF in May 2007 after nearly a decade at the University of Oregon. His biography has been removed from the UF website.

At UF, he worked under Dean of Students Jen Day Shaw. Yearly performance reports showed consistent "exceptional" reviews, according to his personnel file.

In financial disclosures, Loschiavo reported that he received up to $6,000 per day for consulting with NCHERM when requested.

The termination letter says Loschiavo was paid $26,818.28 for the wages he would have earned in a three-month notice period.

"I wish you well in your future endeavors," wrote David W. Parrott, vice president for student affairs.

Norb Dunkel, who has been with the university for nearly three decades, has been named the new deputy Title IX coordinator for student affairs. With several other new appointments, including a new Title IX director, Sikes said changes may be afoot in the university's approach to Title IX.

"With these individuals now in place they will bring whatever ideas they have to the table," Sikes said. "I expect we will see some changes based on their own expertise."

Contact Claire McNeill at [email protected] or (727) 893-8321.

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