Utah Valley University paid $45,000 to settle former Title IX director’s whistleblower lawsuit

(Al Hartmann | Tribune file photo) Students at Utah Valley University head towards the Sorensen Student Center in this 2016 file photo.

Utah Valley University paid $45,000 to its former Title IX director who filed a lawsuit against the school earlier this year.

The Orem university announced the settlement of Melissa Frost’s lawsuit Monday, but declined to say whether she was paid any money.

But a settlement document released Wednesday in response to a records request revealed how much the university paid to settle the whistleblower suit, where Frost claimed she was fired shortly after she began looking into allegations that three women were harassed and discriminated against by “white males” in UVU’s upper management, according to the suit filed earlier this year.

She also alleged that UVU police gave less attention to sexual assault allegations by gay men; that school personnel prolonged a disciplinary case against a student athlete; and that campus officials were slow to refer students to her understaffed Title IX office.

The university denied the allegations in court, and filed counterclaims alleging Frost secretly recorded meetings that were supposed to be private and kept work product that was supposed to be the university’s property.

Neither side admitted fault in the settlement agreement, and both parties agreed to not publicly disparage the other.

Frost also agreed to not seek future employment at the university.

The former Title IX director had initially sought reinstatement and lost wages in her lawsuit, or $100,000 in damages.

Frost said in her lawsuit that supervisors had consistently given her positive performance ratings. But after she began raising concerns about a lack of staffing, resources and support for the Title IX office, Frost received a “memo of no confidence” in April 2017 followed by a notice of termination that June. She filed a complaint of retaliation, prompting a review by an outside investigator.

Last November, Frost’s employment at UVU was formally terminated after an extended leave.

University officials have said Frost was fired “for cause,” but have declined to offer any other details.

In 2017, UVU was one of five Utah campuses under federal investigation for potential Title IX violations by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The investigations were triggered by students who said their allegations of sexual assault and harassment were ignored, mishandled or stalled by administrators. That review is still pending.