Jeremy Davitz, former general counsel of Ohio Christian University, filed a lawsuit against the college for blocking his investigation of alleged harassment and inappropriate conduct. According to Inside Higher Ed, the offenders in question are Mark Smith, former president of Ohio Christian, and his son Doug, former student and employee of the school.
Davitz reported that Smith and his son left Ohio Christian over allegations of sexual harassment, racist remarks, and antisemitism. One of the women affected by these allegations has filed a complaint against Doug Smith with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other have come forward since the lawsuit to share their knowledge of the misconduct. According to the lawsuit, Doug Smith was accused of:
- Stating that he “hates black people,” and that “all black people act like they are entitled to everything”
- Sharing that he “hates Mexicans,” and that “they’re all freeloaders”
- Saying that he “hates gay people”
- Telling a co-worker to “stop being such a Jew” when a mistake was made
- Mocking Jews by imitating them
- Starting rumors that a fellow employee was only hired for being “sexually promiscuous”
- Sticking his finger in a female co-worker’s mouth, and alleging that if she closed her mouth on his finger she “is a slut”
- Taking photograph’s of a female co-worker’s bottom and posting it on social media, with the caption “This is why we hire women”
The report also alleges that when Mark Smith was confronted about his son’s behavior, he lashed out at Davitz and aggressively defended the actions by stating that Doug was a “victim of tremendous hardships.” Davitz shared that he consulted an ethics board of lawyers in Ohio, and came to the conclusion that the behavior of the Smith’s needed to be investigated so that appropriate action could be taken. Upon beginning the investigation, Davitz’s duties as general counsel were gradually reduced until he was completely ousted from his position.
Since the allegations came out, Mark Smith accepted a position as president of Columbia International University, another Christian university located in South Carolina. Doug Smith reportedly is employed at Columbia International as well, but it is unclear in what capacity. Ohio Christian declined to comment to Inside Higher Ed, stating that they will not speak during litigation. Columbia International told Greenville News that they conducted full background checks and that Mark was transparent about the lawsuit during the hiring process.
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