The Nevada Schools Board hired an independent attorney to investigate an incident in which the chief of staff and legal adviser berated a regent at a public meeting earlier this month for engaging in what he called "child language."
Dean Gould, a licensed attorney, chief of staff and special adviser to the Board of Regents, remains with the Nevada System of Higher Education, system spokesman Francis McCabe said in an email to the Review Journal on Monday.
"We cannot discuss further because of an ongoing personnel request," he said.
NSHE chief executive Mark Doubrava said in a statement that he was unable to comment on incidents during the July 23 and August 7 board meetings in which Gould publicly reprimanded the regent for being a "private and confidential personnel matter" act.
However, he said the board of directors takes these events and related issues seriously and has appointed Los Angeles-based attorney Apalla Chopra of O’Melveny & Myers LLP to provide "advice and action" to the board.
Chopra is an expert in labor law and Title IX and has regularly represented colleges, Doubrava said. "Our process will be fair as we serve NSHE's overall mission to serve our student, staff and faculty community."
The Gould incident arose from an item on the agenda during a meeting on August 7th, when the regents, in a separate vote, decided to amend the Board of Directors' guidelines to comply with the new U.S. Department of Education regulations on sexual misconduct.
Regent Lisa Levine, who was appointed to the board by Governor Steve Sisolak in June to fill a vacancy, told her fellow board members that her vote would be a strong no. She said regents who vote “yes” side with rapists and violent criminals, a claim that some board members said were offended.
Levine announced to the board that she had Attorney General Aaron Ford on the phone to discuss the problem, but the chairman told her that she was not behaving properly while she continued to speak.
Gould interrupted Levine and asked her to mute her line during the virtual meeting. If she didn't, Gould said he didn't want to "speak man" but had to, if she continued to "speak child".
Wow @nevadaregents! Way to turn off the dissenting woman's voice. Nevada women stand united with @Lisa_C_Levine
PS: women are not children NS♀️ # NSHE #WhiteMalePrivilege pic.twitter.com/8ok2BouwA8
– LeAn Shelton (@LeAnShelton_LLC) August 7, 2020
An eight-second video clip of the exchange quickly circulated on Twitter, and a handful of elected officials, including Sisolak and Ford, stepped in and criticized Gould for what they described as unacceptable behavior that Levine was patronizing.
In a statement released after the August 7 board meeting, Gould said his reaction was in response to a July 23 meeting trying to prevent an open meeting law violation when Levine asked him accused of being "mansplaining".
"I found this comment unprofessional and embarrassing and is not an appropriate way for an employer to speak to an employee," Gould said in the statement.
Levine "disrupted the defined procedural process" during the August 7th meeting while the chairman tried to hold a roll-call vote, Gould added in the statement. “At the time I was frustrated with their lack of decency. In retrospect, I shouldn't have bowed to its sharpness. "
During a board meeting on August 21, Doubrava responded to a question from another regent that he had excused Gould from attending the meeting, but declined to comment.
Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.