Education

University of Iowa fires lecturer warned of harassment

But UI had extended Jeffrey Nock's contract after police encounter

Jeffrey Nock. (2018 photo from UI website.)
Jeffrey Nock. (2018 photo from UI website.)

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa has fired a lecturer who was not teaching this semester, though still earning $83,100, after a police warning for trespassing and harassment at the campus recreation center last spring became the subject of public protests and social media shaming this summer.

Jeffrey B. Nock’s last day was Sept. 11, UI officials confirmed. The 54-year-old lecturer in the Henry B. Tippie College of Business was terminated for violating the UI sexual harassment policy, officials said.

But citing privacy concerns, the university would not provide The Gazette with a copy of the termination letter.

In a statement Nock’s attorney, Leon Spies, said his client “intends to exercise every effort to right the wrongs inflicted by the university in terminating his employment.”

Weeks after Nock was banned for six months from the UI Campus Recreation and Wellness Center for taking pictures of women working out, the UI on May 29 extended his existing three-year contract for another three years, from August until May 2021.

That was supposed to start with a fall entrepreneurship course, Managing the Growth Business, and was to follow Nock’s $20,776 summer addendum the UI offered him May 10 to teach an entrepreneurship course and lead the summer accelerator program.

Before the UI amended and then extend Nock’s contract, its police department had on April 25 issued him a warning for criminal trespass and harassment — reports that did not result in criminal charges, but did lead to the six-month ban.

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The incident, along with the UI’s continued employment of Nock, sparked protests over the summer — which started small, with only one woman at times.

The campaign manifest on social media, with a Facebook page entitled, “Speak out Against the University of Iowa and Jeffrey B. Nock.” And notices and leaflets picturing him appeared around town demanding the university “FIRE THIS MAN!”

Nock did fulfill his summer duties, but was pulled from classroom duties this fall. David Hensley, his supervisor and executive director of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, is teaching the course instead, according to the UI online course catalog.

UI Officials earlier confirmed the reassignment but did not explain a reason for the swap.

UI spokeswoman Hayley Bruce previously said the university police investigation into the April incident at the rec center was “inactive” although any violation of the facility ban could revive it.

On the protesters’ Facebook page this month, an administrator of the page posted what appears to be a confidential document explaining the finding that Nock violated UI policy.

“The act of taking pictures of the women in this context is objectively unreasonable,” according to the document, which goes on to say the effect was to “create an environment that is hostile to women.”

Commentary associated with that post rips the UI for taking months to act on the finding.

l Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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