Chancellor James Schmidt releases statement

Chancellor James C. Schmidt released a statement today

Bridget Kelley

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Photo by Alee Erickson

At least eight former and current UW-Eau Claire employees say the behavior of Albert Colom, vice chancellor of enrollment management, prompted them to either quit the university completely or shift roles.

This is an update to an ongoing story. Read original stories here and here.

Chancellor James Schmidt released a statement to the media shortly before 1:30 p.m. today after more than a week of refusing to speak with media about allegations that one of his chief executives, Albert Colom, vice chancellor of enrollment management, engaged in workplace gender discrimination.

The full statement follows below.

To: News media

From: UW-Eau Claire Integrated Marketing and Communications

Subject: Chancellor update on vice chancellor investigation

The message below was sent shortly after 1 p.m. today to all UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff from Chancellor James Schmidt regarding the investigation into Albert Colom, vice chancellor for enrollment management.

Please contact Mike Rindo, assistant chancellor for facilities and university relations, with any questions. Rindo can be reached at 715-836-4742 or [email protected].

Dear UW-Eau Claire Faculty and Staff members,

I would like to share with you the information that I discussed with the University Senate Executive yesterday afternoon regarding the investigation into Vice Chancellor Albert Colom.  Please view the video here or read the transcript below.

Since taping the video I have had the opportunity to meet with the lead investigator and encouraged him to undertake a comprehensive look into all the allegations. While this may extend the investigation, I am confident it will be thorough and fair. As I note in the video, when issues like these arise, I take them seriously. I have confidence in the processes we have in place and encourage our campus community to be patient during the investigation to assure a fair outcome for all involved.

James C. Schmidt
Chancellor, UW-Eau Claire

Office of the Chancellor
Schofield Hall 204    |    Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004    |    715-836-2327

@ChancellorJim    |    LinkedIn    |    [email protected]

Chancellor Schmidt Comments Regarding Investigation of Vice Chancellor Albert Colom

Yesterday afternoon, I met, as usual, with the University Senate Executive Committee and they had a number of questions about the investigation into the formal complaint against Vice Chancellor Colom. Today I want to share with you what I told them. As you may have read or seen in the media, the complaint involves allegations of gender discrimination and creating a toxic work environment.

First, let me make it clear that this is a personnel matter and I cannot comment directly about the allegations in the formal complaint. I can, however, tell you about how our university addresses these kinds of situations.

The complaint was given to Affirmative Action Officer Teresa O’Halloran and Human Resources Director David Miller on February 3. This was the first formal complaint brought forward regarding Vice Chancellor Colom. Shortly thereafter, they made me aware of the complaint and sought my counsel about how best to proceed. I directed Teresa and David to contact UW System Shared Services and request that they assign investigators to conduct a thorough investigation into  the complaint in accordance with the due process procedures that we have in place to address these kinds of personnel issues.

I discussed the matter the following day with Senate Executive Committee on February 4. On February 11th, I informed the University Senate of the plan to move forward with the investigation, which is now underway. I do not know how long the investigation will take – only that it must take as long as necessary to ensure a fair process. To that end, I have encouraged anyone who will be interviewed to answer questions honestly and that there will be no retribution for providing their perspectives.

I want to be clear that my administration takes this complaint seriously. I also want to be clear that we, as a university community, must be patient during the investigation and not reach premature conclusions. When issues like these arise, we must have confidence in the processes and procedures we have in place to address them. That is the right thing to do, and it is the fair thing to do for all involved.

Thank you.


This is an ongoing story. Updates to come.