Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station

UW trustees admit to investigating former school president

LARAMIE, WY – University of Wyoming officials are acknowledging for the first time that they opened an investigation of a school president before she was let go last year.

The board of trustees said  in a statement Friday that an outside firm did the inquiry after the university received two reports about former university president Laurie Nichols.

They didn’t provide details of the complaints. Nichols, who is currently the president of Black Hills State University in South Dakota, said in a statement that she never knew about the reports.

The Star-Tribune, WyoFile, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and the Laramie Boomerang filed a lawsuit in June 2019 seeking public records related to the dismissal of former UW president Laurie Nichols, records that the outlets had contended were improperly withheld. The Wyoming Press Association declined to join the effort. Originally, the suit was between the outlets and UW, but in October, Nichols formally intervened, largely agreeing with UW and asking that the records not be released.

In a 55-page ruling filed Friday, Albany County District Court Judge Tori Kricken wrote that the vast majority of the records sought by the Casper Star-Tribune, WyoFile and others will be released, albeit with some redactions to protect sensitive personal information. The judge ordered 18 documents be withheld in full because they met an attorney-client privilege exception. The ruling may still be appealed.

Nichols says she is disappointed to find out the board had been secretly investigating her. 

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