ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Employees at the University of Alaska Anchorage's Matanuska-Susitna College have been warned not to talk about the college's former head on behalf of the university.
Last summer, Stephen Sylvester resigned his post as director of the college in the middle of an investigation triggered by complaints about his management style and personal behavior. A separation agreement between Sylvester and the university included a provision that bans University of Alaska officials from disparaging Sylvester. He also received about $71,000.
Sylvester was hired in January by Peru State College in Nebraska.
His past has followed. Employees at Mat-Su, which is part of the UA system, have contacted Peru State, officials there said. The communications involved information about Sylvester's departure from Mat-Su.
UAA Chancellor Lee Gorsuch last month sent a stern letter to college employees warning them not to talk about the college's former head on behalf of the university.
''If employees choose to communicate relative to Dr. Sylvester, they do so on their own time and at their own risk,'' Gorsuch's June 11 letter said.
The university won't defend employees against defamation or harassment lawsuits, he said.
Gorsuch's message was prompted by a letter he received in April from Peru State president Ben E. Johnson. Sylvester and Johnson were colleagues at Montana State University Northern, said Kent Propst, Peru State spokesman.
Peru State students, faculty and administrators received mostly anonymous e-mails, letters and newspaper clippings from ''disgruntled and vindictive people'' trying to discredit Sylvester, Johnson said in the letter.
He asked Gorsuch to ''bring about an end to this illegal and unprofessional activity'' or the employees and university could risk legal action.
Sylvester, Peru State's interim dean of arts and sciences, told administrators about his resignation, Johnson said.
''We felt very comfortable hiring Dr. Sylvester and are pleased to say he has done an excellent job for us here at Peru,'' he said.
In his letter, Johnson named two Mat-Su faculty members: former part-time art instructor Shari Williams and full-time math professor P.T. Chang. He described Williams as sending e-mails and letters to dozens at the Peru State campus and Chang as circulating an e-mail during business hours encouraging other Mat-Su employees to alert the editor of Peru State's student newspaper and Johnson himself.
Williams, a Wasilla artist, said last week that she hasn't taught at the college for nearly two years. She sent one e-mail last year advising a Peru State art instructor to search for Sylvester references on the Daily News Web archives, she said.
''I did not send any copies of anything to anybody. However, it would have been my right to do that and it's not harassment. It's public information.''
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