SCSU professor’s confrontation with student journalist still under investigation

An investigation into a complaint filed by a UTVS member against SCSU professor Tracy Ore has now stretched into its eighth month.

The complaint stems from an episode last semester in Atwood Memorial Center where students were protesting imagery put on display by the St. Cloud State University’s (SCSU) College Republicans.

During the course of this event Kyle Fahrmann, who was filming for a UTVS News broadcast, was accosted by Ore while filming in the second-floor hallway of the Atwood Memorial Center.

Ore, who is a professor of Sociology at SCSU, demanded Fahrmann stop filming and to also delete any footage Fahrmann had.

Ore later said in a contentious interview with the University Chronicle that it was a “teaching moment” for Fahrmann.

“I did have an expectation [of privacy] when it was clear that that reporter didn’t understand it that’s why I spoke with the reporter,” Ore said at the time.

A claim disputed by Frank LoMonte, Senior Legal Fellow at the Student Press Law Center.

“Whether you have a reasonable expectation of privacy depends on the nature of the space. If you choose to have what you consider a ‘private’ conversation in the middle of a busy hallway, you forfeit any reasonable expectation of privacy,” said LoMonte, via email.

Ore does not possess any mass communication degrees or degrees that are related to journalism according to her SCSU directory website page.

According to Judith Siminoe, special adviser to the president of SCSU, there is no official procedure regarding the type of investigation that is currently ongoing about the complaint filed against Ore.

This may explain why the investigation has now taken over half a year as there is no time requirement for completion like other types of complaints.

For example, according to the SCSU website, a complaint about harassment requires an investigation be completed within 60 days unless there is a reasonable cause for delay.

Siminoe did not respond to a request for comment about why the investigation has taken so long by the time this article was published.

“I think it’s a little strange,” said Fahrmann, who filed the complaint Jan. 31 and has not been contacted about the investigation since February “they said they were going to be diligent about going through with this and ensuring that there was some kind of agreement.”

Fahrmann said he sent an email to his SCSU investigation contact in March asking about an update on the investigation and has not yet received a response.

Tracy Ore did not respond to an email asking for comment about the investigation or the previous story featured in the University Chronicle she was featured in. Kyle Fahrmann also works as a part time copy editor for the University Chronicle.

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Mark Wasson

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