The former chief financial officer of the Ohio State office in charge of alumni relations and fundraising left the university in September following an investigation into sexual harassment claims.
According to a March 22 case report obtained by The Lantern, the investigation found “sufficient evidence” that Mark Beebe, former CFO of the Office of Advancement, violated Ohio State’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Affirmative Action, Equal Employment Opportunity & Non-discrimination/Harassment policy, and concluded that the Office of Advancement must take “appropriate action.”
University spokesperson Ben Johnson said in an email that Beebe’s last day in office was July 17, and his last day of employment was Sept. 3.
Beebe said in a statement that although he disputed the report findings, he offered an apology to his former co-workers.
“I disagree with the representation of the situations described in the report; however, I regret that anyone felt uncomfortable in the workplace, and I chose to leave the university on my own accord. I only wish the best to all of my former colleagues and the university,” Beebe said in a statement.
Johnson said the CFO of University Advancement is a senior staff position that supervises four people, and Ohio State does not tolerate sexual harassment or discrimination under any circumstances. According to its website, the Office of Advancement works in alumni engagement, fundraising, strategy and administration and marketing.
According to the case report, Beebe and 30 witnesses were interviewed after the Office of Human Resources received a complaint Dec. 13, 2018.
Eleven witnesses reported that Beebe made comments to female employees regarding their appearance or outfits, and some witnesses reported that Beebe “looked them up and down” and stared at their breasts during conversations.
The witnesses noted that other males at Beebe’s level did not make comments on the appearance or dress of female co-workers.
Beebe was interviewed as part of the investigation on Feb. 22, when he said he tried to keep a “lighthearted and relaxed environment.” Beebe denied any sexual connotation to his comments and did not remember making such comments, but “was not going to say anyone was a liar about him making those comments.”
Witnesses also reported that Beebe would make comments regarding gender or differential treatment based on gender.
Additionally, it was reported that Beebe had commented to a witness and other females, “Look at you guys, sitting around, eating bonbons,” when he encountered them talking, according to the case report.
Beebe was also reported as treating females differently than males in the workplace. Ten witnesses described Beebe “talking down to females, cutting them off/interrupting while they are speaking and rolling his eyes while females are speaking,” according to the report.
“Beebe did not believe he has treated males and females differently, and he was surprised to hear that was reported,” the report states. According to the report, Beebe said that is not how he would describe himself, but “if he is viewed that way, it is important.”
In a follow-up interview on Feb. 25, Beebe said he promoted two women on his team in the past year-and-a-half.
In the report, some witnesses stated they received “warnings” about Beebe when they were hired regarding “suggestive comments” and Beebe being “creepy.”
The initial complaint also stated that Beebe’s behavior was a “fairly open secret,” and one witness said the Office of Advancement’s human resources department was aware because she discussed the behavior with the department.
According to his LinkedIn page, Beebe is now self-employed as a business consultant.