Florida Fired Him. Now, He's U of L's Title IX Coordinator
In April, David Parrott was fired from his job as the vice president of student affairs at the University of Florida following an investigation into misuse of funds.
By September, he was on the job at the University of Louisville as its interim Title IX and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator.
In that role, Parrott is responsible for handling investigations and discipline related to on-campus sexual assaults, investigating complaints of gender discrimination and ensuring compliance with the ADA.
Parrott is earning $50.89 an hour, or nearly $100,000 a year, in the interim role that is expected to run through December 20, 2019. The position does not include benefits, but does come with on-campus housing in a residence hall.
U of L spokesperson John Karman said the university knew Parrott had been fired at his previous job. They conducted an extensive background check, and he received “glowing reviews in reference checks with several of his previous university employers,” Karman said.
When the University of Louisville’s dean of students offered Parrott the job, he specified in the offer letter that Parrott will be “dismissed immediately” if any additional information emerges about misconduct during his time at the University of Florida.
“I have a 25+ year unblemished career of integrity and good judgement while assuming increasing responsibilities … at tier 1 public universities,” Parrott said in an email to KyCIR. “I expect to continue that record.”
Parrott held the top job in the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Florida since 2016, earning $300,000 a year. He was fired, and the associate vice president for student affairs resigned, three months after the university opened an internal investigation into the misuse of public money, according to the Gainesville Sun.
Parrott told KyCIR he was given the choice between resigning and being “non-renewed.” He said he took that option because it came with a three-month buyout.
The University of Florida has not yet responded to KyCIR’s request for the investigative report. University of Florida spokesperson Steve Orlando said he could not comment on the investigation or what it found, due to ongoing litigation, but he confirmed Parrott’s firing.
According to the Gainesville Sun, a whistleblower alleged that two senior Student Affairs employees misused $3 million for two construction projects. It also claimed the university was charging students more for incoming student orientation than allowed under state law.
In a statement, Orlando told the newspaper the investigation found no misuse of state funds.
"It did find evidence of improper financial administration within Student Affairs, which resulted in the leadership changes,” Orlando told the newspaper.
Parrott was named as a defendant in a class-action lawsuit filed in September on behalf of current and former students about the orientation costs. The lawsuit alleges the overcharging resulted in millions of dollars of “unlawfully acquired funds” for the University of Florida.
In an email, Parrott said that the agreements for the two construction projects were in place before he came to the university. He said he could not comment on the rest of the investigation due to the pending litigation.
But he said, ultimately, he was responsible for the actions of all the departments that reported to him and “their associated decision-making processes.”
Parrott said his termination shouldn’t reflect on his suitability for the job he currently holds. He said he has extensive experience building and consulting on university Title IX programs, and has supervised disability resource offices at three universities.
Before University of Florida, Parrott worked in student affairs at Texas A&M, Western Michigan University and Western Kentucky University. He received his undergraduate and masters degrees from WKU, and his doctorate from U of L.
U of L advertised the interim position after the previous Title IX/ADA coordinator, Brian Bigelow, resigned this summer.
Bigelow had also been responsible for risk management associated with minors on campus.
His salary was $137,000 a year until May, when the university reorganized Bigelow’s position and moved responsibility for minors on campus to a separate role. He was offered a reduced salary of $102,000 a year, or a layoff, according to university records.
Bigelow accepted the job change and salary reduction, according to records provided by the University, but later resigned. Bigelow didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Karman said the university posted an interim position so they could fill it much faster than it would take to do a permanent search. The search to fill the permanent job is underway, and Karman said the university expects to have someone in the job by January.
Parrott said in his email to KyCIR that he has applied for the permanent position.