A Kittitas County Superior Court judge on Monday granted Central Washington University professor and state House candidate Mathew Manweller’s request for a temporary restraining order barring the release of a 2012 university investigation into allegations made by students in 2006.
The order, granted by Judge Scott Sparks, followed requests for records involving Manweller submitted to CWU by the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Daily Record. The order prohibits the university from releasing the investigation results to the newspapers or any other third party.
Manweller and Moses Lake Democrat Kaj Selmann are running for 13th Legislative District House, a seat now held by state Rep. Bill Hinkle. Manweller, an associate political science professor at CWU, sent a written statement via email.
“This is an ongoing legal matter between myself and my employer. As such my comments must be limited,” Manweller wrote in the email. “I can state, however, that in my 10 years at CWU I have never been the subject of any student or faculty complaint and I have never been subjected to any disciplinary action.”
In his written comments, Manweller called the legal action a response to a single administrator in the CWU president’s office who acted in an unethical manner.
“Obviously, the judge who issued the restraining order agreed with us,” Manweller wrote.
CWU Director of Public Affairs Linda Schactler declined to comment on the issue. Assistant Attorney General Alan Smith, who represents the university, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Court documents filed by Manweller in Kittitas County Superior Court on Friday said that an unsubstantiated allegation of misconduct involving students was made in 2006. No student complaint was filed against Manweller in connection with that allegation, and a CWU investigation determined that no action should be taken against Manweller, according to court documents.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reported this morning CWU documents from 2006 to 2008 showed university staff heard from two women, who had been students of Manweller, alleging he made sexual advances toward them. The notes contained in an August records release indicate a full investigation never took place, but also that no formal complaint was brought by the students against Manweller. The Herald-Republic did not report on the allegations because no formal complaint was filed, the newspaper said.
In September this year, CWU hired an outside party to investigate the 2006 incident, according to court documents. The university did not pursue any disciplinary action against Manweller following the investigation, according to court documents. A report was finished Oct. 1.
Manweller’s court filing states that no new facts came to light regarding the allegation between the conclusion of the original allegation in 2006 and September, and the 2012 investigation violated CWU’s policies. It says the university could have ordered an oral report of the investigation rather than create a written document that would have to be released in response to a records request.
The release of the investigation would cause irreparable damage to Manweller’s “reputation, his right to privacy, his professional and political career and his personal relationships,” court documents said.
Manweller sought an order expunging the investigation report and related documents. He also seeks attorney fees.
A hearing is set at 9 a.m. Nov. 5. in Kittitas County Superior Court.