U asst. athletics director suspended for 2 weeks after violating sexual harassment policy

Randy Handel, a fundraiser for the athletic department, will be demoted along with the unpaid suspension.

by Max Chao

A University of Minnesota assistant athletics director has been suspended for two weeks after complaints of sexual harassment.

Randy Handel, the University’s associate athletics director for development, will begin his unpaid suspension Monday and be demoted from his position for violating the school’s sexual harassment policy, athletics director Mark Coyle said in a statement Tuesday. Handel will also receive mandatory sexual harassment training.

Handel repeatedly hugged and touched a female employee on the face, neck, and back, according to an internal investigation conducted by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. 

The employee alleged Handel hugged her over 20 times, while he “sighed or moaned” and she sometimes felt breathing during the hugs. She also alleged Handel touched her on “the face and/or neck or upper chest, without asking, to remove an eyelash or make-up brush bristle” over 20 times. The investigation noted this often happened behind closed doors while the two were alone.

The woman repeatedly communicated she felt uncomfortable to Handel, but he ignored it, according to the investigation. The report also found he made inappropriate comments toward the subordinate. Handel denied any sexual intent.

As part of his demotion, Handel’s office will be moved from TCF Bank Stadium to the Bierman Field Athletics Building. He is no longer allowed to supervise employees and his salary has been changed as a result of the decreased responsibilities. 

The suspension comes two weeks after a University Board of Regents’ document leaked to KSTP-TV that showed Handel had violated University sexual harassment policy.