CORRUPT: Ex-diversity officer smacked with massive FINE after giving husband fellowship

A former University of Connecticut graduate diversity officer was fined March 7 after awarding her husband a fellowship for which he did not apply. The announcement came just days before a college admissions scandal broke, in which dozens, including celebrities, were indicted.

The State of Connecticut Office of State Ethics fined Charmane Thurmand, a former graduate diversity officer at the University of Connecticut, $20,000 for awarding her husband a more than $50,000 fellowship for which he did not apply did not have the requisite degree.

Thurmand allegedly directed that her husband, Martinus Evans, “should not be required to do any substantive work in his graduate assistantship and instructed the DMD department that he should be paid for such assistantship simply for doing his schoolwork,” according to the State Ethics Office.

The Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board, part of the State Ethics Office, ruled that Thurmand violated the Code of Ethics’ conflict-of-interests and use-of-office sections.

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The office cited Connecticut General Statutes 1-84 (c) and 1-84 (a), which respectively “prohibits a state employee from using her public position to obtain financial gain for her spouse,” and “prohibits a state employee from having a financial interest in conflict with her official duties and responsibilities,” according to the press release.

“When UConn became aware of potential misconduct on the part of this employee, the university investigated and, upon conclusion of the investigation, took swift action by moving to initiate disciplinary proceedings,” University of Connecticut spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz told Campus Reform. “The employee in question resigned before that could take place. The decision by the state’s Ethics Advisory Board is entirely appropriate and in keeping with UConn’s own findings in this matter.”

Thurmand resigned her post at the University of Connecticut in 2017 after the allegations were first brought up, and presently lives in California. The federal discrimination lawsuit, which she filed against UConn, is still pending.

“Thurmand alleges that the UConn Defendants conducted a ‘biased, racially [motivated,] and retaliatory investigation of the charges,’ and falsely found that the accusations of theft were well-founded,” states the lawsuit, which was filed in the US. District Court of Connecticut.

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The former diversity official’s lawyer, James Brewer, termed the State Ethics commission decision a case of racial discrimination.

“The State of Connecticut Ethics Commission consists of political appointees and is a government apparatus that has simply continued the racial discrimination initiated by the defendant University of Connecticut,” Brewer stated. “A real trial will occur in the United States District Court where my client’s racial discrimination suit is pending.”

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