Ethics Panel to Hear Case Involving Ex-UConn Employee

Former Diversity Officer Charmane Thurmand is accused of improperly awarding a fellowship

A former University of Connecticut graduate school employee must go before a state panel to determine if she committed ethics violations.

Charmane Thurmand worked as a diversity officer with the UConn graduate school for more than four years.

She resigned after being accused by the university of using her position to financially benefit her husband.

NBC Connecticut Investigates first reported the investigation last year when she resigned from her job.

A judge has ruled the Office of State Ethics has established probable cause that Thurmand inappropriately used her position at the university to award her husband a fellowship that he was not eligible for, valued at over $50,000.

An audit had determined Thurmand’s husband, Martinus Evans, never applied for the money.

The two alleged violations by Thurmand each have a maximum penalty of $10,000.

We left messages for Thurmand, and the attorney believed to be representing her in the ethics case, but have not heard back.

Attorney James Brewer, who is representing Thurmand in a federal discrimination lawsuit she’s filed against UConn, says his client is the victim in all of this.

The lawsuit claims UConn discriminated against Thurmand because of her race, subjected her to unequal treatment, and gave defamatory statements about her to two newspapers and NBC Connecticut.

Brewer told us by email that, “These ‘ethics’ administrators are defendants who conspired with the defendant UConn to violate my client’s civil rights. This administrative agency has shown bias throughout and the true outcome will be determined in our lawsuit where all the defendants will have to answer, not in this one sided kangaroo court.”

UConn says it does not comment on matters that are the subject of pending litigation.

UConn Police said they conducted a criminal investigation into Thurmand and her husband’s alleged conduct, but it did not result in any charges.

Thurmand’s hearing before the ethics panel is scheduled for Oct. 25 and 26.

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