Former Haskell coach files petition for reinstatement, calls for release of reports on multiple investigations

photo by: Journal-World File

A sign at the entrance to Haskell Indian Nations University is shown Friday, Aug. 5, 2016.

The Haskell Indian Nations University cross country coach who was removed from his role in late 2021 following allegations of misconduct has submitted a petition for reinstatement to the federal agency that oversees the university’s operations.

The former coach, Clay Mayes, is also calling for the release of multiple investigative reports from the past two years that have been kept under wraps. Mayes made those requests in a letter sent to Bureau of Indian Education Director Tony Dearman Sunday.

photo by: Contributed

Former Haskell cross country coach Clay Mayes, right, is pictured with Billy Mills, who ran track at Haskell and went on to become an Olympic gold medalist.

As the Journal-World reported, Mayes was hired to lead Haskell’s cross country team in July of 2021 but, within months, he was barred from leading practices and was under federal investigation for allegedly cultivating a hostile practice environment. About a year after he was hired, student-athletes with the cross country program told the Journal-World they had actually been made to sign a no-contact agreement supporting that claim and were subjected to intimidation by a group of Haskell administrators.

Those students eventually sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland — who herself oversees the BIE — claiming that another lengthy investigation into a number of crimes perpetrated by a group of roughly 10 Haskell employees had taken place on campus during a span of more than six months in 2022 but had never been released.

That’s the same report that a government watchdog nonprofit, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, is trying to obtain. PEER filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the BIE in April inquiring about the investigation, but the agency chose to withhold 528 pages of records in full.

On Friday, PEER filed a lawsuit against the BIE in Washington, D.C., which claims that the BIE failed to disclose those records wrongfully and failed to respond within the statutory deadline to PEER’s appeal.

In his letter to Dearman, Mayes calls for the release of reports about not just the investigation into his conduct and the investigation mentioned in the letter to Haaland but also a third investigation that Mayes claims is ongoing. It purportedly is being conducted by D. Stafford and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in campus safety and security, compliance and sexual misconduct response and investigation on college and university campuses.

To date, it’s still unclear whether the BIE ever plans to make the reports public.

In his letter, Mayes claims that the investigation that focused on him found that any claims, charges, complaints and accusations against him were “fabricated” and thus were “in violation of certain federal criminal laws.” He’s requesting that the BIE and Department of the Interior refer all the matters outlined in his letter to the FBI and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for appropriate investigation.

A PDF of Mayes’ letter is attached below.



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