UPDATE, 12:03 p.m.:
Dan Pambianco, the former HSU assistant athletic director who filed the suit against the university, called the Outpost this morning to address the settlement and to counter the perspective offered in the university’s press release (below).
Pambianco said he agreed to settle not because his case lacked merit but because he couldn’t hope to match the legal resources brought to the case by the California State University system, and he wanted to reduce the stress this litigation has brought to his family. And he said the financial settlement of $5,000 is beside the point.
“For me, all along, money was not a pursuit that I was very much interested in,” he said, adding that there was a lot more information discovered during the interrogatory process which he hopes will come to light. The settlement agreement did not include a gag order, and Pambianco said he intends to take advantage of that fact.
“I have a lot of information that’s in public’s best interest,” he said. However, he doesn’t intend to share it right away. “I want to wait, see what else comes forward. I became a magnet for others on campus who were similarly unhappy about the pervasive bullying and discriminatory processes. There’s a lot of intimidation if you dare to stand up for something you see as unjust. Your resources are taken away. … Those were things I feel we could have proven through litigation, but [the litigation] has taken a toll.”
The university’s athletic department has changed some of its fundraising and training processes since the suit was filed, Pambianco said. “I hope maybe I had an impact, and there’s some satisfaction that some movement has taken place.”
Pambianco retired from HSU in October, though he’s still invested in his former department. “I support athletics at Humboldt State,” he said. “It’s an important part of our community and there are wonderful professors there doing their jobs for right reasons.”
Going forward, he said he hopes others will take a closer look at management’s activities. He personally plans to file more Public Records Act requests to monitor the Athletic Department’s fundraising efforts, he said.
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Press release from Humboldt State University:
Humboldt State University is pleased to share that a settlement has been reached in a lawsuit brought by former employee Dan Pambianco. This settlement ends a time-consuming distraction in which HSU asserts claims were false and lacked evidence.
Under the settlement, the University has agreed to pay Mr. Pambianco $5,000 and in exchange, Mr. Pambianco has agreed to dismiss the case in its entirety and to never seek future employment at the California State University.
HSU believes many individuals faced unfair and public criticism as this case worked its way through the process, including our many dedicated Athletics donors and fans. The University is grateful for their loyalty and continued support.
Humboldt State University also regrets that the character of Dan Collen and Tom Trepiak, employees within Intercollegiate Athletics, came under what we believe was an unwarranted attack. They were required to defend their actions and spend a great deal of time responding to the demands of the case rather than being able to fully focus on their work with student-athletes. The department as a whole, and these individuals, in particular, have handled the situation with integrity and patience.
As the University said it would when the suit was originally filed, it put up a vigorous defense against the claims made by Mr. Pambianco.
At the time, a settlement was reached, several claims were pending, including an alleged age discrimination claim. The University was confident and prepared to go to trial over these remaining matters, but the proposed settlement provided a less expensive alternative.Last year, Mr. Pambianco dropped his claim relating to financial mismanagement after the University filed a motion challenging that claim. The University’s motion followed the findings of an independent auditing firm that no funds had been misused or misappropriated.