Fayetteville school superintendent Matthew Wendt is taking an administrative leave of absence, with pay, in the wake of sexual harassment allegations, reports Ashton Eley, who has been doggedly covering the story for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
The complaint, lodged by a district staffer, was made on March 14, prompting an investigation by the district. The investigation is ongoing. Until yesterday, Wendt continued to perform his duties as superintendent. According to an attorney representing the woman who lodged the complaint, Wendt made unwanted sexual advances and she experienced a hostile work environment. The allegations include stalking her home and threatening to withhold a raise if she did not have sex with him.
In a statement released on Friday, Wendt denied the allegations.
The district has also granted leave with pay to two employees who requested it once the investigation began.
Fayetteville School Board president Justin Eichmann asked Wendt to take a leave of absence at the end of the day on Friday, Eley reports. John Colbert, associate superintendent for support services, will serve as superintendent while Wendt is on leave. Wendt’s attorney, in a statement, said that on Saturday morning, “Dr. Wendt notified Mr. Eichmann that, in the interest of the District and community, he agreed that would be best and is now on leave.”