Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Melody Rose accused Board of Regents leaders of persistent hostility and undermining her ability to do the job in a hostile work environment complaint filed Monday, a stunning split between the system’s chief administrator and the governing board that hired her. 

The complaint names Regent Chair Cathy McAdoo and Vice Chair Patrick Carter, who are accused of committing multiple violations of the higher education system’s code, the regents handbook and ethics code, and potentially state open meeting law.

McAdoo and Carter — both elected to their seats on the board in 2016 — were only recently selected by regents to lead the board during a meeting in June 2021, with the pair replacing Regents Mark Doubrava and Carol Del Carlo, respectively. 

Multiple sources, who requested anonymity in order to discuss details of the confidential filing, confirmed the existence of the complaint and the subjects of the document to The Nevada Independent on Monday.

Sources also said that members of the board were told that other regents, presidents of institutions, system cabinet members and staff were potential witnesses in the investigation, and that the complaint invoked the state’s whistleblower protection law, which prevents regents from retaliating against Rose. 

Reached by phone, McAdoo declined to comment. Carter, reached by email, also declined to comment under the grounds that he had yet to see the complaint. 

A spokesperson for the chancellor’s office also declined to comment, adding that the system “does not comment on personnel matters.”

Sources also confirmed that NSHE General Counsel Joe Reynolds retained an outside firm, Las Vegas-based Kamer Zucker Abbott, to conduct a third-party investigation. An email inquiry sent to a lawyer for the firm, Scott Abbott, was not answered, and a voice message left with the firm’s front office was also not returned. 

The NSHE Board of Regents handbook lays out general policies against sexual and workplace harassment, which details a complaint and investigatory processes to follow in cases of alleged harassment. It’s unclear how those policies may be interpreted in this case, given that regents are elected to their position.