Loyola U. hires ex-Vatican ambassador with questionable past
BY FRANCINE KNOWLES Religion Reporter May 6, 2014 4:42PM
Miguel H. Diaz
Updated: June 8, 2014 6:33AM
Loyola University Chicago is hiring a former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, who faced allegations that he sexually harassed two colleagues while employed as a professor at the University of Dayton, according to an online higher education publication.
An investigation of Miguel H. Diaz, conducted by outside counsel at the University of Dayton last year, found “there was reasonable cause to believe” that conduct by Diaz “constituted sexual harassment that created an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment,” InsideHigherEd.com reported, quoting confidential letters obtained by the website and posted online. The accusers are a couple and work as professors at the university, according to InsideHigherEd.com. The letters are signed by the Catholic university’s General Counsel, Mary Ann Poirier; and Provost Joseph E. Saliba; and dated July 22, 2013.
The accusing professors’ names were redacted in the letters posted on InsideHigherEd.com. In Saliba’s letter, he notes the couple had “raised concerns that Dr. Diaz was sexually harassing you through various requests and references to explicitly sexual feelings.”
The letters informed the accusing professors that Diaz had been instructed to avoid any contact with them and was told he would be fired if another claim is brought against him and he is found to have violated the law or the university’s sexual harassment policy.
Diaz is currently professor of faith and culture at the University of Dayton and served as U.S. ambassador to the Vatican from 2009 to 2012, according to the university’s website. He is a former president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States.
Diaz did not immediately respond to requests for comment. His attorney, Gabriel A. Fuentes, declined comment.
The University of Dayton was not contacted by anyone from Loyola, according to University of Dayton spokeswoman Teri Rizvi.
Diaz accepted a faculty appointment at Loyola as the John Courtney Murray University Chair in Public Service and as professor of theology, Loyola spokesman Steven Christensen said in an emailed statement. Diaz signed a contract set to begin July 1. His wife, Marian Diaz, accepted a position as assistant professor of pastoral studies, according to Christensen. Her contract is set to begin Aug. 11.
Beyond that, “the university doesn’t comment on personnel decisions,” Christensen stated.
“The University of Dayton is prohibited by federal law from discussing the details of Title IX cases and cannot comment on personnel matters,” Rizvi said in an email statement.
Diaz is under contract with the University of Dayton until May 15 and has been on its faculty since Nov. 16, 2012, she noted. In February, he informed the university he had accepted a new position at Loyola and submitted a letter of resignation, she stated.