UMaine Theater Professor Placed On Leave After Students Express ‘Concerns’

Feb 1, 2018

The University of Maine has placed a theater professor on paid administrative leave “after receiving a number of emails from students alleging confidential concerns about him,” a spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.

Tom Mikotowicz, 67, of Bangor was placed on leave Dec. 11, 2017, Margaret Nagle, a spokeswoman for the university, said in an email.

“The university takes the students’ concerns very seriously, so an investigation is ongoing,” she said. “However, the university has made no determination yet whether Professor Mikotowicz violated any university policies.”

Mikotowicz did not respond to a message left on his office voicemail or to emails seeking comment on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Dan Bilodeau, chairman of the university’s Department of Theater and Dance, declined to comment Tuesday night.

The university will release no further information about the nature of the complaints due to federal laws that protect students’ privacy, Nagle said.

“Professor Mikotowicz has both privacy rights and further rights to due process as a public employee and through his faculty union contract,” Nagle said in the statement. “The university will ensure that it protects both the students’ rights and Professor Mikotowicz’s rights through the investigation and will take appropriate action(s) as determined to be necessary only at the conclusion of the investigation.”

As a result of Mikotowicz’s placement on leave, one of his classes was cancelled and two others are being taught by other professors, Nagle said.

Mikotowicz, who earned his doctorate degree from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, teaches directing, playwriting, history and performance theory at the university, according to the School of Performing Arts website.

As an actor, Mikotowicz starred in early 2014 in Penobscot Theatre Company’s production of Travis Baker’s “One Blue Tarp.” As a director, Mikotowicz has staged hundreds of productions at the university. The play he was scheduled to direct this semester, “Stupid F##king Bird,” is being directed by Meg Taintor, artistic director of Opera House Arts in Stonington.

This story appears through a media sharing agreement with Bangor Daily News.