Adjunct Instructor disciplined

Luke Londo

An assistant NMU football coach and adjunct instructor was disciplined last week by the Health and Human Performance (HPP) department for repeatedly missing classes, as well as sending an e-mail to students soliciting purchase of an energy supplement.

Karl Maslowski, the NMU football linebackers’ coach and an adjunct instructor of weightlifting and conditioning, which meets on Monday and Wednesday mornings, missed three classes without sending notice to students, a student in his class said. On Monday, March 17, Maslowski sent an email to students providing notice that sign-in sheets would be used going forward.

The email further said, “If anyone is interested, my wife and I sell supplements for a company call [sic] Advocare which is used in the NFL and by Crossfit competitors. Using these products I was able to lose 18 lbs. and 6 inches.”

The email advised students if they were interested in purchasing nutritional supplements to contact Maslowski via email or in person, and if students were “interested in selling the products we can help you out there as well.”

A copy of the email was provided to The North Wind by a student in Maslowski’s class under the condition of anonymity.

The student confirmed since the March 17 email, Maslowski wasn’t present at class, and a sign-in sheet has been available at the PEIF desk for attendance purposes.

Maslowski’s absenteeism violates Section 5.5 of the NMU personnel manual, which states “Employees are expected to report for work on time, on a regular basis.” Adjunct instructors are required to be present for the duration of each class, and in the event of an absence, notice must be provided to the instructor’s supervisor, according to the NMU personnel manual.

As a nonrepresented instructor, Maslowski is subject to the terms of the NMU personnel manual instead of the AAUP Master Agreement or NMUFA agreement, according to NMU officials.

His endorsement and offer to sell Advocare, a common nutritional supplement for athletes, also violates the personnel manual.

According to Section 5.2, he is prohibited from providing endorsements.

It states: “No publication, statement, or activity, either on behalf of the University or by an individual in official capacity, shall be for personal financial gain and there shall be no endorsement of any commercial product or service, either directly or by implication, except as an appropriate part of the individual’s professional activity.”

The chairwoman of the HHP department, Mary Tremethick, said she has “addressed this issue,” but was unable to discuss the specifics of personnel issues, including any disciplinary actions that were levied.

Maslowski confirmed he has been disciplined by the department in the form of a notice in his permanent personnel file. The notice indicated that future incidents would result in more severe repercussions, though it didn’t specify what, he said.

Maslowski said he doesn’t work for Advocare, but his wife works for them as an adviser.

“We pay x amount of dollars in product that we use ourselves, and we get a discount in order to sell it to other people,” Maslowski said. “But it’s all her. We share an income, but everything’s in her name.”

When asked directly if he worked or consulted for Advocare in any capacity, Maslowski said he did not.

Had a student purchased Advocare from Maslowski’s wife, or sold it on her behalf, Maslowski confirmed that, though he wasn’t aware of the specifics of the program, a commission would be provided to his wife by the company.

“Nobody ever came forward,” Maslowski said. “I’ve sold zero products. Nothing has come of it, and now nothing will come of it, obviously.”

Maslowski said he had no malicious intent, nor was he trying to abuse his position by soliciting the sale of a product.

“It was a situation where I thought that I could help my wife out,” Maslowski said. “I wasn’t trying to take advantage of anything.”

Maslowski said after receiving an initial request for an interview from The North Wind, he re-read the email he had sent.

“It’s brutal,” Maslowski said. “In hindsight, it’s embarrassing.”

Maslowski attributed his absenteeism to having football workouts scheduled during the same time on Mondays and Wednesdays that his class meets.

When he became aware of the time conflict at the beginning of the semester, the window for getting the class time changed had already closed, he said, and he didn’t pursue the issue with the HPP department or the head football coach.

“I don’t know if it was communicated to them,” Maslowski said. “There was a lack of communication, which really falls on me more than anybody.”

He also said now, at this point in the semester, he believed the students didn’t require supervision.

“It had nothing to do with anyone’s decision but my own,” Maslowski said. “My thought process was, at this point in class, is what I would do is give them a sign-in sheet. Most of the kids in the class are at an advanced level at this point. They are able to work out on their own.”

Maslowski said he self-reported his situation to human resources, the athletic director and to Tremethick.

“I said, ‘Hey, this is what happened. It won’t happen again,’” Maslowski said.

Additionally, Maslowski said he has been told by the coaching staff and HPER department that he’s required to attend the remainder of his classes instead of football team workouts.

“In the future, I will make sure that my classes aren’t scheduled during practice time and when I have to cancel class, or have an issue, I will go through the proper channels,” Maslowski said. “I was lazy with how some of that stuff went down, and it’s going to change.”

Maslowski has attended both classes the week of April 7.