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A protest at the University of Southern Mississippi on Tuesday raised concerns about the checkered employment history of Lance Nail, one of four finalists in the provost search, who is being considered for the job despite resigning over scandals at Texas Tech University in 2015.

As dean of Texas Tech’s Rawls College of Business, Nail was accused of ignoring complaints about a male professor under his authority. A Title IX investigation ultimately found that Nail “failed in his responsibility as the Dean of the College.” (Nail has claimed there were inaccuracies in the report.) At the time, Nail was embroiled in another scandal; in 2015, a university panel found that he arranged for grades to be changed for numerous students, violating university rules.

But in addition to baggage, Nail has powerful allies.

After Emily Goldsmith, a graduate student at Southern Mississippi who helped organize the protest, raised concerns about Nail’s candidacy in the student newspaper, USM donor Chuck Scianna sent Goldsmith an email rallying to Nail’s defense and noting that the provost search process involved both a search firm and a search committee.

“Should we just turn the university over to you and your group to hire the provost and run the university?” asked Scianna, according to a copy of the email obtained by Mississippi Today. The email went on to question Goldsmith’s understanding of Nail’s candidacy and character.

Scianna—who has a building on the USM campus named after him—served as part of an advisory group to the dean of the business school when Nail held that position from 2008 to 2012. Scianna and Nail also collaborated on the construction of the donor’s namesake building.

Goldsmith told Mississippi Today that the email from Scianna was intimidating, though Scianna responded that his message was not intended as a threat.