UNCG is investigating concerns about sexual misconduct by Triad Stage co-founder, director and playwright Preston Lane, who taught as an adjunct instructor in the university’s theater department until December 2019.
A message shared with faculty and staff at UNCG today by Bruce McClung, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, acknowledged reporting by Triad City Beat that cited a former student who said he was sexually abused by Lane.
“I would like you to know that the university has been aggressively working on this issue since alumni brought it to our attention in August,” McClung wrote.
Alumni met with McClung and Title IX Coordinator Murphie Chappell via Zoom on Aug. 22. As previously reported, McClung assured the alumni that there were no plans for Lane to hold a faculty position at UNCG in the future.
Triad Stage announced Lane’s resignation as producing artistic director on Monday evening, but Lane gave notice of his resignation two weeks earlier. Lane has communicated to TCB through an attorney that he “denies any and all allegations of sexual abuse.
The statement issued by university reads, in part:
“Our team has been actively investigating these concerns as they relate to [Lane’s] presence at UNCG since we were made aware of them by several alumni in August of 2020. Our investigation is ongoing, and requires us to operate within specific legal guidelines in terms of what we can say, what we can do, and when we can take action. We must adhere to these rules, as to not jeopardize our ability to find the truth and protect the rights of all involved.
“To be clear, the alleged conduct is absolutely unacceptable and completely antithetical to the values we hold dear at UNCG. We will not tolerate behaviors that create a hostile environment for our students, are predatory, or limit students’ opportunity to learn and grow. We are fully committed to providing an inclusive, safe, non-discriminatory environment for learning, living and working.”
The statement goes on to say that the university is making “several resources available to help anyone who has suffered or feels traumatized by anything that may have happened.
“We take seriously our responsibility to provide our alumni — and anyone affected in a situation like this — with the opportunity for healing,” the statement said, adding that anyone with information to share should contact Chappell, the Title IX coordinator.
Lane has also taught at UNC School of the Arts, NC A&T University, Southern Methodist University, Greensboro College and the Professional Actors Workshop at the Dallas Theater Center, according to an official bio posted on the Triad Stage website.
Triad Stage’s board of directors launched in an internal investigation after hearing concerns about Lane’s conduct, TCB has reported. Two board members and an outside lawyer retained by the theater company met with four people who detailed allegations of alleged sexual misconduct during a Zoom meeting this past summer.
The brief press release includes no accolades about Lane’s prolific creative output or crucial role in building the organization over the past two decades, merely stating that “planning for leadership succession is underway. The press release also quotes Deborah Hayes, chair of the board of directors as saying, “We are looking forward to building on our rich artistic history as we continue to work toward the day when Triad Stage can return to live productions in a post-pandemic world.”
In a separate statement to TCB, Hayes confirmed Lane’s resignation, but declined to comment on the internal investigation or the accounts of sexual abuse, citing employee confidentiality.