UT Settles Dispute Over Olympic ‘Treasure Trove’

     AUSTIN (CN) – The University of Texas settled a former student’s claims the school refused him access to a “treasure trove” of Olympic documents and doping information that he helped secure for the college.
     Known as the Pound Collection on International Sport, the archive contains documents and regalia that show the growth of the Olympic movement during decades under the tenure of Dick Pound, a former vice president of the International Olympic Committee, former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency and former chancellor of McGill University in Montreal.
     The archive contains over 400,000 pages documenting all aspects of the Olympic Games and International Olympic Committee since 1894.
     UT alumnus Steven Ungerleider, Ph.D., of Eugene, Oregon, sought to depose several UT officials in March 2013, regarding his denial of access. He sued school officials nine months later in Travis County Court.
     Ungerleider said he is a longtime friend and colleague of Pound and claimed Pound donated the collection to McGill with the intent that it be cataloged, archived and made available for research, but that financial difficulties have prevented its completion.
     Seeing an opportunity to help his school, Ungerleider said he persuaded Pound to loan the collection to UT to complete the cataloging and other work.
     He claimed he spent “hundreds of hours over a period of several years” working on the loan, including negotiating with McGill, paying for two law firms to study copyright issues and library exemptions and making arrangements with UT for housing and use of the collection.
     He said the school later excluded him accessing the archive over disagreements over copyright and confidentiality concerns in cataloging its contents.
     Ungerleider and UT settled the dispute, filing an agreed motion to dismiss with prejudice. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
     The settlement was reached after a 13-hour mediation session conducted by a retired judge, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
     The school agreed to pay $405,000 to the Foundation for Global Sports Development – of which Ungerleider is a founding trustee – and to give him a VIP parking pass good on campus for the next five years.
     The school also agreed to provide confidential legal memorandums compiled by Vinson Elkins concerning the copyright issues within the archive, pending approval by McGill. Ungerleider will also remain a member of the advisory council at UT’s Harry Ransom Center until the end of August 2013 – a position the school tried to remove him from during the dispute.
     UT will also cancel over $5.5 million in unfulfilled pledges by the foundation and Ungerleider. The foundation had asked for the return of over $3 million in donations to UT.
     UT spokesman J.B. Bird told the Statesman the collection has since been returned to McGill.
     “Attorneys for the university reviewed the collection and concluded that a significant portion was not available for digitization or research by the public because of privacy, confidentiality or copyright issues,” he said. “We’re a public research institution, and as such we were uncomfortable having a collection of documents not open to the public.”

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