Idaho State University has fired the former supervisor of its five-watt nuclear reactor after investigating what officials called a harassment complaint filed by a student employee.

University officials would not elaborate on the circumstances of Kevan Crawford's firing. But ISU President Richard Bowen said it came after "an occurrence or set of occurrences that were very carefully investigated."Bowen said the investigation "found the individual to have done what he was accused of doing." But Crawford, 37, contends the firing was related to his complaints about management of the university's small research reactor.

"From their point of view I was harassing another employee," he said. "From my point of view they fabricated the story so they could terminate me."

Crawford was supervisor of the research reactor from December 1991 to March of this year. He resigned from that position, but continued teaching, after complaining to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the reactor's management.

He sought protection under the federal Whistle-blower Act in October, but it was denied.

"It is our conclusion that your allegations cannot be substantiated because no evidence could be found which linked the alleged harassment issues to your whistle-blowing activities," Robert H. Provencio, district director of the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, wrote in a Nov. 5 letter to Crawford.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave ISU officials high marks for their handling of a dispute between Crawford and former reactor supervisor Albert Wilson over management issues that led to Crawford's complaints.

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The commission conducted a routine inspection in August, which it said was not related to Crawford's complaints. It found seven minor infractions at the reactor, but none involving significant safety issues or risk of radiation exposure.

University spokesman Kelly Wiltbank also dismissed Crawford's allegations about the reasons for his firing.

"His point of view is baseless and inaccurate, and he cannot substantiate any of his actions or positions," Wiltbank said.

Crawford, who came to the Pocatello school from the University of Utah in the fall of 1991, was a non-tenured assistant professor. He taught engineering dynamics, thermal power cycles and basic mechanical drawing.

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