Miami faces lawsuit in assistant provost death

The widow of late Miami University assistant provost William Knight has filed a wrongful death lawsuit naming the university, its board of trustees and its former provost Jason Osborne. Knight died by suicide April 7, 2021.

The suit’s court filing alleges that Osborne “set out to destroy William” after he received negative feedback on a data project that Knight helped prepare, despite caution from Knight that it was not finished or ready to be released. 

According to the suit, Osborne placed Knight’s department under extensive review, which increased his workload and caused serious detriment to his physical and mental health. Knight died on the day he believed he would be fired at a planned meeting with Osborne and others, according to the lawsuit filed on behalf of his wife, Adriene Knight.

“The lawsuit filed against the university is unjustified,” according to a statement provided by Alecia Lipton, Miami’s associate director of media relations.

According to the statement, Osborne “responded with compassion and provided support and resources to help [Knight] succeed,” when told of Knight’s declining health.