Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro Bans ‘Scandalous’ Conduct amid Israel-Hamas Debate, Months After Admin’s Sexual Harassment Settlement

Josh Shapiro

Governor Josh Shapiro introduced updates on May 8 to his administration’s code of conduct that prohibits “scandalous or disgraceful” acts from state employees, a Tuesday Spotlight PA report revealed.

The report noted that Shapiro quietly signed an executive order that changed his administration’s code of conduct for all state employees amid intense public debate over the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

According to Spotlight PA, Shapiro’s administration notified state employees of its “vaguely worded update” in a May 8 email sent to cabinet secretaries by Secretary of Administration Neil Weaver.

The outlet additionally reported the prohibition against “scandalous or disgraceful” conduct applies to all state employees at all times, but that Shapiro’s administration clarified alleged offenses will be considered individually.

In the email, Weaver reportedly affirmed Shapiro’s support for the First Amendment but warned “that speech may never incite violence, encourage people to violate the law, or harass others.”

Weaver then reportedly explained that the Shapiro administration will now prohibit “[h]ate speech” in the form of social media posts, boycotts, graffiti, and public confrontations.

The policy went into effect last week, but Spotlight PA reported that Shapiro’s changes do “not define scandalous or disgraceful conduct.”

Shapiro’s purported code of conduct update also comes less than one year after he agreed to a nearly-$300,000 settlement over sexual harassment allegations levied at a senior member of his administration.

Shapiro’s decision was also announced to state employees just two days before the anti-Israel encampment at the University of Pennsylvania was dismantled following the governor’s public statement urging officials to act.

Shapiro said, “The University of Pennsylvania has an obligation to their safety. It is past time for the university to act, to address this, to disband the encampment, and to restore order and safety on campus.”

While the changes were announced before Shapiro’s statement about the encampment, Spotlight PA reported Weaver simultaneously expressed the administration’s concern for Islamophobia and antisemitism in his May 8 email.

The change to the code of conduct also comes after a longtime Shapiro aide, Mike Vereb, resigned following a $295,000 settlement to end a sexual harassment complaint against him. Vereb did not admit guilt, but The Philadelphia Inquirer previously reported he was accused of sexually harassing a subordinate within Shapiro’s office.

Critics argue that public opposition to the governor’s recent spending signals that Pennsylvanians are souring on Shapiro. The majority of citizens are now more concerned with inflation and the cost of living than government programs.

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Tom Pappert is the lead reporter for The Tennessee Star, and also reports for The Pennsylvania Daily Star and The Arizona Sun Times. Follow Tom on X/Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Josh Shapiro” by Josh Shapiro.





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