Phoenix New Times–Arizona State University is under investigation by the federal government for sexual discrimination and retaliation in a case that raises questions about how the university protects students who report retaliation from other students.
Earlier this month, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) notified ASU that it was opening an investigation for potential Title IX violations in the case. The probe began when a graduate student filed a complaint with the government alleging the university had fostered a “sexually hostile environment” by failing to address reports of retaliation by the student’s lab peers after she reported a professor for harassment.
ASU’s alleged failure to intervene reportedly led the student to switch to work in a lab on another campus, at the expense of her research and access to professional opportunities.
AZ Mirror — Arizona State University claimed last month to have received $250,000 from alleged sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, but a new report details additional donations to the school totalling more than $2 million.
BuzzFeed News reported that the donations were made to the Origins Project, which was headed by former ASU Professor Lawrence Krauss, who retired after a BuzzFeed story last year revealed allegations of sexual harassment.
The State Press uncovered unprofessional, inappropriate behavior by ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre faculty Micha Espinosa, who encouraged students to pretend to breastfeed/”find the nipple” while disusing her own experiences breastfeeding:
Multiple students described an exercise where they were lying on their backs with their legs spread and knees to their chest, a position known in yoga as the Happy Baby Pose. Espinosa instructed students to “find the nipple” by sucking on one of their knuckles while in the position. On one occasion, two students said she made a comment about her son making her nipples bleed while breastfeeding as she led the students through the exercise.
We’d add ASU Transborder Studies professor Marivel Danielson to the list of professors who are inappropriate with students in theatre classes. Dr. Danielson made inappropriate comments in her “Queer Performativity” class and during office hours, flirted with students, and took students to gay bars and house parties.
Lawrence Krauss is retiring after he was found to have violated ASU’s sexual harassment policy and a Dean recommended his termination. He remains on paid leave until May. For a complete list of allegations against Krauss, click here.
ASU says “it is inconceivable how a faculty member in the course of carrying out his work responsibilities could believe that the conduct would ever be appropriate,” but professors at ASU’s Barrett Honors College have gotten away with similar sexual misconduct over the past 20 years:
Eric Susser exposed himself to students on campus in 2002, suggested to Study Abroad students they have a threesome with him, and sexually harassed multiple students during mandatory office hours, but was not fired until 2012; on a Study Abroad trip in 2008, Jacquie Scott touched a female student inappropriately, and grabbed a male student’s hips and forced him to dance with her while insisting he was the “younger version of [her] husband.”
- View ASU’s official report on Krauss here.
- Read more on Barrett professors engaged in sexual misconduct here.
This October we’re calling attention to the near-fatal violence a Barrett freshman experienced while dating her Human Event professor. Barrett Honors College prides itself for encouraging close relationships between faculty and students, but the honors college has a longstanding, systemic problem of faculty using this closeness to sexually and psychologically abuse students.
Trigger Warning: suicide, domestic violence, gun violence
From the Phoenix New Times:
David Conz formed a relationship with a Barrett freshman who recently had completed his Human Event course. Soon after, he shot himself in the mouth. The student later would tell police that Conz was terminated after it was reported to a Barrett dean that he had given her alcohol. Under state law and current ASU policy, it’s more problematic for a professor to hand an underage student a beer than it is for him to sleep with her.
ASU continues to mishandle sexual assault cases. April 2018 an undergraduate reported being sexually assaulted on campus, but 6 months later her case drags on and ASU officials are making excuses for ignoring her:
“I constantly would check in for updates and my answer was always the same,” she told ASU State Press. “I was told that other reports were still being taken care of and that my report would be finished as soon as they could.”
“Time after time, I began to feel hopeless,” she said. “I felt like I didn’t matter and that my case wasn’t important enough as it had been going on for so long and still is as of October 2018.”
On July 31, 2018 an Arizona State University investigation concluded that professor Lawrence Krauss violated ASU’s sexual harassment policy when he groped a woman at a conference. He has yet to be fired.