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.
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.
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.
Grooming refers to a series of behaviors by an abuser to ensure a victim accepts physical and psychological abuse as normal and desirable, and to ensure that a victim does not report or expose sexual misconduct.
The grooming process at Barrett has been known to begin in mandatory freshman “Human Event” seminars, and often progresses to Study Abroad trips, teaching assistantship, and thesis direction. Professors not associated with Barrett have also used the Barrett Honors Thesis project to blur boundaries and groom students for sexual abuse.
ASU has been under federal investigation since 2012 for mishandling sexual assault and sexual harassment cases. SDASA’s Title IX complaint on behalf of multiple students was incorporated into the federal investigation in 2014, and several other Title IX complaints have been filed against ASU since then.
A former Arizona State student claims that “ASU refused to authorize either a drug screen [or] rape kit for DNA analysis” and “obstructed and shut down the investigation” after she was drugged and sodomized at a Sigma Chi fraternity party. She claims campus police did not interview a single Sigma Chi member, blamed her for “having been forcibly sodomized,” and did it all “to make ASU appear safer than it was.”