Students Demand that a College Professor who Violated Sexual Harassment Policies Not Teach This Fall
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RALLY, Sept 10: Join Wendy Wyler on the campus of Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). Wendy Wyler will be speaking out in an on campus rally this coming week, September 10th, 2o13 at 1pm in front of Adanti Student Center next to the music building, Earl Hall.
September 3, 2013 – NEW HAVEN, Conn. – This week, Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) allowed a professor who violated its sexual harassment policies to continue teaching despite an ongoing Title IX law suit and a 2,000 signature petition full of community outrage.
In 2011, Wendy Wyler reported to SCSU that Prof. David Chevan had verbally and physically sexually harassed her. In addition to making several unwanted sexual advances, Prof. Chevan led Wendy into a storage room, closed the door, stood in front of it, and continually propositioned her. She was traumatized: “When he shut the door behind him, everything about him changed. I wondered if anyone would hear me if I screamed. I repeatedly told him no.”
Wendy reported to SCSU, where officials asked her to “really consider whether or not I want to make a sexual harassment report,” citing a long process and suggesting she may be overreacting. Wendy was not deterred; she filed the complaint and spent her senior year on campus feeling alienated from peers and too unsafe to take music courses since Prof. Chevan was still teaching.
Although SCSU determined that Prof. Chevan had violated its sexual harassment policies, he was allowed to continue teaching with a minor suspension. This is outrageous given his pattern of sexually harassing students stems back over a decade. “I know an alumna of SCSU who graduated more than 10 years ago and had similar problems with Chevan, but was afraid to report,” posted an anonymous faculty member to the petition started by PAVE and SurvJustice.
To demand Prof. Chevan be removed, Wendy Wyler will be speaking out in an on campus rally this coming Tuesday, September 10th at 1pm in front of Adanti Student Center with supportive students and faculty. “I’m supporting this petition because this university has done its students wrong. Ensuring the safety of your students is their job. I’m supporting this petition because I am furious,” said one SCSU student Madison Breuer. Two SCSU faculty members are supporting the students who are rallying. As one of them explained,“When Wendy’s case became public, more than one of my colleagues indicated that they had information about other instances of sexual misconduct, but victims did not want to report. The fact that we have so few reported cases ought to be a red flag. The question isn’t whether there are problems . . . but rather how we respond to them.”
Wendy’s case comes at a time when many survivors of campus sexual harassment and violence have filed Title IX complaints with the U.S. Department of Education, which is under pressure to improve its enforcement. Instead of relying on the Department, Wendy has filed a federal lawsuit under Title IX against SCSU to hold it accountable.
PAVE is a multi-national nonprofit that uses education and action to shatter the silence of sexual violence. PAVE’s work has been featured on CNN, Today Show, and in TIME: www.ShatteringTheSilence.org
SurvJustice is an organization working to provide justice for survivors of sexual violence through effective legal assistance, institutional policymaking and legislative lobbying: www.survjustice.org