Northwestern University Punished Professor Found Responsible of Sexual Harassment But Did Not Fire HimBy Russell Westerholm, UniversityHerald Reporter
A philosophy professor at Northwestern University was found responsible for breaking the school's policy on sexual harassment, but the violation was apparently not severe enough to warrant termination.
According to Inside Higher Ed, the string of events has led to an eruption of angry students calling for a harsher punishment for Peter Ludlow. The school also discussed details in ongoing litigation in a recently released statement.
A freshman in 2011, a Northwestern student filed a lawsuit against the school for a violation of the federal gender equity Title IX law. She claimed Northwestern acted with "deliberate indifference" in investigating her claims. Now, the school even admitted it found Ludlow responsible for violating Northwestern's sexual harassment policy, but did not fire him, according to a recent court filing.
"While Northwestern does not typically comment to the media on pending litigation," the school said in its statement, "the university has noted that this complaint included substantial inaccuracies, which have been reported in the media and commented upon by the plaintiff's counsel who filed the lawsuit."
According to NBC Chicago, the case has inspired outrage in a group of students, who planned a sit-in protest for Ludlow's Tuesday class that was to meet at 12:30 p.m. Ludlow, who is reportedly getting ready to lave Northwestern for Rutgers, cancelled the class when he got wind of the protest.
"We protest the University's decision to continue to employ Ludlow and allow him to teach classes, despite University investigations finding that he violated their sexual harassment policy by sexually harassing an undergraduate student," the protest organizers wrote in a statement on Facebook.
Northwestern responded to the student's, who is now a junior studying journalism, lawsuit by saying they had "conducted a prompt and thorough investigation. Northwestern also said they had "substantiated some, but not all, of those allegations, found that Ludlow had violated the university's policy against sexual harassment; and imposed several disciplinary sanctions and other corrective actions against Ludlow."
Those sanctions included a pay freeze and an order to abstain from sexual relationships with students, which are not banned by the Northwestern.
The student's lawsuit alleges that Ludlow gave her alcoholic beverages one night while she was out at various clubs and bars. He later took her to his apartment where he began groping and kissing her while she "begged" him to stop. She said she remembers Ludlow telling her "it was 'inevitable' that they would have sex" as she faded in and out of consciousness from being heavily intoxicated.
The case has caused some faculty members to start a petition for harsher penalties on sexual assault and harassment.
Ludlow has denied the charges all along and also appealed the sanctions levied against him, but to no avail.
A spokesperson for Rutgers said no deal had yet to be worked out for Ludlow's hiring.