Professor accused of sexual misconduct by UWL student

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Professor accused of sexual misconduct by UWL student

Picture retrieved from uwlax.edu

Picture retrieved from uwlax.edu

Picture retrieved from uwlax.edu

Picture retrieved from uwlax.edu

Sam Stroozas, Managing Editor

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TW: This article contains an account of sexual misconduct. 

On the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 4, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student Caycee Bean posted to Facebook an allegation of sexual misconduct against a professor. 

In Bean’s post, she details what occurred to her during her freshman year at UWL as an art student and how her process of reporting was dealt with by the University. Her post reads as followed: 

“Last semester I finally reported an incident that happened my freshman year.

A professor gave me an override to enter into his senior level class (This is a common theme for him to recruit freshmen girls into his other classes). When I commented on how I thought my drawing skills were not as good as the rest of the class (because I hadn’t taken the prerequisites like everyone else), he offered to give me drawing lessons. I was so excited that a professor was willing to help me advance my skills. 

When it came time for my “lesson” he took me into a small paper room and locked the door behind him. I was immediately uncomfortable but didn’t really understand what was happening. He asked me to pose for him. Then asked me to take off my sweater (I had a tank top on underneath). 

He made comments about my body and then took his hand and began to lift up my shirt. I stopped him. I felt like I was in a bad dream and was so uncomfortable I didn’t know what to do. 

Thankfully someone else began to jiggle the door handle to get in the room. He made us wait 5 minutes before he opened the door and then we walked out of the room. A classmate was standing by the door and watched me walk out of a locked paper room with our professor. I was so embarrassed. 

I quit taking art classes and tried to forget that it happened. Unhappy with my Marketing major I switched backed to art. I was back in the art building and saw this same professor walking through the halls with other freshmen girls and felt sick to my stomach. I knew it was wrong of me not to report this incident so last fall I went to Human Resources and filed a report. 

They took me in for questioning and told me they would start an investigation over the summer and that they would keep me updated on the process. Summer is now over and I never received any updates on the matter. The email in the picture below is all I received…

I’m sharing this because I am extremely disappointed with UW-L’s process. This professor took a slap on the wrist and gets to walk around like he is untouchable. I feel like this matter was not important enough to be on Human Resources priority list since I was never contacted with updates on the investigation or given a conclusion to the investigation. I had to email them myself and I received the email below yesterday morning. I met with Human Resources today demanding more answers but they stuck to the same message they gave in the email.

I am now eager to take further action and demand to know what repercussions were taken and how he responded to the allegations. I plan to meet with Joe Gow in hopes of receiving more answers. You will also see in the other photos below that this is not the first time UWL has handled this type of situation so poorly. Once again, I’m so disappointed in UWL.

If an art professor at UWL (that teaches printmaking on the 4th floor) has ever made you or someone you know feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or sexually harassed you in any way please contact me so that we can come together to take action. (I am unable to share his name due to legal reasons). I am 1000% sure that he has done this to others. We will find strength in numbers. Please come forward no matter how small the incident, anything helps. A little slap on the wrist for what he’s done is not okay with me.

I have also shared the stories of other students from other schools that have reached out to me. These students have had to deal with similar sexual harassment from their professors. This needs to be brought to light so we can put an end to it.”

Bean also included the email she received from HR as a response to her filed complaint. Students from UWL and other Universities have reached out to Bean noting similar experiences at their University or situations with the professor. As of 9:56 a.m. Central Time, the Facebook post has over one thousand reactions, 172 comments, and 753 shares. 

We will be bringing you more from this story as it progresses. Chancellor Gow, the Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities, Dean Kunkel, and the accused professor were all contacted regarding this claim and we are awaiting responses. 

Photos from Bean’s Facebook post are included below with the response that Human Resources sent her and responses from fellow students.

If you are anyone you know has been impacted by sexual misconduct at UWL please reach out to the Violence Prevention Specialist Ingrid Peterson, or one of the many confidential reporters UWL provides.

 

 

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