An Ohio University professional ethics committee issued a finding today (Friday) that it has "adequate cause" to recommend the university start a "loss of tenure" procedure against a journalism professor accused of sexual harassment. This means he could lose his job, depending on the outcome of the rest of the process.
The six-person University Professional Ethics Committee (or UPEC, composed of university professors) unanimously agreed on that recommendation. The professor, Yusuf Kalyango Jr., was found through a university Title IX investigation earlier this year to have sexually harassed a graduate student who worked in programs led by Kalyango in 2017.
According to the OU Faculty Handbook, the "loss of tenure" finding is the most serious of four possible disciplinary actions the UPEC group could recommend. OU's provost now has 30 days to make a decision on discipline for Kalyango; the provost's decision will then be provided to OU's president, who will make the final determination on discipline (Kalyango can appeal the decision).
The OU Office for Equity and Civil Rights Compliance (Title IX office) investigation found that Kalyango violated the university's policy in three areas: Engaging in sexual harassment by quid pro quo; creating a hostile work environment; and harassing the student based on her sex.
Kalyango’s lawyer, John Marshall of Columbus employment law firm Marshall & Forman, previously has stated that his client denies the student’s accusations.
“Professor Kalyango denies the accusations made against him and looks forward to clearing his name in the university process, which is his first opportunity to present evidence and show that the accusations are not true,” Marshall wrote.
The UPEC group – chaired by Shelley Delaney, professor of theater – met for roughly seven hours on three separate occasions to consider the charges against Kalyango. The group reviewed the ECRC's investigation and findings, and conducted interviews with Kalyango and the student.
The UPEC group agreed with "all of the ECRC findings," and argued that Kalyango engaged in "grooming behaviors" toward the student, on top of of a "pattern of unprofessional and inappropriate behavior."
The group cited "the respondent's (Kalyango's) lack of acknowledgement of the power dynamic inherent in his position of authority," the UPEC report reads. "The respondent is in a position of power, while the complainant is not. This power appeared to be used to intimidate and control the complainant."