The University of Minnesota has agreed to pay $ 75,000 to a former graduate student and research fellow who said he was sexually harassed by a professor at the Humphrey School of Public Relations.
The settlement, which was announced Friday by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, also requires U to enforce harassment of students and faculty and allow a woman to obtain a degree for free.
“What was supposed to be a safe and sacred relationship between professor and student has instead turned into an unsafe and abusive space. Sexual harassment needs to be stopped. Students deserve the best, ”ombudsman Rebecca Lucero said in a press release.
The complaint concerned resident human rights professor James Ron, who left U in July 2020 under a settlement agreement that paid him nearly $ 200,000.
The student worked under Ron’s guidance for 10 months on the Human Rights Initiative from 2017 to 2018.
She said that Ron talked about his post-divorce sex life, asked her to cook for him and his children, invited her to move into his house as a renter, and once commented on her makeup.
In May 2018, she complained to the assistant dean that Ron had told her, “This is very bad with your boyfriend; I was waiting for you to stop studying so I could ask you out on a date.
The student reportedly missed class once or twice due to Ron’s behavior. She also missed an important symposium in New York because although the dean told Ron that he could not attend due to his behavior, he still planned to go visit the family and the student did not want to risk confronting him in New York. …
The student failed two of the four lessons, citing the stress caused by Ron’s behavior. The school agreed to cover her tuition from 2018 to 2019 and suspended Ron for the spring 2019 semester, but instead the woman dropped out of school and never returned.
U reached a $ 75,000 settlement after the human rights department discovered the likely reason that U discriminated against her by exposing her to a hostile work and educational environment.
Interim Dean Katherine Squires said Friday via email to students at Humphrey School and others that the school is “making an ongoing effort … to ensure that our school is a place where we all thrive, feel welcomed and supported, and where inappropriate behavior is not tolerated. “. “