Against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, scandals at higher education institutions over the past year have led to a series of high-profile resignations.
At Penn, longtime psychology professor Robert Kurzban resigned in July after allegations of two separate romantic relationships with students were reported by The Daily Pennsylvanian. The alleged relationships were both consensual, but occurred under his purview as an instructor and advisor, which is in apparent violation of University policy.
In early January, Columbia University photography professor Thomas Roma faced five allegations of sexual harassment, most of which occurred in the 1990s. One of the women, actress Mozhan Marnò, was 18 years old when she filed a written complaint about Roma to Columbia in 2000. A panel convened to investigate the situation and determined both parties were consenting, and Roma continued to work at Columbia. After these allegations surfaced, Roma resigned from Columbia on Jan. 4.
After more than 18 people, including staff and students, accused Harvard University professor of government Jorge I. Domínguez of sexual misconduct, Harvard put the professor on leave. Dominguez resigned in early March immediately following the university’s decision.
In late May, former University of Southern California President C.L. Max Nikias stepped down following allegations that George Tyndall, a campus gynecologist, engaged in sexual assault and mistreatment directed mostly at female patients. Over 300 people from USC came forward — most of them Tyndall’s patients — with sexual abuse and mistreatment allegations that date back to the 1990s. There was an uproar on campus, the LA Times reported, and calls for Nikias to step down.
In August 2017, a lawsuit accused the University of Northern Alabama of covering up an alleged assault by professor David Dickerson against an unnamed student. The alleged sexual misconduct took place on a field trip in 2015. Following the lawsuit, Dickerson was placed on administrative leave. In January 2018, however, Dickerson filed a $7 million claim against the university, alleging that UNA denied him due process according to his contract by stripping him of his position.
In January, University of Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez was fired after an allegation of sexual harassment. Rodriguez had been employed by the university for six seasons.