McAllister Olivarius in the news

Title IX

“Alison Wilkinson, attorney for McAllister Olivarius, has been working on the sexual harassment case against Gary Xu, former head of the East Asian Language and Culture Department, and has just filed a complaint on behalf of his three former students. 

Wilkinson said in the case of Xu, the victims were all from China, where there is a stronger deference element to the professorial student relationship, which Xu knowingly used to his advantage. 

“Some sort of beginning, primer, intensive session with foreign students would be really helpful to set the stage for what should and shouldn’t be allowed,” Wilkinson said. 

According to the Sexual Misconduct Perceived Campus Response Survey, about half of students reported knowing where to get help following an incident of sexual misconduct. About 30% report understanding the process that occurs following a report of misconduct. 

Wilkinson said teaching assistants, faculty and most people who knew what was going on with Xu said they didn’t feel there was a clear reporting path. “

“They either hadn’t been trained, or they didn’t remember that they had been trained,” Wilkinson said. “Or they didn’t know how anyone could respond since he was the head of the department.” “

Read the rest of the article here.

“The case is of particular importance, Olivarius says, because “sexual harassment of undergraduate and graduate students remains an epidemic despite the progress reflected in the #MeToo movement. Chinese students in the US are particularly vulnerable because of their unfamiliarity with sexual harassment protections, their tradition of deference to professors and their precarious visa status. The University of Illinois has more than 5,000 Chinese students. I’m sure most of them are receiving an excellent education, but it’s important for big universities to realise that they should not try to sweep abuse under the rug to avoid scandal that might hurt recruitment, but deal with it squarely and protect students.”

Read the rest of the article here.

“Zhao said she joined the lawsuit to prevent Xu — or professors like him — from abusing their power in the future.

“I feel that Gary Xu, if he stays in academia or anywhere, he would be a potential harm to junior faculty or whoever works as a subordinate for him,” Zhao said. “So as I have experienced this, I don’t want that to happen anymore anywhere.”

She also hopes this lawsuit improves academia overall.

“If I want to stay in academia, I’ll become a female international junior colleague who has little leverage,” she said. “And I want the surroundings to be better, healthier, before I can even join academia and feel safe, not having what was done to me happen again when I become a junior colleague.”

Read the rest of the article here.

“Nearly all of the claims presented in a lawsuit have a legal basis to proceed, a judge ruled, setting the stage for a showdown in court over allegations that UR retaliated against and defamed nine former students and faculty affiliated with complaints against professor T. Florian Jaeger.

United States District Judge Lawrence Vilardo, in allowing most of the claims to proceed, established that those claims, if true, describe illegal behavior on the part of the University. 

Of the more than 15 charges levied against the University, only two — that complainant Elissa Newport was retaliated against under Title VII, and that a special committee of the Board of Trustees defamed the complainants — were dismissed in their entirety. Vilardo ruled the Board of Trustees statement wasn’t defamatory, and that Newport was not protected by Title VII because when the alleged retaliation occurred, she was not at UR. 

Vilardo’s decision neither verifies nor debunks any of the claims.

“For us, this is certainly a vindication,” Steven Piantadosi, one of the complainants, told the Campus Times. “It’s a vindication of our attorneys and what they had told us all along about the legal standards. […] In terms of our case, you know I think it’s a clearly good step for us in legal terms.”

Read the rest of the article here.

After extensive settlement negotiations, UCLA has removed Professor Gabriel Piterberg from employment at the university, denied him emeritus status, and removed him from all future employment with the University of California. 

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The Sunday Times looks at the urgent problem of sexual harassment and assault at universities in the UK.

Dr Ann Olivarius advises the newspaper that legislation, compulsory consent classes and financial penalties are the only remedies that will bring about a change.

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Inside Higher Ed questions the return of a professor to a Los Angeles university when he cannot be trusted alone with students.

A  UCLA investigation into sexual harassment claims made in a lawsuit we filed on behalf of graduate students Nerfertiti Takla and Kristen Glasgow resulted in a financial penalty and open-door office rule for history professor Gabriel Piterberg.

The students’ lawyer, McAllister Olivarius Associate Michael Porcello, said: ‘The most egregious piece of this to us is that Piterberg has gotten off with more or less a slap on the wrist.’

He added: ‘We do not consider these terms, when you look at them closely, to be those that would protect other clients who could be harassed in the future by this predator.’