McAllister Olivarius in the news

University of Illinois

“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.

““They reached out to us on Friday. We are willing to negotiate with UIUC, but we have not yet agreed upon the terms of a tolling agreement, which would extend our time limit for filing suit,” said Alison Wilkinson, an attorney with the New York-based law firm that filed the suit.

A tolling agreement would waive the statute of limitations, allowing the plaintiffs to sue the university after the usual deadline.

“If we do not get a tolling agreement in place before Friday, we will be filing on Friday,” Wilkinson said.”

Read the rest of the article here.

“The most severe accusations involve Xingjian Sun, who said she began a sexual relationship with Xu when she was a 19-year-old freshman at U. of I. in 2013. Xu was 45 at the time. Sun alleged she felt pressured to submit to Xu’s advances, which the lawsuit claims ultimately led to a sexual assault. The two-year relationship became verbally and physically abusive, eventually leading to two suicide attempts, she alleges in the suit. Sun graduated from U. of I. in 2016. She now lives in New York. Her attorney, Alison Wilkinson, said Sun chose to be identified in the lawsuit rather than file anonymously.

“I think that she was done being bullied by him,” Wilkinson said. “This is a very big step for her to come forward and no longer be a victim but to be a survivor and a fighter.”

Read the rest of the article here.

One of our plaintiffs speaks exclusively to CBS News about the abuse she endured:

"I didn't seriously date anyone before him. I didn't know what was love."

Oliver asked, "How many times did he rape you?"

"It's too much, I don't remember," Sun replied. "It's too traumatizing. but I would say none of the sex, especially after the fight, was consensual."

The fights were frequent, she said, and in one instance, she thought she would die. On one occasion, Sun said Xu tried to run her over. "He was after me, and he went to the parking lot and started his car driving after me trying to crash me in the street," Sun said. "I was so scared, and I was actually surprised that someone actually just try to kill me in public."

Oliver asked, "How many times did you report professor Xu to the university?"

"I believe eventually three times," Sun said. "I felt like they wanted to sweep it under the rug, that's for sure."

Read the rest of the article and see the whole segment 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.

“Three people have filed a lawsuit against disgraced Chinese curator Xú Gāng 徐钢, the former professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (UIUC), who was accused of sexual misconduct stretching back decades in a series of damning revelations that came to light last year.

In a lawsuit filed on September 10 in Illinois, Xingjian Sun, Xing Zhao, and Ao Wang accused Xu of engaging in “a pattern of sexual abuse and labor trafficking of Chinese students” when he served as head of the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department at the university.

According to the complaint published by law firm McAllister Olivarius on its website, before Xu resigned in 2018 in the wake of sex scandals, he abused his power and authority over the course of many years during his teaching career.”

Read the rest of the article here.

““We think that Gary Xu is a very dangerous man. Our goal is to prevent him from being able to harm other women and students,” said Alison Wilkinson, an attorney with New York-based law firm McAllister Olivarius. “Our secondary goal is to invoke some systemic change at the University of Illinois and at other universities, where students can be taken advantage of by professors without any oversight to prevent that from happening.”

“She was new to the country, isolated and so young,” the lawsuit says. “She was the perfect target for him.”The woman is named in the court filing, but News-Gazette Media has chosen not to publish her identity in accordance with its policy not to identify alleged rape victims.

She was taking an independent study course with him, and they started dating that fall, despite Xu’s marriage and two children. (He divorced his wife last year, according to court records.) Xu first was violent with her that November, pushing her against a wall when she mentioned her ex-boyfriend. Shortly after that, the woman attempted suicide, and Xu insisted she skip eight therapy sessions at the UI she was supposed to attend.Not long after that, Xu showed up to the woman’s apartment and raped her violently. But the relationship continued, with Xu paying her rent and giving her other cash gifts, the lawsuit says, “with the unstated quid pro quo that she would sexually service him whenever he chose.” Xu got the woman pregnant in early 2014 and then forced her to get an abortion, scheduling an appointment for her without her knowledge and giving her $400 in cash to do so.”

Read the rest of article here, detailing the entirety of our claims against Xu.

“An 87-page lawsuit filed Tuesday against the former head of the East Asian Language and Culture Department at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign alleges a reign of terror that includes accusations of preying on young Chinese women and sexually assaulting students.

Two former students and another professor are suing Gary Xu, who worked at U of I from 2006 until 2018, when he was “allowed to resign” by the university.

Ann Olivarius, the lead attorney on the case, said she was “aghast” when she heard the allegations.

“People are terrified,” Olivarius said. “And he’s gotten away with it.”

Olivarius’ team investigated the claims, and they hoped the university would address the issues, but it didn’t, she said.”

Read the rest of the article here.


“Two former students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a professor at another college filed a lawsuit Tuesday against a former UIUC professor, claiming he assaulted, bullied and raped multiple students.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Urbana against Gary Gang Xu, seeks damages for distress from emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

The lawsuit claims Xu specifically targeted female Chinese students, who often depended on the university for their visa status.”

“I’ve spoken to a number of faculty, and they certainly were well aware of the misconduct of Gary Xu over a long period,” Olivarius said. “Many of the faculty said to me that they were very upset that nothing had been done.”

Read the rest of the article here and our entire complaint here.