Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Investigation clears prof of sex charges

Naplenews.com reports that Florida Gulf Coast University Professor Patrick Davis has been cleared of charges that he had an inappropriate relationship with a student who he had impregnated and had plans to marry, and that he had inappropriately engaged in changing grades that he had assigned to the student.

After the university investigated all of these charges, the FGCU administration sent a letter to Professor Davis indicating all of the charges were unfounded.  However, in that same letter, the university administration chastised Professor Davis for engaging in what they termed “retaliation” against Professors Russell Sabella and Marilyn Isaacs, the colleagues of Professor Davis who had initiated the charges against him.   The university indicated that the retaliation took the form of sending an email to a reporter of a local TV station in which the identities of the charging professors were revealed.  In the letter to Davis, Provost Ronald Toll stated-“The University finds your behavior in this matter to be irresponsible, unprofessional, and retaliatory. The particularly malicious level of your accusations provided directly to the media reflects a disregard for FGCU regulations, policies and procedures that cannot and will not be condoned by the University.”

Davis was also chastised in the letter for not being responsive to his Dean’s questions regarding the charges lodged against him.

The naplenews.com also reported-

in his appeal letter, dated Nov. 14, Davis writes that the administration was aware he had not violated FGCU’s policies or procedures, as Associate Vice President Hudson Rogers conducted a previous investigation a year ago and found no improprieties.

“FGCU not only pursued this matter to its already predetermined conclusion (UNFOUNDED) by conducting yet another investigation (without any new supporting evidence), FGCU released knowingly false, albeit salacious accusations against me to the media in what appears as a deliberate, coordinated effort to defame my character and humiliate me,” he wrote. “The damage done to my reputation can not be undone.”

Provost Toll also found Professor Isaacs responsible for retaliation against Davis and she was given a written reprimand for her behavior.

Davis who has been suspended from classroom teaching will not be allowed to return to the classroom as a result of the investigation clearing him since another investigation of him has not been completed. This investigation relates to a complaint from a student “alleging unprofessional behavior in the classroom” by Davis.

The dankprofessor finds it to be quite clear that the FGCU administration does not honor in any way the presumption of innocence.  No matter that Davis has been cleared of rather serious charges, he has not been cleared in an ultimate sense since another charge is still pending. And once that charge is resolved in the favor of Davis another charge could be brought and Davis could remain in a state of “suspended animation” with no end in sight. 

The dankprofessor says enough is enough.  Let Professor Davis do his job.  But apparently too many key persons at FGCU just can’t handle reinstating a professor who had sex with a student, not only had sex but also fathered a child with the student and became engaged to the student and I assume married the student.

Of course, the Davis case was complicated by the fact that the charges also involved the charge that Davis had inappropriately changed a student grade.  However, the involved parties in this case very well know that if there was no sexual component there would have been very little attention given to Davis.  Prejudicial grading is widespread in just about all universities much more widespread than sex between a student and a professor.  If there were fewer of the sexually obsessed at our universities, there would be more attempts to engage major problems at universities, such as plagiarism, conflicts of interest that involve huge amounts of money and, of course, the tolerance of cavalier attitudes toward grading and the tolerance of  prejudicial grading. 

The hardcore bottom line at universities is that students care about grading and most professors do not; if most professors could have their way most of the time, grading would be left in the hands of inexperienced TAs.

 

December 20, 2009 - Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, Florida Gulf Coast University, higher education, sex, sexual politics, student professor dating

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