The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) continues to be at the forefront of the media regarding multiple allegations of sexual misconduct lately. The university has remained relatively silent regarding most of the claims, other than issuing warnings and/or temporary suspensions to accused faculty members. However, in January of this year the university released a summary of the violations that occurred over the last two years. The list includes three current faculty members.
Under pressure from current and former students, UT Austin released a January document this year listing those accused and a summary of their actions. Seventeen university employees were named, including three faculty members and one research fellow, who were found to have violated the school’s sexual misconduct policies from November 2017 to December 2019.
The summary included the recent complaints regarding Coleman Hutchison of the English department; however, the document detailed many others as well. The violations across the last two years included the university’s integrative biology professor, Johann Hoffman, who allegedly attempted to begin a consensual relationship with a graduate student. Another professor in the College of Pharmacy, Kevin Dalby, allegedly made inappropriate comments to a student.
Hoffman has since been temporarily barred from holding an administrative or leadership position within the university and from supervising graduate students alone. He was also suspended for one semester without pay and was removed as a lab facilities director. Dalby is temporarily prohibited from supervising graduate students on his own.
All three faculty members received written reprimands and had to put plans in place for their future relationships with students. Of the other members listed within the document, 10 have resigned or been terminated, with five of them barred from any future employment opportunities at UT Austin.
While UT Austin has provided a similar summary before, the Thursday release follows months of protests by university students enraged that professors punished for sexual misconduct violations were allowed to return to classrooms to teach undergraduates.
Institutional Sexual Abuse in Universities
Students should be able to safely attend classes without experiencing sexual harassment or abuse from professors and teachers. According to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, sex discrimination is prohibited in any educational institution or program receiving federal funding. Additionally, the Federal Clery Act, which was passed in 1990, requires that United States colleges and universities disclose information about crime on and around their campuses, including instances of rape and sexual abuse.
Unfortunately, despite Title IX and other additional protections provided for students under the Federal Clery Act, sexual harassment and violence continues to occur and interfere with the education of many students.
In fact, many universities make it incredibly difficult for students to come forward, while also failing to report any incidents of sexual harassment when they do occur. As a result, many students remain negatively affected by acts of sexual violence These experiences can hinder the ability to focus on academic goals and can diminish equal access to educational opportunities. Despite all of this, educational institutions frequently fail to accurately report sexual harassment or assault occurring on their watch.
Institutional Sexual Abuse Attorneys
Institutional sexual abuse refers to abuse committed by someone in a position of power within an institution, such as a church, school, or youth-serving organization. This abuse can leave victims helpless as they endure trauma that can affect them physically, mentally, and financially.
Though the accused can be punished in criminal court, the victims won’t receive financial compensation unless they file a civil lawsuit. At Raizner Slania LLP, we proudly represent survivors of institutional sexual abuse throughout the United States. We have the resources, skills, and experience to handle sensitive matters like these, and we will fight to hold those responsible for these acts accountable. If you or someone you know have been a victim of institutional sexual abuse, contact the attorneys at Raizner Slania LLP today to discuss your needs.