U of Illinois law professor accused of sexual harassment won't return to teaching

U of Illinois law professor accused of sexual harassment won't return to teaching

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Foellinger Hall at the University of Illinois

Foellinger Hall at the University of Illinois, Champaign campus.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A University of Illinois College of Law professor accused of sexual harassment will not be returning to teaching at the university.

Jay Kesan was expected to come back in January after a year of unpaid leave, but teaching staff and students were notified by email that other faculty members will teach his courses, The (Champaign) News-Gazette reported. The brief email stated that Kesan will be on a “university sanctioned leave.”

After a two-year investigation into Kesan's sexual misconduct was made public in the fall of 2018, Kesan issued a written apology admitting the truth of the allegations and said he was taking a voluntary, unpaid leave of absence for the 2019 school year.

The university's Office of Diversity, Equity and Access investigated formal complaints from three female colleagues and students of unwanted touching and unsolicited discussions about sex. It concluded that Kesan's conduct didn't qualify as sexual harassment or misconduct under university policy, which states that said offensive behavior must be “severe or pervasive” and “unreasonably interferes with” a person's work or educational opportunities.

The report, however, did recommend that Kesan undergo sexual harassment training and that a copy of the report be put in his personnel file to be considered when it came time for raises or promotions.

The investigation included interviews with 38 anonymous witnesses.

The university has since adopted new policies intended to clarify penalties for such behavior.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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