Professor Retired Following Harassment Findings

August 20, 2018

Peter Pober, a former professor of communications at George Mason University, quietly retired this spring as he was facing sexual harassment allegations, first from one student and then others, according to The Washington Post. One student reportedly said he wanted to come forward to ensure that Pober would not simply be able to move on to another campus and harass students there. In written testimony obtained by the Post, one student who was part of a speech team that Pober coached alleged that Pober made sexual advances to him while they were alone in a hotel room after a night of drinking. A campus investigation under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits gender-based harassment, said that Pober “engaged in conduct that qualifies as sexual or gender-based harassment” in violation of university policy, according to the Post.

Pober told the newspaper that he had an “inappropriate conversation” with a student, but he denied other details of the student’s account. “I apologized to the student that evening and continue to regret my words,” he said. George Mason said that Pober, who did not have tenure, retired in May, after the university started termination proceedings. He had been on administrative leave since February. A university spokesperson said that there was no record of complaints against Pober before February, but that there had since been several other complaints about him. One former student said Pober bought him drinks during a business dinner about job opportunities and made sexual advances. George Mason found evidence of harassment in that case but insufficient evidence of harassment in two others, according to documents shared with the Post and verified by George Mason.

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