A former California Polytechnic State University professor is being investigated by the university’s Civil Rights and Compliance Office under Title IX for sexual harassment of a former student, The San Luis Obispo Tribune reported.
Arthur White, who had served as director of jazz studies at Cal Poly, resigned from the university in June. He took a new position as an associate dean at Emporia State University but resigned from that job six weeks later. (This paragraph has been updated to better reflect the sequence of events.)
Two students from White’s former university, the University of Missouri, alleged that he subjected them to harassment when he was their professor; one of them also filed a Title IX report.
A spokesperson for Cal Poly would not comment on whether the university knew of the Mizzou complaint when it hired White but told the Tribune, “There is not a guarantee that a background check would inform the university of a Title IX matter in a candidate’s previous employment.”
The three accusers allege that White frequently made sexual comments toward them. (This paragraph has been updated.)
White, through a lawyer, vehemently denied the allegations.
“He insists he never had romantic feelings for [the accuser] and never said that he did,” the attorney, Don Peterson, wrote in a letter. “Her version of events does not include any touching. She does not claim he asked her to do anything. Her version does not state he stated any intent to do anything. Her version is that he expressed feelings and that this alone caused her emotional trauma and fear. I suppose this is possible, but it is hardly plausible, especially considering the quarter was essentially over.”
Peterson also said that if the accusers claims were legitimate, White would have at some point communicated his romantic feelings for her over email or text, which he never did.