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Harasser Is Off San Jose State Teaching Schedule

August 25, 2017
 
 

Lewis Aptekar, a professor of counselor education at San Jose State University, who was found to have sexually harassed one of his students, will not be teaching this fall, after all. Some students and faculty members publicly objected to Aptekar’s return to campus to teach two courses, including one on trauma counseling and crisis intervention, saying it was not appropriate.

Aptekar remained chair of his department for five months after San Jose State found he had harassed his student by repeatedly asking her out on dates. He was put on paid leave only after The Mercury News began to investigate the case last year. A university investigation resulted in further harassment allegations against Aptekar, but they were not substantiated. Another professor in Aptekar’s department, Jason Laker, has sued the university for allegedly attempting to cover up the complaints against his colleague.

Aptekar is reportedly still employed by San Jose State, but the university released no further details about his employment status. His classes were to begin this week, but the university emailed students late Wednesday saying one course had been canceled and it's looking for an instructor for the other.

Elisa Stewart, Aptekar's attorney, said via email Thursday that Aptekar was stripped of his teaching duties, despite having been "cleared of wrongdoing by a thoughtful, diligent and unbiased process with adequate protections in place to protect all the parties" in 2016-17. A 2015 investigation, meanwhile, "was flawed and consequently, the result is not reliable … It is very disappointing there is only one version being presented [publicly] and that version is destroying the career and its legacy."

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