Submitted by Emily Tate on April 10, 2017 - 3:00am
Before a 2014 University of California, Berkeley, alumna filed a lawsuit against a distinguished philosophy professor there last month, the institution had fielded sexual misconduct complaints about the 84-year-old professor from at least three other women, BuzzFeed News found.
Berkeley officials in the philosophy department were also aware that John R. Searle, the professor, had made inappropriate comments in some of his classes.
Joanna Ong, who served as Searle’s research assistant, is accusing the professor of firing her from that position after she rejected his sexual advances. BuzzFeed obtained documents from the university that show Searle was accused of sexual harassment on multiple previous occasions.
In 2014, a student said the professor declined to offer her a position as his research assistant because she was married. The year before that, an international exchange student said he tried to kiss her. And in 2004, a student said Searle tried to play with her feet under the table at a dinner for prospective students.
Berkeley’s Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination is reviewing Ong’s complaint, as it said it did with the three previous complaints. Searle has denied all such claims.
A faculty group at Rutgers University passed a resolution last week to express its concern and disappointment in the university’s athletic spending, NJ.com reported.
A report on the finances of the athletics program, released about two months ago, revealed an almost $40 million deficit in the 2016 fiscal year.
In response, the Rutgers New Brunswick Faculty Group unanimously passed a resolution to publicly voice its position about the overspending.
“The New Brunswick Faculty Council deplores the university administration's continuing failure to eliminate or even reduce the athletics program's chronic deficit spending and its continuing reliance on millions of dollars in student fees and general university funds to pay for the program's deficits -- all of which harms the university's academic mission,” the resolution says.
The athletics director, Pat Hobbs, defended the decision in a statement, saying that the department is “writing what will be the greatest chapter in Rutgers athletics history. We will be competitive, and we will do that in a fiscally prudent manner.”
He explained the spending as an investment that will make the program stronger and easier to grow in the future.
Rutgers also joined the Big Ten conference to help the program “be in a position to generate a positive cash flow for the university,” a spokeswoman for President Robert Barchi said.
Previously, Barchi estimated that Rutgers’s membership in the Big Ten would result in $200 million in revenue in the first 10 years.