UCLA professor sanctioned over sexual misconduct allegations returns to teaching, sparking protests

Historians in the News
tags: UCLA, sexual harassment, Gabriel Piterberg



UCLA professor who has been accused of sexual harassment returned to teaching this week, publicly shamed and professionally damaged. 

History professor Gabriel Piterberg never admitted any wrongdoing in cases involving two former graduate students. But he agreed in a 2014 settlement with UCLA to pay a $3,000 fine, accept a one-quarter suspension without pay, be removed as head of the university’s Center for Near East Studies and attend sexual harassment training. UCLA also imposed restrictions on his behavior, including a three-year ban on closed-door meetings with individual students.

That wasn’t enough for many students, whose noisy protests outside his classroom Monday prompted the cancellation of his two classes. They vowed to continue their protests Wednesday morning when Piterberg’s courses on the Ottoman empire and Middle East history from 500 to the present meet.

“We wanted to send a clear message to the university and the history department that we don’t think someone accused of sexual harassment should be teaching undergraduate classes,” said Melissa Melpignano, a fourth-year doctoral student and member of Bruins Against Sexual Harassment.

UCLA spokeswoman Kathryn Kranhold said Piterberg would continue to teach his classes throughout the quarter but that his lectures would be videotaped for students who prefer not to attend in person. She said students had the right to protest but also to access all academic coursework. All members of the UCLA community share the responsibility to promote the university mission of teaching, research and public service, she added. ...




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