Saturday, March 25

Professor emeritus found to have violated UC sexual misconduct policy


News, UC


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Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated Eric Gans was prohibited from teaching or lecturing under the terms of the settlement. In fact, he was also prohibited from administering research projects funded by gifts or applying for future employment within the UC, among other restrictions.

This post was updated Feb. 28 at 10 p.m.

A UCLA professor emeritus was one of at least 25 UCLA faculty, staff and contractors who violated sexual misconduct policy within the past three years, according to documents received by The Daily Californian.

Eric Gans, a French and Francophone studies distinguished professor emeritus, violated the UC Policy on Sexual Harassment and the Faculty Code of Conduct by seeking to establish an unwelcome romantic relationship with the student. At least 113 University of California faculty, staff and contractors violated sexual misconduct policy within the past three years.

The findings resulted from a Title IX investigation by Pamela Thomason, then-Title IX officer for UCLA, after the student filed a complaint.

The report also found Gans’ unwelcome sexual attention caused the graduate student to lose access to educational opportunities because the student felt she was unable to replace Gans with someone with similar expertise.

Gans sent a letter to the student one week before he would evaluate her review exam in which he professed his love for her.

“There is no doubt an asymmetry in our affection,” Gans said in the letter. “The only girl in all my years I cannot think of without tears.”

The investigation repeatedly mentioned how Gans made the graduate student feel anxious and distressed with his poems, letters and emails.

According to the investigation, Gans contended his advances were welcome, but Thomason said the evidence shows the graduate student repeatedly tried to get Gans to cease unwelcome attention.

“The evidence reflects that Gans exerted psychological pressure on (the student) to submit, including references to his own mortality and to how she changed his life,” Thomason said in the report.

After the investigation, Gans settled a lawsuit with UCLA in November 2014 and agreed to resign from his position as professor. He assumed professor emeritus status, except he was prohibited from teaching or lecturing students, administering research projects funded by gifts or applying for future employment within the UC, among other restrictions.

He assumed professor emeritus status and assumed all privileges, except he was prohibited from teaching or lecturing under the terms of the settlement.

The Daily Californian and other media outlets received UC Title IX investigation reports Tuesday after filing a California Public Records Act request. According to the documents, about a third of the 113 UC employees who violated UC sexual misconduct and harassment policy retained their jobs within the university system.

The Daily Bruin will release details about the other 24 cases after reviewing the documents.

Contributing reports by Ryan Leou, National and higher education editor

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