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Change.org petition claims Niagara Univ. professor is sexually harassing students

Posted at 1:09 PM, Sep 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-19 18:30:02-04

More than 500 supporters have signed a petition suggesting that a Niagara University professor is sexually harassing students.

7 Eyewitness News is not naming the professor -- as he currently does not face charges or punishment from the school.

In a statement, Debra Colley, the Executive Vice President at Niagara University, says in part, "We are aware of the posts, but the university does not comment on matters related to personnel issues and those involving student privacy.  However, we are investigating the current allegations.”

The petition, started by a group calling themselves "Concerned Alumni of Niagara University," says an investigation took place in 2010 into this professor, but claims "the University mishandled our case."

It also lists several reported incidents, including claims of inappropriate comments, abuse of power, inappropriate relationships with students, and inappropriate behavior in classes. Some of the specific comments include:

  • The professor telling a student “Your shirt is low cut, so you will get a good grade.”
  • A claim that the professor threatened students working in his lab by saying “you will never be able to get into grad school without my recommendation.”
  • A claim that the professor kept "folders with pictures of students that he downloaded from Facebook and other social networks on his desktop."

The petition says many of the behaviors are still taking place today.

The University's statement in full is posted below:

“Niagara University’s foremost responsibility is always the safety and well-being of its students.  We are aware of the posts, but the university does not comment on matters related to personnel issues and those involving student privacy.  However, we are investigating the current allegations.”

“The university has a process for responding to student concerns pertaining to faculty, whether these be brought forward through the course evaluation process, in writing, or in person.”

“With regard to Title IX complaints, Niagara University follows all guidelines as determined by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), and in most cases goes beyond what is required.”

“It is our responsibility to assure that students and employees have equal protection under the law and that they are given due process.”

“We will always work to insure that justice is served for all individuals who are part of the Niagara University community.”