Metropolitan State College of Denver is investigating whether or not a political science professor harassed and then discriminated against a student because the student, Rick Foo, is straight. Foo claims that the professor, who has not been named, sexually harassed him. According to Foo “In the way that he was engaging conversation with me, the way he was looking at me.”
Foo then claims that he submitted an essay that he thought would clear things up. Foo stated “I was describing my own sexual orientation, which I said I was straight, and after I handed that paper in and whatnot, I started to get treated differently.” And then he claims that, after that, “It became a straight-bashing fest.”
Foo also claims that he was discriminated against because of his disability. Foo, who served in the Army, claims that he has nerve damage in his arm and needed extensions on his essays. It should be noted that professors only have to make reasonable accommodations when it comes to disabilities, but only so long as there is submitted documentation of the disability.
According to Dr. Robert Hazan, the department’s head, the professor feels “devastated and outraged” by the allegations. Hazan stated “[He] is an excellent instructor. This impression has been corroborated by many students positively affected by his pedagogy.”
Foo received an “F” in the course and claims that the professor was so difficult that, of the fifteen students who started the class, only three completed it. MSCD has not confirmed how many people were enrolled in the class. It should be noted that most colleges do not punish professors for how many students drop from their classes part way through. Foo contends that he will not stop until the professor is terminated.
Cathy Lucas, the spokesperson for MSCD, stated that “Because we’re now in the middle of investigating the student’s claims we cannot discuss any element of his accusations. Once this investigation is concluded, we can discuss the findings with the student’s consent.”
Lucas also provided The Huffington Post with the college’s grievance form which, presumably, Foo submitted against the professor in question. It states that, if the accusation turns out to be false, Foo “may be subject to disciplinary action within the College, and/or external legal action from those falsely accused.”
The fact that Foo did not report any sexual harassment prior to receiving an “F” in the class, and did not drop the course raises several questions regarding the legitimacy of these charges.