The public liberal arts university in Pennsylvania has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former student. In his federal lawsuit, Cameron Aulner, a 2009 graduate of Edinboro had alleged that William Chandler, a Communication and Media Studies professor had made suggestive comments in class and asked him on a date in 2008. Aulner alleged in his lawsuit that the university failed to take action despite his complaints to the Ombuds and other administrators. Edinboro reportedly paid $495,000 in the settlement.
The operative complaint in the lawsuit named as defendants University President Jeremy Brown; Janet Dean, Associate VP of Human Resources; Terry Warburton, Chair of the Communications and Media Studies Department; and Valerie Hayes, Director of Social Equity and Ombudsperson. (Chandler was dropped from the lawsuit after he committed suicide in December 2009.) The student, Aulner, alleged that he complained at least twice to Hayes, although it was not clear whether that was in her capacity as Director of Social Equity or as Ombuds. Nonetheless, Aulner said that Hayes told him in a letter the university would take steps to correct the situation with Chandler, but that the harassment persisted. In court records, Edinboro admitted that administrators had investigated some of the claims made against Chandler, but denied that the school's retention of the professor violated Aulner's rights. (Original USDC Complaint; Edinboro Spectator; Go Erie News.)
Aulner, who is paraplegic, gained notoriety in his hometown last October when he tackled a suspected child molester fleeing a crime. (Denver Post.)