University Reprimands Students Who Warned Others About Philosophy Professor

Two seniors at Fordham University have been officially reprimanded by the school for violating its code of conduct after warning other students about a professor who in the past had complaints of sexual harassment and unprofessional conduct against him substantiated.

The professor, William Jaworski, has since been suspended and is currently under investigation by the university.

The New York Times reports on what the students, Samantha Norman and Eliza Putnam, did, and why. Having heard about the complaints regarding Jaworski, the students decided to take action:

On the first day of class in January, they visited two of Dr. Jaworski’s Philosophical Ethics classes, taught at the university’s Lincoln Center campus, in Manhattan, before the instructor arrived. Standing in front of a white board with about two dozen students folded into desks in front of them, they delivered a warning. “We introduced ourselves and said, ‘We just want you to know that there’s a history of allegations against this professor and multiple Title IX complaints,’” Ms. Putnam said. They told the students to take care of themselves and take care of each other, they said. They were in and out in less than five minutes.

One of the students made a similar presentation to another of Professor Jaworski’s classes.

They later were contacted by the university and told they were under investigation for violating its code of conduct for “dishonesty, disorderly conduct and verbal harassment.” The investigation resulted in the charge of “dishonesty” sticking. It is unclear from the report what, in particular, the students were found to be dishonest about.

Meanwhile, Professor Jaworski’s lawyer, Andrew T. Miltonberg, has reported that his client denies the allegations against him. He also suggested, according to the Times, that

Dr. Jaworski was being targeted because “the cultural leftists are intolerant of traditional morality.” The professor had intended to teach a course on “sexuality and morality from a traditionalist perspective,” his lawyer said.

The lawyer for the students, Kent Y. Hirozawa, said:

The conspiracy of silence about sexual abuse deprives future victims of the opportunity to protect themselves… What these students did to try to break the cycle was generous and courageous, and what they told their fellow students was true. It is ironic that Fordham should punish them for ‘dishonesty.’ The only dishonesty here is Fordham’s attempt to silence them and hide the truth.

More here.

(Thanks to several readers for bringing this story to my attention.)

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