A gay English professor has been fired after a sexual harassment hearing allegedly found he told a male student he was resisting urges to “ride” him academically.
The University of California - Riverside Board of Regents terminated the employment of Rob Latham, a tenured English professor, last month after a male student issued a formal complaint to staff, reports Gay Star News
The hearing followed the submission of evidence, which alleged verbal harassment had taken place between the teacher and student, as well as the distribution of drugs by Latham.
“You’re an intellectual thoroughbred, kiddo, and I’ve mentored very few of those in my career,” Latham had allegedly said.
“I have to resist the impulse to ride you too hard too soon. If you’ll forgive the equine metaphor.”
Contesting the charges, Latham also denied supplying drugs to students, and said the incident itself should have been resolved through informal mediation.
The professor also accused the board of homophobia in an online blog post on Academe
, a blog for academics. “Suffice to say it is transparently obvious that, if a heterosexual man had made the exact same statement, no lewd implication would ever have been inferred,” he wrote.
“The rhetoric of UCR’s charging documents and administration counsel’s briefs was rife with homophobic language and assumptions, including the myth that gay men are always “on the make,” unable to relate to other males in any way except sexually.”
The English department where Latham was stationed has since published a statement, standing by the decision of the university.
“We wish to go on record in support of the decision of the University of California Board of Regents, which Dr Latham references in emails to us,” they said.
“We stand with our graduate students, and those who came forward, filed complaints and supported each other through this difficult process.
“We are committed to moving forward with our students, and to working together to repair any and all harm done to our community and to our campus.”
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