SCSU response to Chevan case raises questions.

By David F. Pendrys

(Federal case documents: Document107-Exhibits Document66-SCSUetalAnswer Document59-ChevanAnswer Document56-WylerAmendedComplaint5 Document1-WylerComplaint Documen108-WylerFacts)

As campuses all over the country face scrutiny for how they handle sexual assault and sexual harassment, one case has gained less attention (though it is about harassment and not about assault). In 2011, Wendy Wyler was sexually harassed by her professor David Chevan at Southern Connecticut State University. Chevan was found to have violated the school’s sexual harassment policy and he was punished with a week’s suspension. Wyler did not accept this and sued Chevan, SCSU, CSUS (CT’s state university system), SCSU’s interim President at the time of the harassment, Stanley Battle, and SCSU’s Chair of Music at the time of the harassment, Jonathan Irving.

I am interested in this case since the punishment seems minimal compared to the apparent pain inflicted on Ms. Wyler. Unlike some cases where there is a dispute over whether any offense was committed at all. Chevan and SCSU both admit he broke the sexual harassment policy, though clearly the debate is over degree. I consulted the actual case documents filed in U.S. District Court. (Wyler v. Connecticut State University System, Southern Connecticut State University, David Chevan, Stanley Battle, and Jonathan Irving is listed as Case 3:12-cv-00097-RNC.) I believe Wyler settled with Chevan, but that the case against the rest of the defendants including especially SCSU and CSUS is going forward at some point. Whether the case goes forward or not, there is already facts that have been admitted by Chevan and SCSU that are troubling.

I have tried to be fair to both parties. I believe I am biased against Chevan and SCSU though. However I have tried to include key parts of the defense’s position as well as facts that back up their side in fairness to everyone. I do personally believe that something is not right here. That it should not be possible for any form of sexual harassment to be punished with so little especially if it’s between a professor and a student. Especially given the responses Chevan gave to an SCSU’s investigator.

I am not a lawyer but I have tried to summarize the case information in a variety of documents. I have put at the top the short version, and then below that is a much longer detailed version. Also attached to this blog post is the many relevant case documents. Though these are not all of them, but I believe them to be the most relevant. (Note: All page numbers referred to are the PDF page numbers as opposed to the printed page numbers. Some pages of these documents have been removed, presumably sealed.)

Short Version (A more point by point account with citation is in the long version.)

There are actually multiple accusations brought by Wendy Wyler against Professor David Chevan, and there is also the question of how the university responded. But to focus on known information, on March 9th, 2011, Professor Chevan invited Wyler to get coffee. They headed up to a storage closet and entered, the door was closed. Wyler argues, among her complaints, that Chevan sexually harassed her in that storage closet and blocked the door preventing her exit for a time before they both left minutes later. This is in addition to other comments Chevan made to Wyler prior to the closet. (Wyler’s original complaint to SCSU’s administration is available if you wish to read it. (Page 89-92, Document 107) Her lawsuit complaint is here (Document 56) )

A university investigation into this and other accusations said that “the information gathered does not indicate that he actually asked Ms. Wyler to have a sexual or physically intimate relationship with him, but it does suggest that he did engage in behavior that lead to an emotionally intimate relationship with his student. In addition, his suggestive comments and actions, by his own admission, could be and were interpreted as sexually inappropriate and as crossing the boundaries of the student-teacher relationship. Such sexually suggestive behavior has resulted in emotional and psychological distress to Ms. Wyler to the extent where she found It necessary to abandon her academic objectives and withdraw from two courses taught by Dr. Chevan. (Page 176-177, Document 107) [Emphasis Mine]

The investigator continued…

It Is not necessary to determine whether Dr. Chevan’s intent was to arrive at a sexual or physically Intimate relationship with his student. There is sufficient Information to show that Dr. Chevan’s conduct had the purpose or effect of unreasonably Interfering with work or academic performance or creating and Intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment for Ms. Wyler. His conduct was persistent and pervasive and was reasonably perceived as offensive or hostile to constitute the type of sexual harassment referred to. as “hostile environment”. (Page 178, Document 107) [Emphasis Mine]

Chevan was found by SCSU to have committed harassment and violated their policies. His punishment however was 5 days suspension. Staff charged with determining his suspension said that a range from suspension to termination was considered, but that a “severe suspension” for a first offense was considered at 10-20 days. Also, the faculty union argued that the original suggestion of 10 days was too much, and that even 5 days was too much since Chevan had cooperated, admitted wrongdoing and sought counseling. Chevan also was told if he did not commit another act in the next 24 months, the notation of this punishment would be removed from his file. (Bailey deposition, Mazza deposition, Document 107)

Wyler withdrew from classes Chevan taught and received reimbursement from SCSU. She eventually would graduate. Chevan remains employed at the University.

To go into a little more detail in this “the short version” After Wyler complained to SCSU administration, Ernest Marquez was charged with investigating. He wrote down Chevan’s responses during his investigation. Most of these are exact quotes. (Page 176-177, Document 107)

Ms. Wyler stated that following the Mardi Gras concert on March 9th Dr. Chevan stopped her outside of Earl Hall and during a conversation made the following comments: “there is something between us, some kind of chemistry” and “I’m a sensual person”. Ms. Wyler told him that he was misinterpreting her to which he replied “No I’m not” and “If I wasn’t your professor and you my student, things could be different”. He also said “my only mistress is music”. Chevan was asked if he made those statements and he answered. “Yes, but they were taken out of context”.

Ms. Wyler stated that she received an email from Dr. Chevan asking her to stop by his office and she did. During more than an hour in the office, the conversation turned intimate. Dr. Chevan told Ms. Wyler about an affair he had had with a student many years ago that caused him a lot of stress but that she, Ms. Wyler, was giving rise to those thoughts in him again and that he could see himself in that situation again with her. He then added “but what would you want with a fifty year old?”

Chevan, was asked if he said that and replied: “lt was a misinterpretation and I do not want to discuss the conversation, but It was not meant that way”.”

Ms. Wyler further stated that during that same conversation Dr. Chevan complimented her good looks. Dr. Chevan replied “that is possible”.”

Marquez goes on to recount Wyler’s story to Chevan that Wyler said Chevan asked her to go with him to coffee, and lead her to the music storage room. When she said she wasn’t going in, he said he could trust her. Once she went in he closed the door and blocked the exit saying “remember that affair I told you about? If anything were to happen between us It would happen right now”. When she told him no, he asked if she was sure and then opened the door.

Chevan denies saying “remember that affair I told you about? If anything were to happen between us It would happen right now” but refused to say what was discussed. When asked why he took her to the closet he said “I didn’t want her to be seen with me”. When asked why not he refused to answer. He also refused to explain why he chose the closet when he could have had a private conversation with the student in his office.

Chevan stated that they were in the closet for less than one minute and that he asked Ms. Wyler a couple of questions that he does not want to reveal. He stated that the questions were of the nature that could have been misinterpreted and were. Chevan stated that while he did not solicit sex, he feels that at some level he crossed boundaries that he should not have crossed. Dr. Chevan admitted having been Involved n an emotional relationship with a student at another college in 1987 that lead to a sexual relationship.” [Chevan apparently denies the affair was with a student at a later interview.]

Ms. Wyler further stated that after the meeting in the closet and back at rehearsal, Dr. Chevan told the ensemble that the song, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, was dedicated to Ms. Wyler, again singling her out which made her feel extremely uncomfortable. Chevan stated during the interview that he had simply assigned the solo. to Ms. Wyler.

Chevan stated that he was not trying to become emotionally Intimate with Ms. Wyler, but only acting as a therapist/counselor. When asked why he thought that Ms. Wyler had filed the complaint he stated “I’m a very good teacher, but a very bad therapist/counselor. Some of the things I said and did such as sharing my own life, are things I never should have done.”

Marquez went onto say another student, Ms. Megan Coyne, had provided a written statement regarding similar experiences she had with Chevan. “In the statement she asserts that he gradually assumed a counselor role for her in a time of need but later his demeanor seemed to take a less professional and platonic nature. He began to make more physical contact than was comfortable for her, such as touching her knee and holding hands as well as making blatantly suggestive comments. The two-page statement reveals a similar pattern of behavior by Dr. Chevan as that experienced by Ms. Wyler. Dr. Chevan, when informed that another student had come forward with similar allegations he seemed to know who it was and gave me her name. When asked why he thought that Ms. Coyne would have come forward he stated, “I also transgressed boundaries with Ms. Coyne but not in the same degree and when she heard about Ms. Wyler’s complaint she must have felt like she needed to come forward.”

Chevan was asked again later on about the context of his discussion with Wyler. Investigators summarized his response as wanting to protect things Wyler told him in confidence and he doesn’t want to share the information. (Page 201, Document 107) As to why he took her to the storage room, Chevan said he needed to ask Wyler a question, his office was in a central place, he kept his door open, and his window open facing a courtyard. He said things Wyler was sharing things confusing and upsetting to him and he needed a place that would not embarrass her. That using the storage room was a mistake. He said he did not block the door. He says he doesn’t remember saying “If anything were to happen…” A SCSU document is confusing saying Chevan did “not recall telling her about the affair but not in the closet.” It’s unclear whether he is saying he told her about the affair, or not, and where. Chevan also refused to say what the question was that he would have asked. (Page 201, Document 107)

He went on to say that after they left closet, they went to get coffee, went back to his office… was trying to explain she could trust him. “Committed this indiscretion and would never do It again. Sharing that was very upsetting to her. Indiscretion was in 1987 started at Southern in 1993.” He also said he had never had an affair with one of his students. (Page 201, Document 107) This contradicts, or possibly clarifies what he told investigators initially. It appears he told Wyler about an affair at an earlier time.

When asked if he could see himself engaging in those behaviors by investigators he responded. Not exactly what I said. Trying to explain to her that the world is not black and white. It is grey. Could find someone attractive but not carry it through. Do not think It was appropriate to say that to a student. Thought it was crazy. cannot tell you how sorry I am for this.” (Page 201, Document 107)

So in the short version it is seen what Chevan is charged with, though that is one of Wyler’s complaints, how he defended his actions, and what SCSU found as facts, and how they punished him.

The Long Version

Wyler’s original complaint to SCSU’s administration is available if you wish to read it. (Page 89-92, Document 107) Also is Wyler’s exchange with then Department Head Irving who gave a candid less than optimistic view of what Chevan may be facing and said “Welcome to Academia!” flippantly when asked about the situation. (Page 96-98, Document 107)

The Lawsuit Filed by Ms. Wyler

The complaints Ms. Wyler made in court were amended several times. The last amended complaint came in March 14, 2013 I believe. (Document 56) The major accusation is in point 20 (posted here)

W1

W2

In points 22 & 23 more was charged, that SCSU’s Office of Diversity and Equity Programs (ODEP) “found that Defendant Chevan violated Defendant University’s Discrimination Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy, and had created an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment.” And that another student had been propositioned by Chevan. And in point 24 the complaint noted “During the course of the ODEP investigation, Defendant Chevan admitted to making numerous comments to Plaintiff, including his admission that he “transgressed boundaries” with Plaintiff, as well as the other student who came forward.”

Wyler also went onto criticize the University’s Actions basically arguing they were given the ODEP report, but the punishment was not serious and there was indifference. (Points 26-34, Document 56) Wyler also argues the university violated Title IX (Point 42, Document 56) [Emphasis mine.] Wyler also directly charged Chevan with trapping her in a storage room. (Points 63-66, Document 56) She would bring accusations individually at Chevan, Then President Battle, and Professor Irving that the situation was not remedied within the document as well. After all these charges, in addition to a request for damages she asked the court to issue a “permanent injunction enjoining Defendant Chevan from teaching upon any State University Campus, and from entering upon or remaining at any campus, in any capacity whatsoever, during any time which the Plaintiff is exercising her right to pursue an education in the State University System.” (Document 56) Interestingly enough, in the original complaint Wyler filed she went further calling for Chevan to be fired and for all federal funding to be denied to SCSU. (Document 1).

The Response To The Lawsuit by the Defendants

Chevan essentially denied every other accusation against him in his response except in response to complaint number 24.“Defendant Chevan admits that, during the course of the ODEP investigation, he admitted that he” transgressed boundaries” with Plaintiff. Defendant Chevan denies each and every other allegation contained in Paragraph 24.” (Document 59)

CSU, SCSU, Battle and Irving’s official response was to deny much but they admitted regarding point 22 that ODE completed its investigation of the plaintiffs complaint on or about April 26, 2011; found that Chevan violated SCSU’s discrimination and sexual harassment prevention policy; and that his “conduct had the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with work or academic performance or creating and [sic] intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment for Ms. Wyler.” And to point 23 that ODE received an unsworn and unsigned written statement regarding Chevan’s alleged prior misconduct toward another student, which included suggestive remarks and inappropriate touching in Chevan’s automobile.” As well as agreeing with what Chevan had admitted himself in point 24. (Document 66)

The defendants responded with many defenses on various points, but their response to the actual allegations against them was The plaintiff cannot prevail in her Title IX claim against CSU or SCSU as they had no notice of sexual harassment by Chevan toward Wyler before the plaintiff’s complaint; took prompt, timely, reasonable and appropriate investigation and remedial action once the university received the plaintiff’s complaint; did not act intentionally in clear violation of Title IX; did not act with deliberate indifference to her complaint once it was received; acted in accordance with Title IX once it received notice of the sexual harassment by following its sexual harassment policies and procedures, conducting and concluding an investigation promptly, and taking appropriate disciplinary action; and did not bar the plaintiff from any educational opportunity or benefit.” (Document 66) [Emphasis mine.]

SCSU’s Investigation

After Wyler complained to SCSU administration, Ernest Marquez was charged with investigating. He said in his deposition.

When I questioned Chevan, he admitted that he made some, but not all, of the alleged comments to Ms. Wyler, but stated that they were taken out of context and misinterpreted. He claimed that the alleged incident in the music storage room lasted less than one minute; and, although he denied soliciting sex from Wyler, admitted that he “crossed boundaries” with her. (Page 168, Document 107)

On page 176 to 177 of Document 107, Marquez goes into detail of his entire talk with Chevan:

Ms. Wyler stated that following the Mardi Gras concert on March 9th Dr. Chevan stopped her outside of Earl Hall and during a conversation made the following comments: “there is something between us, some kind of chemistry” and “I’m a sensual person”. Ms. Wyler told him that he was misinterpreting her to which he replied”no I’m not” and “if I wasn’t your professor and you my student, things could be different”. He also said “my only mistress is music”.

Dr. Chevan, when asked by the Interviewer if he had made these statements he replied,”yes, but they were taken out of context”.

Ms. Wyler stated that she received an email from Dr. Chevan asking her to stop by his office and she did. During more than an hour in the office, the conversation turned intimate. Dr. Chevan told Ms. Wyler about an affair he had had with a student many years ago that caused him a lot of stress but that she,

Ms. Wyler, was giving rise to those thoughts in him again and that he could see himself in that situation again with her. He then added- “but what would you want with a fifty year old?” Chevan, when asked if he had had that conversation he replied:

“lt was a misinterpretation and I do not want to discuss the conversation, but it was not meant that way”.”

Ms. Wyler further stated that during that same conversation Dr. Chevan complimented her good looks.

Dr. Chevan replied “that is possible”.”

He goes on to recount that Wyler said Chevan asked her to go with him to coffee, and lead her to the music storage room. When she said she wasn’t going in, he said he could trust her. Once she went in he closed the door and blocked the exit saying “remember that affair I told you about? If anything were to happen between us It would happen right now”. When she told him no, he asked if she was sure and then opened the door.

Chevan denies saying “remember that affair I told you about? If anything were to happen between us It would happen right now” but refused to say what was discussed. When asked why he took her to the closet he said “I didn’t want her to be seen with me”. When asked why not he refused to answer. He also refused to explain why he chose the closet when he could have had a private conversation with the student in his office.

Chevan stated that they were in the closet for less than one minute and that he asked Ms. Wyler a couple of questions that he does not want to reveal. He stated that the questions were of the nature that could have been misinterpreted and were. Chevan stated that while he did not solicit sex, he feels that at some level he crossed boundaries that he should not have crossed. Dr. Chevan admitted having been Involved in an emotional relationship with a student at another college in 1987 that lead to a sexual relationship.

Ms. Wyler further stated that after the meeting in the closet and back at rehearsal, Dr. Chevan told the ensemble that the song, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, was dedicated to Ms. Wyler, again singling her out which made her feel extremely uncomfortable. Chevan stated during the interview that he had simply assigned the solo. to Ms. Wyler.

Chevan stated that he was not trying to become emotionally Intimate with Ms. Wyler, but only acting as a therapist/counselor. When asked why he thought that Ms. Wyler had filed the complaint he stated “I’m a very good teacher, but a very bad therapist/counselor. Some of the things I said and did such as sharing my own life, are things I never should have done.”

Marquez went onto say another student Ms. Megan Coyne had provided a written statement regarding similar experiences she had with Chevan. “In the statement she asserts that he gradually assumed a counselor role for her in a time of need but later his demeanor seemed to take a less professional and platonic nature. He began to make more physical contact than was comfortable for her, such as touching her knee and holding hands as well as making blatantly suggestive comments. The two-page statement reveals a similar pattern of behavior by Dr. Chevan as that experienced by Ms. Wyler. Dr. Chevan, when Informed that another student had come forward with similar allegations he seemed to know who It was and gave me her name. When asked why he thought that Ms. Coyne would have come forward he stated,”I also transgressed boundaries with Ms. Coyne but not in the same degree and when she heard about Ms. Wyler’s complaint she must have felt like she needed to come forward.”

Based on all that Marquez reported that:

Dr. Chevan claims that he did not solicit sex from Ms. Wyler and that he did not intend on having a sexual relationship with her. The information gathered does not indicate that he actually asked Ms. Wyler to have a sexual or physically intimate relationship with him, but It does suggest that he did engage in behavior that lead to an emotionally intimate relationship with his student. In addition, his suggestive comments and actions, by his own admission, could be and were Interpreted as sexually inappropriate and as crossing the boundaries of the student-teacher relationship. Such sexually suggestive behavior has resulted in emotional and psychological distress to Ms. Wyler to the extent where she found It necessary to abandon her academic objectives and withdraw from two courses taught by Dr. Chevan. (Page 176-177, Document 107)

Which led the investigator to conclude:

It Is not necessary to determine whether Dr. Chevan’s Intent was to arrive at a sexual or physically intimate relationship with his student. There Is sufficient information to show that Dr. Chevan’s conduct had the purpose or effect of unreasonably Interfering with work or academic performance or creating and Intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment for Ms. Wyler. His conduct was persistent and pervasive and was reasonably perceived as offensive or hostile to constitute the type ofsexual harassment referred to. as “hostile environment”. (See Definition of Sexual Harassment Section (c)). (Page 178, Document 107)

During her deposition, Diana Mazza, SCSU’s head of labor relations, described her own followup said she talked to Wyler, couldn’t find Coyne, and talked to two other students Wyler suggested talking to but there was no pertinent information it seems. (Page 218-219, Document 107)) She also talked to a former Fine Arts Dean about whether there was any possible complaints against Chevan. The Dean said no, but Mazza did not talk to any past department chairs about whether this might have happened before. (Page 224, Document 107) Mazza was asked if there was zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment. She said she thought so but the term was not used. (Though this is vague, she may have been just saying there was a policy, not saying what it entailed) (Page 229-230, Document 107)

The investigators asked Chevan at a later time about a few questions (Page 201, Document 107) He was apparently asked (though my reading of it could be wrong) about why he wouldn’t answer about what the conversation with Wyler entailed. The investigator wrote down his response as being summarized as:

David did not want to reveal Information about the larger context because student had confided many personal things to him. Still does not feel comfortable breaking that confidence. Makes for an inaccurate narrative. Still does not want to share that information.” (Page 201, Document 107)

Regarding why he took Wyler to the storage room. The investigators summarized Chevan’s response as:

[Chevan] needs to ask her the question. My office in Earl Hall Is a central place, keep my door wide open. Office faces courtyard, keep my window open. Things that Ms. Wyler was sharing with me confused and upset me. Needed a place so I would not embarrass her. It was a mistake. She would not be placed Into embarrassment. In the room for a short time, less than a minute. Was not in front of door to block her. Disagree with Implication of that word. Not sure If she said she does not want to go in. Did not force her into closet, no physical contact. Don’t remember saying “If anything were to happen”. Do not recall telling her about the affair but not in the closet. (This is how the actual document reads) Intention to ask her a specific question but do not want to share that question. Pointed to some things she shared with me. Confused by some things she shared with me.” (Page 201, Document 107)

He went on to say that after they left closet, they went to get coffee, went back to his office…that he was trying to explain she could trust him. “Committed this Indiscretion and would never do It again. Sharing that was very upsetting to her. Indiscretion was in 1987 started at southern in 1993.” He also said he had never had an affair with one of his students. (Page 201, Document 107). My take is that This contradicts, or possibly clarifies what he told investigators initially. It appears he told Wyler about an affair at an earlier time.

When asked if he could see himself engaging in those behaviors Chevan responded…

Not exactly what I said. Trying to explain to her that the world Is not black and white. It is grey. Could find someone attractive but not carry It through. Do not think It was appropriate to say that to a student. Thought it was crazy. cannot tell you how sorry I am for this.” (Page 201, Document 107)

These answers raise some troubling questions. Just what was going on? Though even more troubling is that SCSU did find him to have violated their policies, and the punishment that followed seems to be so small as to not even matter.

Punishment

SCSU’s head of human resources Jaye Bailey spoke about the decision on punishment in her deposition. Saying that Mazza investigated, that the Union got involved and a one week suspension was agreed on and reported to Dr. Battle who accepted it. (Page 20, Document 107) Bailey’s deposition went on to say that Ms. Mazza recommended a longer suspension than a week, but that she didn’t formally recommend one. However, Bailey later said that she didn’t recall if Mazza told her there should be a longer time. Pressed about the deal accepted with the union, she said the settlement was not ideal. She said they communicated to the interim President [Battle] the settlement agreement but not their own disciplinary recommendations.(Page 20-23, Document 107) Added to this was a provision that if Chevan did not violate the university’s sexual harassment policy after 24 months the note about his punishment would be removed from his personnel file. (Page 35, Document 107)) When former interim President Battle was asked what he felt when he received the report he noted that the investigation seemed thorough and it was a first offense. (Page 59, Document 107)

Mazza indicated she discussed with others suspension and termination as a possible punishment. But she indicated that termination was a long process, but also mentioned that due to no prior offenses a “severe suspension” was discussed. Which is revealed to be 10 to 20 days. When asked by the attorney if this was considered severe. Mazza replied it was for a first time offense. (Page 226-228, Document 107) Mazza later said the union thought ten days was too extreme, in fact that they thought five days was too extreme. The union justified this because he had cooperated fully, had no prior record, and no previous discipline. That he had admitted to transgressing boundaries with his students, that he is seeking counseling and getting help.(Page 230-231, Document 107) Mazza was asked if she made a recommendation to her supervisor [Bailey] and she said suspension up until termination. She later said in consultation with her supervisor ten days became the punishment based on a variety of factors. (Page 229, Document 107)

Mazza who headed labor relations, said After negotiations with Professor Chevan’s union representatives, I recommended a settlement that the union would not oppose or grieve: that Professor Chevan be suspended without pay for five days; and that the agreement would be placed and remain in his personnel file; and removed after 24 months, only if he did not engage in further conduct violative of the university’s discrimination and sexual harassment policy.” (Page 199, Document 107)

Stipulated Facts

The defense put forth a variety of “facts” as outlined in Document 108 or in other words “Hereby set forth the following material facts about which there are no genuine issues to be tried” (These seem to be what the defense accepts as true from various testimony including Wyler’s deposition. I’m not a lawyer so please correct me if I got this wrong. Clearly some of these stated positions are contrary to what the plaintiff said so I doubt the plaintiff’s side would accept all of them. Presumably if the Plaintiff put any of these forward as facts, defense won’t disagree.) The following are paraphrased though many draw directly from the text.

At some point during the spring 2011 semester Chevan made some inappropriate comments to Wyler in a music storage room. (Point 29, Document 108) Chevan was not violent and did not touch Wyler in the music storage room. (Point 30, Document 108) After talking to Wyler for ten minutes or less, Chevan opened the door and they both walked out of the room. (Point 30, Document 108) Chevan admitted to [the investigator] Marquez that he made some, but not all, of the alleged comments to the plaintiff; but stated that they were taken out of context and misinterpreted. (Point 48, Document 108) Chevan admitted that his comments to Wyler “transgressed boundaries,”but stated that Wyler’s interpretation was a “horrendous misunderstanding of [his] intent.” (Point 83, Document 108)

Chevan claimed that the incident in the storage room lasted less than one minute. (Point 49, Document 108) Chevan denied soliciting sex from Wyler at any time. (Point 50, Document 108) Music Department Head Irving told an investigator, Diana Mazza, he had never heard of Chevan sexually harassing a student before Wyler came forward. (Point 73, Document 108) Two music students also told Mazza that they had never heard of Chevan sexually harassing a student. (Point 74, Document 108) During his interview, Chevan admitted complimenting Wyler on her appearance, but said he complimented her, as well as other male and female students, to build their confidence for performances. (Point 78, Document 108) Chevan denied that his compliments were sexual or that he ever asked the plaintiff to have a sexual relationship or any relationship outside of school. (Point 79, Document 108) Chevan denied that giving Wyler a featured instrumental role had any sexual connotation. (Point 80, Document 108) During Mazza’s interview, Chevan denied telling Wyler he was having trouble with his marriage. (Point 82, Document 108) Chevan also denied blocking the exit door to the storage room and stated that he and Wyler were in the storage room talking for less than a minute. (Point 84, Document 108)

This of course is a much longer recounting of events. It raises even further questions. It appeared that in addition to what he was found to have done with Wyler Chevan admitted to transgressing with Ms. Coyne but she did not provide that information directly. It appears that the punishments in place at SCSU are very minor. it also raises questions as to why suspension through termination can be discussed as punishments, but then a relatively minor penalty can be seen as “severe.” If a Professor at SCSU can bring a student into a closet and then admit to doing something wrong and receive so little punishment. What would prevent another professor from doing the same?

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