The University’s Department of Public Safety closed its case regarding flyers posted last week throughout Central Campus with a photo of and warnings about an English lecturer. The flyers, discovered last Thursday, accused the lecturer, who also teaches in the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program, of knowingly transmitting sexual diseases to students.
DPS and the University were conducting separate investigations, but they have both stopped. DPS looked into who posted the harassing flyers, while the University investigated the accusations made on the flyer.
“It’s not being investigated as a criminal matter. It appears to be a one-time incident. We have closed the case,” said Lt. Robert Neumann, head of criminal investigations for DPS.
Neumann said if the postings continue, it could develop into a more serious case and DPS would resume investigations.
“If somebody engaged in a pattern of harassing conduct against somebody, then it could fit the definition of stalking. But at this time, that is not what we have,” Neumann said, in reference to the flyers.
University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said the University cannot continue investigation of the case because no students have come forward and the flyers were posted anonymously.
“Right now we do not have a complaint from a student besides for the anonymous flyers. That does not give us the opportunity to conduct a formal investigation,” Peterson said.
Unless another student complains of harassment, the University will not investigate the incident further, Peterson added.
“There’s really no basis on which to pursue it at this time,” she said.
Although the accusations are not being investigated at the time, one student in the lecturer’s class who wished to remain anonymous said the flyers haven’t made her more concerned though they did starltle her. She saw the flyers posted around her instructor’s classroom in Alice Lloyd Residence Hall.
“Obviously now that this has happened you’re going to think twice about being in his class, just like you’re going to think about being in any male’s classroom. But he doesn’t worry me in particular,” the student said.
But the student, an LSA freshman, said she had personally not encountered any uncomfortable situation with the lecturer, nor had she heard of any similar encounters with other students.
“The overall opinion is being surprised. Now everyone thinks about it in class, but we’re not uncomfortable now. You still think about it in the back of your mind,” she said.
Peterson said if a student feels that they need guidance about a possible harassment, or wishes to file a report, they can do so anonymously at several locations throughout the University.
One resource for students is the Office of Institutional Equity, a part of the University’s Human Resources and Affirmative Action division, which can provide anonymous assistance to potential victims of sexual harassment. The office — which was created by a recent merger of the Sexual Harassment Policy Office and the Office for a Multicultural Community — prepares reports and conducts investigations into reported cases of harassment.
Another resource, the Sexual Assault and Prevention Awareness Center, also assists victims and offers advice.
“If a student feels they have a concern, they should definitely come forward to one of those offices,” Peterson said.