Student accuses UW-L professor of sexual misconduct

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse is re-investigating sexual misconduct allegations against one professor after student Caycee Bean demanded action via a Facebook post.

“I’m sharing this because I am extremely disappointed with UW-L’s process. This professor took a slap on the wrist and gets to walk around like he is untouchable. I feel like this matter was not important enough to be on Human Resources priority list,” Bean wrote.

Bean said in her post that a professor teaching one of her art classes offered her individual help. When Bean accepted, she says the professor took her to a paper room, locked the door, asked her to remove some clothing,  and began groping her.

Bean said the sexual assault happened during her freshman year of college. She reported it to the University’s Human Resources Department. The report was filed in the fall of 2018. Bean said the University planned an investigation for the summer of 2019 and told her they would update her on its progress. In Bean’s Facebook post, she said she never received any update from HR, leading her to contact them again requesting an update. According to a picture posted on Bean’s Facebook, HR responded saying there was a miscommunication and they had contacted the accused professor, restricting the professor from contacting Bean. Find the HR email below.

News 19 contacted UW-L for comment on the accusations. The University responded as follows.

“UW-La Crosse is committed to the mission of maintaining a safe and inclusive learning environment for every one of our students. This includes preventing sexual misconduct and promptly responding to all complaints and concerns expressed by any member of the campus community.

The University is aware that public statements have been made regarding an investigation of a faculty member. As an institution, we acknowledge the university should have been more prompt in communicating the result of this investigation to the student and regret the negative impact this had on the student.

When the complaint was received, an investigative team comprised of trained university officials promptly followed up with the student and exercised due diligence to identify and reach out to other potential witnesses. Investigators, along with the dean of the college, also met with the faculty member to share the allegations and hear the faculty member’s response.

While there was not a determination that our policies were violated in this case, we nevertheless took action to protect the student from retaliation or other disruptions to academic opportunities during the investigation. These measures will continue for the remainder of the student’s time at UWL. The university has also taken action to ensure that the faculty member and the department are engaged in ongoing efforts to maintain safe and appropriate instructor-student interactions.

Since additional information has come to  light, Chancellor Gow has directed the investigative team to re-open the case and to seek a review of the matter by the UW System attorneys to provide insights and guidance on this process and the conclusions.

We ask and encourage anyone who feels they have witnessed or experienced misconduct to report it. Confidential support is also available. Complete information can be found at: https://www.uwlax.edu/violence-prevention/learn-more/sexual-assault/.”

The University also directed that nobody from the school would take any further questions.

News 19 also reached out to the University’s Human Resources Department for a copy of the incident report filed by Bean. The department responded saying they cannot release the report while the investigation into a University employee is still open. 

According to the UW-L Police Department and the City of La Crosse Police Department, no misconduct report was filed by Bean through either department.

News 19 reached out to the professor in question but has not yet received any response.

We are in contact with Bean and her lawyer pursuing a future interview as we investigate the allegations.

Read Bean’s full Facebook post and the email she received from HR here.

Amber Meyer

Amber Meyer

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