CU-Boulder reaches settlement for sexual harassment claim

Chancellor also announces course of action taken with members of philosophy department
By Staff

CU-Boulder last week announced that it has reached a settlement of $825,000 with a female graduate student who claimed to have been retaliated against by a tenured male philosophy professor. In a video statement released Thursday, Aug. 7, CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano called the settlement “the right thing to do,” and noted that it is part of an ongoing course of action to make improvements regarding sexual misconduct and other Title IX issues on the campus.

The woman, who is continuing her studies in the philosophy department as a Ph.D. student, filed a sexual misconduct complaint against a male doctoral student regarding behavior at an off-campus party in 2012; the male student later became an instructor in the department. Because of her complaint, she claimed, she was retaliated against by a tenured faculty member of CU-Boulder’s philosophy department.

The woman’s notice of intent to sue CU filed last month claims that the retaliation was retribution for her sexual misconduct complaint.

DiStefano said in a video message to the campus that CU-Boulder took strong actions in the case, declining to renew the instructor’s contract and filing a notice of intent to dismiss the tenured faculty member from CU-Boulder.

“This action triggers a Regents-mandated process, which allows any tenured faculty member who faces dismissal to request a hearing. Those confidential proceedings are commencing,” he said.

“A young woman’s life was turned upside down and her education suffered serious interruptions. I wanted to ensure we responded quickly to help her set her life back on course,” DiStefano said. “We settled her claim because it was the right thing to do.”

He added that he was aware that the vast majority of CU-Boulder’s faculty “embrace the policies regarding Title IX issues,” but issued a strong call to action in moving ahead on Title IX issues.

“Let there be no misunderstanding: My goal is to change the culture here on campus for good. I expect CU-Boulder’s faculty, staff and students to actively join in this effort, taking personal responsibility for creating a safe and inclusive campus,” DiStefano said.

Statements from DiStefano and representatives of the female student are posted here.

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