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Case Law Professor Sues Dean For Retaliating against his Reporting of Sexual Harassment
Case Western Reserve Law Professor Raymond Ku has opened a suit against the school’s dean, Lawrence Mitchell, claiming that after he reported Mitchell’s sexual harassment of a staff-member, and possibly others, he suffered retaliation. Ku not only complained of the dean’s possible sexual harassment, which he claims to have personally witnessed at a party in which the dean allegedly caressed a female staff member, but has talked with staff members about other instances, and has compiled a list of inappropriate comments. He bothered to send this information out as a flyer that asked questions about his conduct to female students and gave the alleged comment that he said of a graduate student she “wasn’t good for anything but keeping the bed warm.”
Ku is being represented by Subodh Chandra, who says that Ku “lost his position as associate dean, he was even stripped as the Director of the Center of Law, Technology of the Arts which he had been recruited at Case to Lead,” and their statement also cites pay cuts.
“Professor Ku paid a high price for doing what was both required and right—standing up for victims at great personal risk and reporting to senior university officials Dean Mitchell’s potential harassment,” Chandra said. “But retaliation is illegal and a law-school dean should know he is not above the law.”
The school replied in writing, saying, as cleveland.com reported, “This situation is categorically not an instance of retaliation. Professor Ku continues to hold a full-time, tenured faculty position at the School of Law. The lawsuit itself includes inaccuracies, as well as an inflammatory flier that has been found to be materially false. The university will have additional comment upon more thorough review of the suit and opposing counsel’s press release.”
Case Law’s Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Research Jessie Hill corroborated with this statement, denying she had ever observed Mitchell to exhibit inappropriate behavior. On the contrary, she cited the improvements he had made as a dean, saying “Dean Mitchell has worked to increase diversity and equity since he arrived at our law school. He has addressed historical pay disparities between male and female faculty, launched a dynamic Women’s Law and Leadership Initiative, and increased the proportion of women and underrepresented minorities within our recent entering classes.”
As part of Ku’s statement against Mitchell, he also noted that Mitchell made comments regarding Ku’s Chinese heritage and his conversion to Judaism, adding a personal touch to his plight.
Image source Case Western Reserve University