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Johns Hopkins Terminates Tenured Faculty for Sexual Misconduct


Bowing down to sustained pressure from students, faculty and community members, Johns Hopkins University has finally fired a tenured professor over sexual misconduct, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The Board of Trustees revoked tenure and terminated services of anthropology professor Juan Obarrio after an internal investigation found him guilty of violating school’s sexual misconduct policy.

Obarrio is accused of sexually assaulting a visiting graduate student in a Baltimore bar in May 2018, which was witnessed by anthropology graduate students Heba Islam and Marios Falaris. Both students saw professor trying to dance with the student despite her lack of interest and later grabbing her from behind with both arms and dragging her across the bar’s dance floor towards the exit, despite her protest.

“Obarrio engaged in sexual misconduct and other inappropriate behavior toward a visiting student in violation of the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy,” Beverly Wendland, dean of the arts and sciences school, wrote in a letter to the staff and students.

“The faculty conduct in this matter is deeply concerning to me, and to the School and University more broadly. We are committed to providing our students, faculty, staff, and trainees with a safe and healthy working and learning environment and take allegations of sexual harassment and learner mistreatment very seriously.”

For over a year, students have organized multiple protests to press the university leadership to take action against the professor. The students alleged the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) of diluting the case against Obarrio by terming his behavior as harassment, but not assault. It further alleged OIE of ignoring the accounts of six witnesses at the expense of Obarrio’s version of events.

Earlier this year, a group of student activists constituted #JHToo, a coalition against sexual violence at Hopkins and started a letter-writing campaign to revoke Obarrio’s tenure.

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