Student Sues University of Miami, Professor Over Sexual Harassment
Ana Kono, who joined the University of Miami’s marketing Ph.D. program in 2014, claimed to experience repeated sexual harassment at the hands of marketing professor Juliano Laran.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Wednesday, accuses Laran of repeatedly harassing the plaintiff based on her sex and age and telling sexually inappropriate stories. The suit also claims that Laran threatened her with retaliation if she attempted to change her Ph.D. adviser.
“When she attempted to eliminate the problem by finding another faculty member to be her dissertation chair, her problems were further exacerbated as Dr. Laran undertook a conscious and deliberate campaign to assure that no other faculty member would agree to be her dissertation chair,” the lawsuit says.
Kono further alleged Laran of humiliating her privately by ridiculing her research proposals and referring to her as a “boring mom” in public conversations.
“This continued ridicule and humiliation by her academic mentor and research advisor became so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it negatively impacted her ability to successfully obtain the education that Plaintiff wanted and constituted a hostile environment for her to complete her academic goals,” the lawsuit reads.
In 2017, the school dismissed Kono after her dissertation proposal was rejected for not meeting program standards.
The suit also alleges the school and its board of trustees of promoting a hostile educational environment in violation of constitutional rights by not taking any action against the professor, despite being aware of his “sexual harassment of females, lack of respect for others and sexist opinions.”
Kono is seeking compensatory damages and punitive damages for unfairly excluding her from the program, causing her severe and permanent emotional, psychological, pain and suffering, depression, fear, anxieties, inability to function normally in social situations, shame, humiliation, and the inability to enjoy a normal life.