OU Prof Under Fire Resigns

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ATHENS — An Ohio University professor, facing termination after a string of sexual harassment cases, resigned just two weeks before a professional hearing that would have decided his fate.

Dr. Andrew Escobedo

Dr. Andrew Escobedo resigned Friday afternoon, according to a statement from the university.

“As part of his resignation, he has waived his right to a Faculty Senate hearing on the matter of de-tenuring that was scheduled to begin on Sept. 1,” a statement attributed to OU President Dr. Duane Nellis said.

Escobedo has been awaiting a hearing before the OU Faculty Senate for months since Interim President David Descutner initiated the dismissal process against him.

“The grounds for dismissal are that for an extended period of years you have engaged in a pattern of sexual advances directed at students whom you supervised, graded, or advised as well as at colleagues in your department,” Descutner wrote in the letter provided to WOUB by the university in March.

Descutner received a recommendation from former Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit to consider firing or terminating the tenure of Escobedo in February.

The process came to administration after the Office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance concluded a lengthy investigation with findings that Escobedo had been “exploiting” females who were his subordinates “by virtue of their student status or their junior employment status,” according to ECRC documents.

ECRC investigated the accusations of six different individuals claiming to be victims of Escobedo. The women accused him of actions ranging from “inappropriate touching” to sexual harassment, nonconsensual sexual conduct and hostile workplace accusations, according to previous WOUB reporting.

Women who participated in the university investigation said they were hesitant to stop Escobedo or report his alleged actions for fear of career or educational damage.

Nellis referenced the women in his statement after Escobedo’s resignation.

“Brave women and other people in our community stepped forward to bring intolerable behavior to light,” Nellis wrote. “The healing process I envision is not one that will dim this light but rather intensify our efforts to ensure our community is a safe place to learn and work.”

Throughout the investigation, Escobedo called it and the accusations in it the result of a “social justice crusade to get him fired from his job,” he told investigators.

He also discredited the women’s claims in a letter to faculty before they took a vote to recommend him for termination consideration.

Escobedo is still facing a civil rights lawsuit in federal court, filed by two women who were a part of the investigation.