2 Professors Explain Why They Resigned From U. of Missouri at Kansas City

August 19, 2008

Two tenured professors accused of sexual harassment say they resigned from the University of Missouri at Kansas City because its protracted investigations have taken a toll on them and their families, but they insist that their decision to quit is not an admission of wrongdoing, The Kansas City Star reported today.

The two psychology professors, C. Keith Haddock and Walker S. Carlos Poston II, agreed to resign last week rather than face tenure-revocation and dismissal proceedings, but denied claims that they created a hostile atmosphere in the lab they managed by making sexually explicit jokes and groping female colleagues.

“I did not resign because I was guilty of anything,” Mr. Poston told the newspaper. “I resigned because I was told that was the only way to get a letter that says I didn’t do it.”

Complaints filed in 2005 by a university faculty member and a former graduate student resulted in two internal investigations. Last year the university paid $1.1-million to settle a sexual-harassment lawsuit stemming from those complaints.

According to the Star, Mr. Poston and Mr. Haddock’s lawyer has unsuccessfully sought copies of the full findings of the second investigation, which the university’s director of affirmative action described as “inconclusive” because of “significantly conflicting testimony among the witnesses.” —Paula Wasley