All U. of Iowa Professors Told to Undergo Training to Avoid Sexual Harassment

August 13, 2008

The University of Iowa ordered all professors and staff members today to undergo training in how to avoid sexual harassment after a political-science professor at the university was charged with asking four female students for sexual favors in return for better grades.

According to The Des Moines Register, the professor, Arthur H. Miller, faces criminal charges for accepting bribes based on allegations that he told the female students he would give them A’s if they would expose their breasts and allow him to fondle them. As part of the criminal investigation, the university police seized e-mail messages from Mr. Miller’s computer in which he offered the quid pro quo. At least some of the students, the article said, granted the sexual favors.

The professor, who is 66 and has been at Iowa since 1985, also faces an investigation by the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. Both investigations are continuing, but according to another article in the Register, Sally Mason, the university’s president, sent an e-mail message to all faculty and staff members saying Iowa would make sexual-harassment training universal and mandatory. Until now, only supervisors have been required to undergo such training.

“While every person is entitled to the presumption of innocence,” Ms. Mason said in the message, “I want to state strongly and unequivocally that such conduct will not be tolerated.”

Mr. Miller referred the Des Moines newspaper to his lawyer, who did not return the paper’s call. The professor is on leave pending the investigation by the equal-opportunity office. —Robin Wilson