California Judge Orders Community College to Reinstate Fired Instructor

September 02, 2008

A California judge has overturned the 2006 firing of a Grossmont College instructor who allegedly offered a student a passing grade if she agreed to show him her bra, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Saturday.

The judge, Charles R. Hayes of the Superior Court for San Diego County, ordered the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District to reinstate Timothy Cliffe, a physical-geography instructor. In his decision, Judge Hayes overruled another judge who had found that Mr. Cliffe had engaged in “immoral conduct.”

According to a spokeswoman for the district, it has not decided whether it will appeal the latest ruling.

In his ruling, Judge Hayes questioned the validity of the claims made by the student, Yu Yu Chen, a native of Taiwan. He said Ms. Chen’s limited English skills might have caused a misunderstanding. He also noted that Mr. Cliffe had once caught the student cheating on a test.

The alleged incident occurred when Ms. Chen asked Mr. Cliffe to change her grade from an F to a C.

Mr. Cliffe has admitted making a sarcastic comment that likened course grades to bra sizes, but has denied seeking sexual favors. —Allie Grasgreen