Andrew Escobedo, an English department faculty member who was placed on leave in March 2016 after being accused of sexually assaulting multiple graduate students, has requested a faculty hearing.
The hearing was requested via an email to Interim President David Descutner on Monday. This was in response to Descutner’s March 2 notice to Escobedo expressing that the university planned to move forward with Escobedo’s dismissal. Following this notice, Escobedo had a 30-day period in which to request a hearing; making the day Escobedo’s email was sent the last possible day he could have done so.
Before the decision to pursue Escobedo’s dismissal was made, tenured English department faculty members met in February to vote by secret ballot on how they felt the situation should be handled. According to a letter from History Chairperson Katherine Jellison, who supervised the vote at the request of English Department Chair Joseph McLaughlin, 14 faculty members voted in favor of moving forward with a hearing process, eight voted against, and two faculty members, one of whom was not able to attend the meeting, abstained from voting.
Although no faculty members present were willing to disclose how they voted, McLaughlin said in an email that these types of secret votes are common when dealing with personnel matters and that they “allow people to vote their conscience and not be swayed by peer pressure or potential retaliation.”
According to the faculty handbook, from the day that the hearing was requested, Escobedo has 60 days to prepare a defense. At the time of publication, the exact date of the hearing had not yet been decided.