Education

Graduate Student Senate asks for removal of English professor following sexual misconduct investigation

Graffiti on bathroom stall door on the 3rd floor of Baker University Center. Photo by Lindsey Curnutte.
Written by Heather Willard

Graduate Student Senate passed a resolution denouncing Andrew Escobedo, who holds a doctorate in English, in light of the sexual misconduct investigation by the Office of University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance. Senate members asked that his contract be terminated and his tenure removed.  

Escobedo is accused of sexual misconduct and harassment with as many as 14 current and former graduate students since 2003. Senate members agreed in an executive session that his behaviors were “egregious,” and a diagnosis of alcoholism does not excuse his behavior.

The Senate resolved to send a letter to university administration, writing: “We acknowledge Dr. Escobedo’s scholarly and educational value to the OHIO community; however, we are asking you to uphold our shared mission to put students and their safety first. Termination of Dr. Escobedo would send a strong message that such abusive behavior is not tolerated at Ohio University.”

Senate members also passed a resolution to ask the University to further address the needs of international and undocumented students. Below are a list of their demands:

  • For the administration to reaffirm the core values of OU
  • For the administration to update the harassment policy to include citizenship status as a protected category
  • For the University to not share any information of students, staff or faculty with law enforcement unless legally obligated
  • OU to not allow federal immigration agencies into restricted-access spaces on campus
  • OU police department to not enforce immigration law
  • That DACA students be allowed to pay in-state resident tuition
  • That the university provide a list of resources for confidential legal advice
  • For the office of the president to speak to this resolution

Senate welcomed two professors to the meeting who presented their thoughts on the needs of international and undocumented students. Louis-Georges Schwartz, who holds a doctorate in communication studies, and Ziad Abu-Rish, who holds a doctorate of history, warned about the possibility of losing federal funding, as well as other unforeseen issues that may arise like “vigilantism from hardcore racist supporters” of the current U.S. administration. However, both defended the aforementioned resolution.

“If we do not resist certain executive orders, in particular the Muslim ban, then we will be part of the country’s slide into fascism,” Schwartz said.

Senate also passed a resolution to send a letter of thanks and recognition to former President Roderick McDavis. It also announced a resolution to appoint two new members: Megan Conkle to the position of Department Representative for Public Administration and Tuba Gezer to Health and Safety Commissioner.

Senate passed a resolution to change the graduate student catalogue to give a suggestion of how to handle advisor changes to departments for graduate students.

Graduate Student Senate meets every other week at 7:30 p.m. in Walter 235. Its next meeting will be March 14.

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Heather Willard

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