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Interim President begins process of dismissal for professor accused of sexual misconduct

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Interim President David Descutner released a letter Thursday confirming he will “initiate dismissal proceedings” against English professor Andrew Escobedo based on recommendations from history chair and professor Katherine Jellison, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Frank and Provost Pam Benoit.

Escobedo is accused of sexual misconduct by two female graduate students.

Escobedo is entitled to a hearing before a faculty committee to determine if he should be removed, and he must request said hearing by April 3. Descutner wrote in his letter that Escobedo’s actions violated university policy and the Faculty Handbook.

“The grounds for dismissal are that for an extended period of years you have engaged in a pattern of sexual advances directed at students whom you supervised, graded, or advised as well as at colleagues in your department,” Descutner said in his letter.

Students and faculty protested Escobedo’s continued employment at the university last week and called for the administration to take a more proactive role in preventing sexual assault.

Escobedo has been on paid administrative leave since March 2016, when the allegations from the two graduate students first came forward. Though no criminal charges have been pressed, there is a civil lawsuit planned against him.

Last December, an investigation by OU’s office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance found Escobedo guilty of sexual harassment in incidents that occurred since 2003. Six students filed complaints, and four were substantiated by enough evidence to be ruled a violation of university policy.

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