Professor fired after telling students to remove shirts; school cited – USA TODAY

A Maryland professor who instructed female students to remove their shirts during class created a “hostile environment” and violated Title IX, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education.
Investigators said the instructor at the Takoma/Silver Spring campus of Montgomery College in Maryland required female students to remove their shirts and wear only their sports bras to demonstrate a “medical assessment.” Some students put on lab coats for modesty and the professor instructed the students to remove them. He then commented on the students’ breasts, according to a letter from the Office of Civil Rights to the college. 
In practice, the assessment requires neither the removal of clothing nor the commentary. 
Following complaints from students in the class, the college placed the professor on paid administrative leave and alerted students of a formal investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment. 
The Title IX coordinator at the college conducted interviews with students from the professor’s class, students from another section of the class taught by the professor, the department chair, and other student witnesses. The investigation confirmed that the professor’s conduct created a hostile environment on the basis of sex.
The professor was terminated and the student who initially filed the complaint was notified.
The college provided counseling, academic assistance and tuition reimbursement for several of the students in the class. One student failed the class due to harassment and the college paid for her to re-enroll. 
The OCR found that the college’s investigation followed the requirements of Title IX, and was prompt and equitable. However, the OCR investigation found that the college failed to adequately inform the women involved in the incident that the investigation had concluded and the professor was terminated.
In a resolution agreement with Montgomery College, the OCR mandated that the college inform all students in the class that the investigation found that the professor created a hostile environment and that he had been terminated.
Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. described the incident as “shameful” in the press release.
“I am deeply grateful to Montgomery College for swiftly responding with a thorough investigation and action to address the effects of the hostile environment created by the professor on the students in his class, and I appreciate the additional commitment Montgomery College made  to fulfill its remaining obligation under Title IX to ensure that the discriminatory effects end for all its students.”


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