San Jose State University students question handling of sexual harassment case involving professor

SAN JOSE (KGO) -- At San Jose State University, some are questioning the university's handling of a sexual harassment case involving an education professor and one of his students.

ABC7 News confirmed that the professor in question has been placed on administrative leave as the university looks into these allegations.

Students told ABC7 News that they're disappointed in the university's response. "I didn't think something like this would hit so close, obviously right here in my department, it's very upsetting," San Jose State University graduate student Jennifer Yee said.

WATCH VIDEO: Report: SJSU professor stayed in job despite sexual harassment claim

A new report by our media partners at the Mercury News indicates education professor Lewis Aptekar kept his job and his position as a department chair five months after a university investigation found that he sexually harassed a student.

Last year, a female student said that during a class Aptekar repeatedly asked if she was single and said that he wanted to date her.

Personnel files obtained by the Mercury News concluded he acted inappropriately.

He eventually stepped down from his role as department chair at the end of the school year.

One student says Aptekar was popular with classmates. "Some of them were in his classes, and some of them went to him for counseling and he's such a great guy, he's like highly regarded at the school," San Jose State University undergraduate student Sarah Luong said.

The Mercury News also reports that two other students complained of Aptekar's behavior in 2014.

Aptekar's attorney said her client wasn't given a fair opportunity to defend himself against these allegations. "There was much weight given to what they had to say and what they presented and no opportunity for us to challenge their credibility, and we believed it was worthy of challenge based on communications that we had," Aptekar's attorney Elisa Stewart said.

San Jose State University president Mary A. Papazian says the actions reported are troubling and released a statement saying: "We are looking into them, we will learn from them and we will take appropriate systematic actions based on what we learn," she said. null
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