SJSU Professor Accused of Sexual Harassment Resigns, Students Celebrate - NBC Bay Area
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SJSU Professor Accused of Sexual Harassment Resigns, Students Celebrate

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    As the list of sexual misconduct scandals grows nationwide, students at San Jose State on Tuesday night celebrated a professor's resignation. Ian Cull reports. (Published Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017)

    As the list of sexual misconduct scandals grows nationwide, students at San Jose State on Tuesday night celebrated a professor's resignation.

    Lewis Aptekar was accused of sexual harassment in 2015 but only stepped down this semester. Now, students with a group called Students Against Sexual Harassment are pushing for more change on campus.

    About 50 students were on campus Tuesday night, celebrating the end of one chapter with the departure of Aptekar, a counseling education professor.

    "Because we took action, he did resign, and he's not coming back," student Yvette Jones of Students Against Sexual Harassment said. "So that's one professor we won't have to be worried about in the classroom."

    A university investigation concluded Aptekar sexually harassed a student when he asked multiple times if she was single and wanted to date him. Documents show Aptekar later filed a claim against the university, saying it had violated his right to due process.

    He received $75,000 in a settlement, in exchange for resigning.

    The students say they gathered Tuesday to support the victims.

    "With the news, we've also seen it's happening at other universities, so we want to bring the universities together," student Guadalupe Zaragoza said.

    Professor Jason Laker works in the same department as Aptekar did. He showed up wearing a shirt saying "Do not sexually or racially harass the students."

    "Frankly, I ordered the shirt and had every intention of wearing it at the department meetings and let him look at it until he was gone," Laker said. "Because of (the students') efforts, the university folded and dealt with him."

    The students want more sexual harassment training for faculty.

    In a statement, SJSU said the Cal State University contract already mandates all employees complete a two and a half hours of sexual harassment training every year.

    Aptekar's attorney was not available for comment late Tuesday.

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