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UW-La Crosse Seeks To Reopen Investigation After Student Details Misconduct Allegations On Facebook

Student Says University Staff Failed To Follow Up With Her After She Reported Incident

Students on the UW-La Crosse campus.
Students on the UW-La Crosse campus. Photo courtesy of UW-La Crosse

A University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student has accused a professor of inappropriate conduct after she said the university failed to follow up with her about an investigation into the alleged incident.

In a public Facebook post on Wednesday, UW-La Crosse student Caycee Bean said she filed a report with the university’s human resources department last year about misconduct by an art professor during her freshman year.

“(UW-La Crosse Human Resources) took me in for questioning and told me they would start an investigation over the summer and that they would keep me updated on the process. Summer is now over and I never received any updates on the matter,” Bean said in the post.

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Bean didn’t return requests for comment, but she said in the Facebook post that the professor offered her a drawing lesson after letting her enroll in his senior-level class.

“When it came time for my ‘lesson’ he took me into a small paper room and locked the door behind him. I was immediately uncomfortable but didn’t really understand what was happening. He asked me to pose for him. Then asked me to take off my sweater (I had a tank top on underneath),” Bean wrote in the post. “He made comments about my body and then took his hand and began to lift up my shirt. I stopped him. I felt like I was in a bad dream and was so uncomfortable I didn’t know what to do.”

Bean said in the post she decided to share the story on social media because of the lack of information and action from the university.

A statement from UW-La Crosse said the university acknowledges that staff should have been more prompt in communicating with Bean. The statement said the university did conduct an investigation after receiving Bean’s complaint.

“While there was not a determination that our policies were violated in this case, we nevertheless took action to protect the student from retaliation or other disruptions to academic opportunities during the investigation. These measures will continue for the remainder of the student’s time at UW-La Crosse. The university has also taken action to ensure that the faculty member and the department are engaged in ongoing efforts to maintain safe and appropriate instructor-student interactions,” the statement said.

In a campus-wide email on Friday, UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow said he has asked the university to reopen the investigation into the professor and work with the UW System to involve an external reviewer.

“While I recognize some parts of this story are unfolding very publicly, there is little the university can share while any investigation is ongoing,” Gow said in the statement.