UCLA Settles Title IX Lawsuit with Students Alleging Harassment

The two students accused UCLA officials of discouraging them to report sexual harassment.

UCLA announced a $460,000 lawsuit settlement Sept. 8 after two students claimed they were sexually harassed by a professor.

Graduate students Nefertiti Takla and Kristen Glasgow claimed in a lawsuit filed in 2015 that UCLA officials discouraged them from making a formal complaint after they alleged a professor was making unwelcome sexual advances, including forcing his tongue into their mouths, and making suggestive comments.

The students claimed UCLA officials violated Title IX with their response to the complaints. As part of the settlement, one of the students will receive $350,000 and the other will receive $110,000 from the school, according to the Daily Bruin.

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Former history professor Gabriel Piterberg was suspended after the students filed a complaint outlining his alleged inappropriate conduct. Piterberg was allowed to continue teaching following a settlement in February 2015 after he resigned from his position as director of the Center for Near Eastern Studies in May. That settlement stipulated that Piterberg could not be romantically involved with students or contact Takla.

Stephen Aron, chair of UCLA’s history department, said in a letter that Piterberg will not teach in the fall of 2016 then resume teaching in the winter and spring semester. Piterberg will only be allowed to use his office on weekends and as needed in the 2016-2017 academic year. The arrangements will be revisited in June 2017.

As part of the latest settlement, one of the students will also receive a dissertation year fellowship in her final year of graduate school.

UCLA recently unveiled a new Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and hired a new Title IX coordinator. Peer review committees were also formed to review sanction proposals against faculty members who violate the university’s policy on sexual violence and sexual harassment.

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