Canisius College showed intentional indifference to allegations of sexual harassment against a popular professor and then retaliated against a group of students when it finally took action against him, a new federal lawsuit claims.
The professor in question, animal behaviorist Michael Nunan, has not worked at Canisius since 2019. But the five plaintiffs in the case সকল all women তিক recent graduates of Jesuit College বলেন said they could have been protected from harassment, unwanted physical contact, and academic harassment if the college had acted at least in 2014 on the basis of previous allegations about Nunan.
Canisius denies any wrongdoing in the case and says that he acted in accordance with his principles and procedures in reporting on Nunan.
Nunan did not respond to a request for comment. According to the lawsuit, Canisius removed him from campus in 2019, but told students that he had retired. Nunan’s personal website says he has retired. He is now volunteering at a high school on the West Coast, plaintiffs allege.
According to the lawsuit, Nunan used her position as director of Canisius Ambassadors for Conservation to select young women to travel for research. (The majority of her research assistants were women, as well, the case states.) During the research trip, she reportedly discussed her personal life with students and asked intrusive questions about their own lives, calling it “girls talk.” He also insisted on tying up audiovisual equipment in women’s underwear during the video project, once commenting that a student was “flat-breasted.” Nunan has been accused of approving students ‘clothes and hair for these video projects, telling students that he “owns” them and sometimes braids students’ hair without their permission.
Nunan “catches” students with stomach problems while studying abroad so that he can personally give them enema and anal suppositories, the lawsuit alleges. During a trip to India in 2019, Nunan allegedly told a student suffering from constipation that not having an enema could be “life threatening” and complained that he was lying in a hotel room bed trying to figure out how it would work and feel. Gave to the student. The student and a plaintiff decided to seek care at a hospital instead, and although one of them stated that he had told Nunan that he had crossed a line, he still insisted on entering the examination room with them when they did not want him there. . During a trip to Uganda in 2018, Nunan allegedly offered to “help” another plaintiff with anal suppositories, and told him and other students to come to his room, “to stretch his knees” by grabbing his leg and pulling on him.
“Nunan cried in a way that suggested he was gaining more than just physical comfort from his students,” the lawsuit states.
Another plaintiff said Nunan called her her “daughter”, encouraged her not to wear a bra, and said he would be interested in dating his married mother. The plaintiff said he drank on the weekend to deal with the stress associated with the case and is now in therapy.
Other plaintiffs who reported similar experiences said they were seeing therapists as well.
Daniela Nanau, a female lawyer, says her clients ‘long-held hopes of working in academic science have been dashed by Nunan and Canisius’ actions, and they have come forward “because there is really no other way to protect the women who come to them.” After them. “
“My clients all went to Canisius College because they wanted to be ABEC majors,” said Nanau about the animal behavior, ecology and conservation program that Nunan has established and taught for over 40 years. “This is a very specific program that is not offered in most colleges and universities. They all wanted to be environmental scientists or do something with animals in science and they all wanted to go to graduate school. And now most of them feel safe in the academic space not only seeing the professors’ reaction to their complaint about a colleague যা whom I believe was a known predator on campus কিন্তু but also the administration’s response.
Nanau continued, “Instead of following the policy, the Canisius administrators did not provide accommodation or assistance to my clients, be it academic or medical. Nothing has been done to ensure that the projects started under Nunan have been completed as intended. “
Presidents John Hurley and Linda Wallaceuser, vice president for human resources and former officer at IX, in response to a request for comment through a college spokeswoman for compliance with federal law on gender inequality in education, shared a written statement. The statement said Canisius “is committed and always committed to building a safe, secure campus environment and upholding a strong policy that promotes the safety and security of students free from discrimination and harassment. At the moment, the allegations are merely allegations. Details will be provided, but the college denies that they have responded quickly and effectively to the behavior reported by the plaintiffs in this case. “
Canisius further stated that the behaviors described in the lawsuit were “immediately and thoroughly investigated and resolved when first brought to the attention of the college as part of an internal complaint filed in 2019. Always, Canisius takes student complaints seriously and files this lawsuit.” Until then, the college has realized that it has worked perfectly with the will of the students. “
Canisius “prides himself on his commitment to his Catholic, Jesuit identity and strives to reflect all of his principles and practices,” the college said.
In another federal lawsuit against Canisius, filed last year, three female students who ran the track accused the college of ignoring a culture of sexual harassment against the party. According to the Zen Do plaintiffs, some male current and former students of the group deliberately made young female athletes drunk and high drunk to attack them when they were drunk and unable to consent to sex. Canisius said at the time that students’ reports about the team’s problems were “immediately and thoroughly investigated and judged under applicable college policy.”
Canisius is facing another lawsuit from faculty members who allege that the college used the epidemic as a smokescreen to dismiss them without declaring financial urgency, their right to appeal or without consulting any faculty governing body. Professors say Canisius tried to reconcile with them but what it offered turned out to be lighter than the impending lost wages. (Canisius cut other professors in 2020, quoting COVID-19, settling with most of them, even appointing four new assistant professors and a new dean.)
Hurley, who oversaw the controversy, announced his retirement last year. He will resign later this month.
Nanau said that while Canisius has been accused of enduring sexual misconduct elsewhere, Nunan may have been particularly discouraged because he attracted federal research dollars through his unusual study program and because he worked as a department chair and was previously married to an administrator. . In college
“When you have them in your mix, it can motivate people. They do not feel compelled to follow the rules, “he said.
Nunan was also president of the faculty senate, and Hurley thanked him by name in a 2015 convocation speech for being a “catalyst” for improving the college’s commitment to shared governance.
‘She’s just like that’
According to the lawsuit, a professor reported Nunan to the college’s Title IX office in 2014. (Nanau said he had interviewed the professor, who retired and could not be reached for comment immediately.) Canisius has been accused of failing to judge the allegations or others until a group of students came forward in 2019. At the time, another professor in the biology department at Canisius, Elizabeth Hogan (who did not respond to a request for comment) complained that Nunan had sexually harassed someone on her research team. Hogan’s interview with that student led him to another student who complained to the chair of the ABEC program in 2018 about Nunan, to no avail, the lawsuit says.
Hogan allegedly referred the allegations to the Title IX office, which was run by Walleshauser at the time. Within a few weeks, several plaintiffs went to the Title IX office to submit a document that they would compile the details of their complaint. It alleges that Nunan interfered with the students’ treatment without their consent, and that he was responsible for inserting suppositories and enemas. The students further complained that he was controlling his behavior and he complained about the men who were “destroyed” by the Me Too movement.
Walleshauser allegedly promised the women that he would investigate on the basis of their documents and that they would be safe participants during the process. But women say the promise did not work. Instead, the plaintiffs complained, they had to continue working with Nunan because they thought she knew they would complain about her এবং and if they would be punished for it.
A month later, the women say, Canisius abruptly removed Nunan from campus and forbade him to communicate with anyone there. A few months later, the plaintiffs said they returned to the Title IX office to ask what was happening and promised that they would be able to review and comment on the case report soon. Yet it never happened, because Canisius never issued a report, the lawsuit says.
In June 2019, student complainants were notified via email that Nunan had retired from college.
Regarding an ongoing video project with Nunan involving the Indian tiger, that email from Walleshauser stated that “you will be given access to the film or video work you created for use in creating your own work.” Walleshauser says Nunan will finish his own version of the project with existing footage, and that “if you choose to remove your name and pictures from Dr. Nunan’s finished work, he will have to delete your reference from any of the credits listed. “
Following this email, the students stated that they had never received any financial assistance to complete the project. The ABEC chair allegedly failed to get the tiger footage in a timely manner, claiming it was “very difficult” to find out who had the rights, but insisted that students create some work to get credit for a related class. (Students say they’ve shaken up to create a series of podcasts.)
The third- and fourth-year students who were advised by Nunan were not replaced, the lawsuit alleges, “resulting in deprivation of information regarding their credentials and graduation requirements.”
One plaintiff stated that while Nunan was still in Cannesia, he complained to the ABEC Chair that he had been detained because he needed a letter of recommendation for graduate school admission, and the ABEC Chair stated that nothing could be done because that was the only way. [Noonan] Is. “