Skip to main content

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents has settled with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) after a professor sexually harassed a graduate student. 

In a news release on Friday, the MDHR said its investigation found that a professor with the university's Humphrey School of Public Affairs used his position of power to sexually harass a graduate student in 2018. The professor made sexual comments in front of her, told her about sex he'd had, commented on her appearance in front of her classmates, told her he wanted to be her boyfriend, and asked her to move into his home.

The settlement requires the Humphrey School of Public Affairs to pay the graduate student $75,000 and allow her to complete her degree tuition-free. The university also has to take action to prevent sexual harassment, including providing harassment and bystander training to students and faculty, send quarterly communications reminding faculty of their responsibility to report harassment, and distribute the university's sexual harassment policy to students at the start of each academic year. 

“Schools should be places where students go to learn more about the world and what kind of person they’re going to be. They cannot be places where professors sexually harass students,” MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said. “What should have been a safe and sacred relationship between a professor and a student instead became an unsafe and abusive space. Sexual harassment must stop. Students deserve better.”

The MDHR says the "unequal power dynamic" between the two was apparent, noting she was his student and reported directly to him as his research assistant. The professor had influence over her grades, employment, reputation within the school and her career after college. 

The professor violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which prohibits sexual harassment, MDHR said. 

MDHR will monitor the U of M for four years to ensure it complies with the settlement agreement.

This marks the third sexual harassment case the MDHR has announced this week, which it says demonstrates "sexual harassment is pervasive and persistent."

Related [Dec. 14]: Human Rights department joins sexual assault victim's suit against McDonald's franchisee

If you believe you are the victim of sexual harassment or any other type of discrimination covered under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, call the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148 or submit this online form.

Next Up

Mats Zuccarello

Zuccarello helps Wild spoil Lundqvist's retirement party

After Henrik Lundqvist's jersey was hung to the rafters, Zuccarello led a 3-2 win.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 5.04.00 PM

David Arquette gives shoutout to MN's F1rst Wrestling on James Corden show

The Hollywood actor wrestled at at a F1rst Wrestling show at First Avenue in early 2019.

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

6 charged in Black Friday mass thefts at Twin Cities Best Buys

The group stole from three Best Buy stores that afternoon, the charges say.

Nicollet County Bell Jan 2022 4

Thieves steal large bell from rural MN church, don't get far with it

The bell was found in a ditch with tow ropes around it.

covid

COVID: More help coming to Minnesota hospitals, Walz says

More than 200 medical professionals are coming to help at short-staffed hospitals.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 9.04.12 AM

Suspect arrested after falling asleep in vehicle at rest stop

The man was sleeping in a stolen vehicle in the parking lot of an I-94 rest area.

DOminos pizza flickr mr blue maumau

Charges: Edina man threatened to shoot up Domino's Pizza

He claimed a delivery driver had flipped him off, the charges say.

carvana vending machine

Carvana seeking to build vehicle vending machine in Twin Cities

The online car dealership submitted a letter of intent to buy land in the metro to build a fulfillment center.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Coller: New Vikings GM Adofo-Mensah needs to be ruthless

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah needs to make some big, difficult decisions, writes Matthew Coller.

Patrick Graham

Report: Vikings to interview Giants' Patrick Graham for head coach

Graham coached with the Patriots under Bill Belichick for six years.

floor and decor screengrab

Home brand plans 'flagship' store in Maple Grove AMC Theater space

This will be the company's first Minnesota location.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, January 28

The state is still in the process of catching up with 10,000 yet-to-be processed tests.

Related

Renaissance Festival

State settles sexual harassment cases with Renaissance Festival, 2 others

The state says the three businesses didn't have or didn't implement policies to prevent sexual assault and harassment.

mcdonald's

State joins sexual assault victim's suit against McDonald's franchisee

The lawsuit claims supervisors knew about the assault but did nothing.

Flickr - Minnesota state senate chamber - Matt Lewis

Calls for investigation after former DFL staffer details sexual harassment

Cynthia Callais provided her account to the Minnesota Reformer.

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 7.44.12 AM

Court orders school to take action on sex harassment, bullying by students

The high school in Plymouth was being sued for ignoring complaints of sexual harassment.

University of minnesota sign

U of M to offer free or reduced tuition to Native American students

The U says this will help increase access, improve graduation rates and close opportunity gaps.

University of minnesota sign

University of Minnesota plans to resume in-person classes this fall

Campuses will transition to online learning after Thanksgiving.

University of minnesota sign

Big crowds at U of M 'Superblock' spark COVID-19 concerns

The U says it's reviewing video of the incident, but students say the university isn't doing enough to protect students.