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Discipline recommended for UCSC professor accused of discrimination, sexual harassment

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KION
Demetrios Achlioptas

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) The Committee on Charges at UC Santa Cruz recommended discipline against professor Demetrios Achlioptas, according to court documents shared with KION. The documents say he also made admissions to the actions he was accused of.

Between late 2018 and early 2019, the university received three formal complaints against Achlioptas, saying he engaged in abusive, coercive, discriminatory and harassing conduct.

A statement UCSC issued in May said in part, " The allegations include sexual harassment, and discrimination based on race, gender, and religion and more.

He was placed on leave with pay in December 2018. He could not be on the UCSC campus for work-related reasons or perform work-related activities that would bring him into contact with students. The Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor at the time, Marlene Tromp, told Achlioptas he could submit a grievance challenging the decision, but he did not submit one.

In February 2019, Tromp told Achlioptas she was revising the terms of his leave, saying the university got more details about the allegations against him. The new terms were that he could not be on campus for work-related reasons, engage in work-related duties except independent research or a pre-approved project, contact any of the school's students, faculty and staff other than four PhD students, his department chair and central campus offices. Again Achlioptas was told he could challenge the decision, but he did not.

Achlioptas submitted a grievance about the school's treatment of the complaints against him on June 18, 2019. He did not grieve Tromp's decision to place him on involuntary leave, but grieved that Tromp should not have started investigating the complaints until after they had been submitted to the Committee on Charges. He requested that Tromp end the investigation the Title IX office was performing and and that she discard a report from an investigation she had an outside firm perform.

Achlioptas' grievance was rejected on June 28 after the university's Committee on Privilege and Tenure found that he did not demonstrate that any of his rights had been violated as a result of Tromp referring the complaints to the Title IX office and retaining an outside investigator.

On July 8, the university's Committee on Charges found probable cause that he had, "engaged in research misconduct, verbally abusive and coercive behavior toward students, and harassing and discriminatory behavior toward students."

The Committee on Charges said it came to that conclusion after looking at the complaints and other documented evidence. It also took into account Achlioptas' statements and admissions about the actions he was accused of.

The committee also looked at the outside investigator's report, which recommended appropriate discipline if the suspected misconduct was substantiated.

"While the University will not publicize that recommendation here, suffice it to say that the Committee on charges expressed great concern for the wellbeing of UCSC students, and the discipline it recommended is reflective of this concern," documents opposing Achlioptas' application for a restraining order to cancel the university's actions said.

On July 12, the terms of involuntary leave were revised again in light of the report by the committee. The new terms did not allow Achlioptas to take part in work-related activities that involve contact with potential students or supervise or advise students. He was also not able to participate in any of his grants. Again he was told he could submit a grievance, but did not.

Crime / Santa Cruz / Santa Cruz County / Top Stories

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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