CCSU President issues statement after allegations of faculty sexual misconduct

NEW BRITAIN -- The Recorder, a CCSU publication, has published a story reporting that multiple women accuse a theater professor of sexual misconduct.

The article states that then 21-year-old Anna Brewer alleges sexual assault by 46-year-old Joshua Perlstein back in 2004.

“I was trying to be nice about it because I was aware I was in a park, alone with a man who had become dangerous to me,” Kelly, who is now 35, said in an interview with The Recorder in February.

Professor Joshua Perlstein. Credit: CCSU

As the two walked back to campus, Perlstein took her hand, she said. Kelly let her hand go limp, The Recorder reports.

When they returned to the campus, Kelly and Perlstein parted ways in front of the steps to Maloney Hall.

“Before I left, he reached around, gave me this huge hug and reached around and grabbed my butt,” Kelly said in the interview.

The Recorder states that University officials have known Kelly' story since she filed a formal complaint more than a dozen years ago. They also report that since then, multiple other women had come forward. Despite that, Perlstein remains a professor at Central, having received tenure in 1998 and a promotion to Associate Professor in 2000.

Over the course of an investigation by The Recorder, eight former students and faculty have come forward to disclose unwelcome advances by Perlstein they have personally experienced or students have reported having to them. Three of those interviewed had made reports to school officials.

After the article was published today, CCSU President Zulma R. Toro released the following statement:

What I read in the article is truly disturbing and surprising to me. It does not represent who we are as a public institution of higher education or who we are as faculty, mentors, and advisers. At this time, let me be clear: Central Connecticut State University has a no-tolerance policy, and I apologize to our students who have experienced any form of sexual misconduct.

Be assured that I do not take these allegations lightly. Therefore, this morning I have instructed the Provost, the Chief Human Resources Officer, and the Chief Diversity Officer to conduct a comprehensive investigation. Specifically, I have asked our Chief Diversity Officer to review the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy, especially as it relates to the 90-day reporting deadline.

As part of our due diligence, I have also asked an external agency with experience in situations of this nature to conduct a full investigation. Once I receive the results of these investigations, I will determine the next steps and will keep you informed.

I want you to know that we are fully committed to changing the environment in the Theatre Department and on campus. I also wish to assure every one of our students that this is a welcoming, safe place for them.

Perlstein declined to comment to The Recorder when asked about the specific allegations. He emailed a statement to FOX61 that said:

I have just read the article for the first time. The allegations that were mentioned have been investigated and resolved by the University. If they are going to conduct another investigation I will of course fully cooperate.

Full story from The Recorder.