CCSU Professor placed on administrative leave after allegations of sexual misconduct

NEW BRITAIN --  A Central Connecticut State University professor has been placed on  paid administrative leave while allegation of sexual misconduct are investigated.

On Wednesday, University President Zulma R. Toro announced this morning that Theatre Professor Joshua Perlstein has been placed on paid administrative leave while we “fully and aggressively investigate the totality of allegations” of sexual misconduct.

Toro also said they have hired outside counsel to investigate the allegations.

In an email to faculty, staff, and students, President Toro stated:

The past 24 hours have been very stressful for some of you after hearing reports of alleged sexual misconduct by one of our professors. I want you to know that we hear you. While participating in last night’s “Take Back The Night” event on campus, I was especially moved by our students who were brave enough to share their experiences with sexual assault, dating violence, and sexual harassment.

This morning, we start anew, ensuring the CCSU campus is the welcoming, safe campus it should be.

To that end, I have determined it is necessary to place Theatre Professor Joshua Perlstein on paid administrative leave while we fully and aggressively investigate the totality of allegations outlined in an article published yesterday in The Recorder student newspaper. To minimize the impact on his students, I’ve asked Brian Sommers, Interim Dean of the Ammon College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, and Scott Bartley, Theatre Department Chair, to work together in addressing students’ needs and concerns.

For an impartial, third-party analysis, the University has retained the services of the law firm Shipman & Goodwin to review the alleged allegations. Concurrently, my Executive Committee is conducting its own comprehensive investigation.

Getting to the bottom of how reports of alleged sexual misconduct were handled in the past and setting a new standard for their handling in the future is of the utmost importance to me – as the leader of this University and, quite frankly, as a woman in a male dominated field who has experienced the intended and unintended effects of sexual misconduct.

As I told our students last night: the Central Family does not stand by – we stand up.

 

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.