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CCSU takes ‘corrective actions’ following sexual misconduct review of two professors

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NEW BRITAIN — In a letter released to the CCSU community, President Zulma Toro assured faculty and students that steps were taken after reports of sexual misconduct in the student newspaper last April.

Toro says that the reports had supported many of the misconduct claims that were reported in The Recorder. Toro says she is ‘disgusted and disheartened’ by what she read in those reports.

The reports indicated that two CCSU professors had repeatedly engaged in sexual, inappropriate behavior with several students. Toro says another disturbing aspect to the report was the failures of administrators who, over the years, did not protect the students.

‘It is clear to me that a series of vital steps are required to ensure past misbehaviors, mistakes, and inaction are not repeated at this University and, certainly, not under my watch. Therefore, I am proceeding with a number of personnel and organizational changes. I have begun the process of dismissing Joshua Perlstein and Thomas Delventhal, both professors of the Theatre Department. Professor Delventhal was placed on administrative leave last week and, as you probably are aware, Professor Perlstein has been on leave since April,’ Toro said in the letter.

In a statement, the connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark Ojakian said:

“I applaud President Toro for taking prompt and decisive action to make CCSU – and the theatre department in particular – a better, more welcoming learning environment. The reports released today identify important steps that can and must be taken to ensure that all sexual misconduct complaints are received with the utmost seriousness, thoroughly investigated, and acted upon accordingly. I am beyond confident in the President’s ability to oversee and implement the necessary cultural and policy changes in a thoughtful and transparent manner.”

According to Toro, the investigation findings related specifically to Professor Perlstein include: significant evidence that he had a history of questionable interactions with female students; that he was involved in sexual misconduct with one or more students; he was untruthful about the extended period of time he was involved in a sexual relationship with a student, and attempted to conceal his problematic conduct because it would “put his job in jeopardy.”

Toro said she is also moving ahead with more initiatives:

• Identify and adopt an institution-wide reporting, monitoring, & tracking system to facilitate and maintain the collection and dissemination of information and data. This will enable the assessment of trends, issues, and retrieval of case information;
• Explore a new model for investigating sexual harassment, bullying, and misconduct on campus, rather than a “single investigator” to decrease individual bias or conflicts of interest;
• Administer an ongoing campus climate survey;
• Seek input from union leaders on how to achieve 100% employee participation in Title IX training; and
• Determine how best to incorporate educational material on Title IX, bullying, and civility into student programming.

Additional information about the Task Force and its final report are available here. To view the three Shipman & Goodwin investigation reports, please follow this link.

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