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Dean Returns as Professor After Alleged Sexual Harassment

By William Vogeler, Esq. on February 23, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Apparently, some law school deans have better job security than federal court justices.

Last year, a former dean at UC Berkeley School of Law stepped down during a sexual harassment scandal, but continued on as a professor. The former Dean, Sujit Choudhry, settled the case and managed to stay on the payroll.

Now comes -- after going -- the former dean of Northern Kentucky University's law school. Jeffrey Standen quit amidst sexual misconduct complaints, but is coming right back as a professor at the same school.

Sexual Misconduct

In the Harvey Weinstein era, it is becoming commonplace to see high-powered men drummed out of their jobs for sexual misconduct. In the legal business, it's become the Alex Kozinski era.

Law schools, however, seem to be a subset of the bigger problem. Largely populated with young students who answer to professors, the deans who allegedly harassed young women may still work over them in the classroom?

Berkeley handled the situation by paying the alleged victim and the alleged harasser, who continued his services basically off campus. He was allowed to take an unpaid sabbatical and to resign in good standing in May 2018.

But Northern Kentucky has chosen a different course. After finding evidence of "an unhealthy culture of fear, intimidation and bullying," the school allowed the dean to take a paid leave and then to return as a professor.

Hostile Work Environment

Standen's accusers described a "hostile work environment," where the dean repeatedly looked down a woman's dress, looked up another's skirt, and otherwise manipulated three women for his pleasure.

The former dean denied the allegations, but resigned for "personal reasons." The school, citing policy, then rehired him as a professor -- at $222,000 a year.

Kathryn Rubino, writing for Above the Law, said students will have to "just take it on faith" that he won't continue the same behavior in the classroom. Because, she said, "it sure doesn't look like the school is doing much to make sure it doesn't happen."

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