University Professor Suspended for Suggestive Texts

2017-11-16 11:10:39

An associate professor at a university in southwestern China was removed from his teaching post on Wednesday after a graduate student accused him of repeated sexual harassment of female students.

After the whistleblower’s article went viral on Tuesday, Chengdu University of Technology (CDUT) posted a notice on its Weibo microblog stating that the professor, surnamed Liu, had communicated with students in a way that “violated professional ethics and social morality.”

The online accusations first appeared Tuesday on a social media account that posts information about students in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. The article’s author, a CDUT graduate student, shared screenshots of conversations between Liu, who taught in the School of Marxism, and female students over the last year. One of the victims was the whistleblower’s girlfriend.

According to the screenshots, Liu repeatedly sent the students suggestive messages, such as “Did you see me in your dreams?” and “I bet you’re in bed now.” He called the students by offensive nicknames like “coward girl” and “evil witch,” and suggested he would fail a student after she blocked him from messaging her. During a conversation with the whistleblower’s girlfriend, Liu also referred to her hometown, Jiyuan, as a “brothel” — a word that sounds similar in Chinese — and asked her whether she planned to look for work in Chengdu or in a brothel.

Though the whistleblower had already reported the case to CDUT earlier this month, he was told that the school needed time to investigate. “I don’t know where they would go to get the evidence,” the whistleblower wrote. “Even when I asked whether they needed me to gather more evidence, they said no.”

The whistleblower refused Sixth Tone’s interview request on Thursday.

In an earlier statement in which CDUT announced it would investigate Liu’s conduct, the school cited a 2014 document released by the Ministry of Education that regulates how to deal with teachers’ ethical violations, such as plagiarism, gifts, sexual harassment, and affairs with students. The document followed a scandal in July 2014 involving a Ph.D. supervisor at Xiamen University who reportedly seduced female students. The supervisor was expelled from the Party and had his teaching qualification revoked. However, a year later, he resurfaced as a committee member of a Chinese archeology association.

An employee at CDUT’s publicity department told Sixth Tone on Thursday that Liu has been ordered to stop giving classes. However, the employee refused to say whether Liu might teach again in the future.

Editor: Kevin Schoenmakers.

(Header image: E+/VCG)