College News

UW-Oshkosh student seeks justice in federal court for neglected sexual harassment reports against professor

At UW-Oshkosh, a former art professor engaged in an “intimidating and degrading” sexual relationship with a student. Now, that student is suing the university and the UW System Board of Regents for mishandling the case.

Image By: Sydney Widell

A former UW-Oshkosh student is pressing federal charges against her school and the UW System Board of Regents for failing to take action in 2014 after she reported an art professor had continually made unwanted advances.

The complaint, filed Oct. 3 with the U.S Eastern District Court, stated that former professor Michael Beitz violated the former student's rights under Title IX and the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. The complaint states that the university "acted with deliberate indifference to Beitz' sexual harassment of the plaintiff."

The victim filed for compensation for physical and psychological injury as well as medical and educational expenses, according to the civil complaint.

According to the complaint, university administrators "had actual notice of Beitz' misconduct based on complaints they had received from a student and a student parent in December 2012 and January 2013 regarding his inappropriate sexual relationship with plaintiff."

The former UW-Oshkosh student said what began as a consensual partnership with Bietz in 2012 turned emotionally abusive and sexually coercive after she attempted to end the relationship a year later.

According to documents released with the complaint, Beitz forced sex from his student, engaged in “intimidating and demeaning” behavior and the university failed to intervene even after the plaintiff provided documentation.

In May, the Oshkosh Northwestern reported that Bietz left his position at UW-Oshkosh voluntarily in 2015 for a tenure-track teaching job at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Beitz’s case is one of three confirmed instances and 15 total complaints of sexual harassment at UW-Oshkosh in the last five years — the second highest total number of complaints in the UW System in that period, according to the article.

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