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UW-La Crosse student accuses professor of sexual misconduct in social media post

A UW-La Crosse student accused a professor of sexual misconduct on Facebook Wednesday night. The university said it is reopening the investigation.

A UW-La Crosse student accused a professor of sexual misconduct on Facebook Wednesday night. The university said it is reopening the investigation.

Image By: Madeline Heim

A UW-La Crosse student accused an art professor of sexual misconduct in a Facebook post that has been shared over 1,400 times since it was posted Wednesday night.

Caycee Bean shared her experience because she was “extremely disappointed with UW-L’s process,” according to the post. 

The incident took place during Bean’s freshman year, she wrote. 

According to Bean, an art professor allowed her into his senior-level class despite her lack of prerequisites, and offered her private drawing lessons. During the lesson, she said he led her into a small, locked room and asked her to pose and take off her sweater. Bean said the professor then commented on her body and tried to lift up her shirt, which is when she stopped him. 

“I felt like I was in a bad dream and was so uncomfortable I didn’t know what to do,” she wrote. 

Bean also described her experience reporting the incident and the response she received from the university. After going to human resources last semester, Bean said an investigation was opened, but she didn’t receive any updates until she emailed officials herself. 

She said the university emailed her back the morning before she wrote her Facebook post. 

“We wanted to inform you that we reviewed the matter and have communicated expectations to the faculty member in question,” read the email, which Bean attached as a screenshot in her Facebook post. “For the duration of your academic career at UWL, he has been instructed not to contact you.” 

Bean equated this response to “a slap on the wrist” and said the professor in question “gets to walk around like he is untouchable.” 

UW-La Crosse responded to Bean’s allegations against the unnamed professor in a statement where it recognized the initial communications misstep.

“As an institution, we acknowledge the university should have been more prompt in communicating the result of this investigation to the student and regret the negative impact this had on the student,” the statement read.

The university also stood by its initial handling of Bean’s complaint, saying it has also taken steps so the professor and art department are working on maintaining appropriate instructor-student interactions.

“While there was not a determination that our policies were violated in this case, we nevertheless took action to protect the student from retaliation or other disruptions to academic opportunities during the investigation,” the statement said. “These measures will continue for the remainder of the student’s time at UWL.”

UW-La Crosse also encouraged those who have experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct to reach out, linking to a webpage with more information and a guide to reporting an incident. 

However, Chancellor Joe Gow directed the case to be reopened due to “additional information [coming] to light.” 

Bean also posted screenshots of other students who have reached out and shared similar stories with her, some from other universities. 

“These students have had to deal with similar sexual harassment from their professors,” Bean wrote. “This needs to be brought to light so we can put an end to it.”

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