New sexual assault allegations come to light as Utah State music department investigation wraps up

A male former student says he was groped by a music professor on an overnight trip, and a police report describes the alleged assault of a teenage student by a USU music department employee

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  • Austin Coug Pflugerville, TX
    April 5, 2018 5:42 p.m.

    Shocking and disgusting on many levels....the music faculty, the Dean and even the sexual misconduct office at USU. That was a tough read and it is upsetting that these victims were over and over were treated in such a manner and NOTHING was done. Unfortunately, USU is not alone but i hope they took this investigation seriously and we see some changes coming. No way would i send my kids to that music department.

  • LoryV South Jordan, UT
    April 5, 2018 3:22 p.m.

    I have a daughter who was harassed by a physics professor at the UofU. When I found out about what was going on I called the physics department. I’m happy to say that immediate action was taken. I’m so glad I called, though my daughter was scared to death. It’s really sad that our young people have to be wary of those who are in positions of authority. The world is topsy turvy now. No one can be too careful.

  • Lockey Tooele, UT
    April 5, 2018 3:11 p.m.

    I took music at USU around 2011. I had a male professor that wrote a book that we were all required to read for the class. It was a romantic book about himself when he was a young USU music student and rock climber. I can't say there was anything inappropriate about the book, but I did feel kind of creeped out every time there was a romantic scene. It felt like we all had to take a romantic ride into the professor’s head whether we wanted to or not. I really wasn’t into all of his ramblings on rock climbing either. In short I thought the book was poorly written, extremely boring and awkward to read.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    April 5, 2018 2:59 p.m.

    Re: ". . . the culture of favoritism, sexism, and absolute denigration of anybody not "chosen" by the professors was deep-seated."

    Sadly, it's not limited to USU. I have recent experience with the Fine Arts program at UVU. Same, same.

    But, in larger sense, it's not fair to blame USU or UVU or any of the thousands of other Big Ed institutions and personnel out there. They're just doing what educational despots do -- oppress and exercise unrighteous dominion.

    Why? Because they can. We've set up a system that empowers, enables, even rewards elitism, oppression, and despotism, NOT pedagogy. It shouldn't surprise us when these occur.

    That's why the system needs to be dismantled and replaced with a constellation of competing, customer-focused, customer-directed face-to-face/distance learning organizations that would provide better, better focused, and less dangerous learning environments.

    Disestablishing universities, in favor of community colleges would be a good first step. I've taught in both U and CC environments. CCs are better.

    We simply cannot afford to maintain the dangerous, expensive, ineffective status quo.

  • Anonymous100 Anywhere, UT
    April 5, 2018 1:58 p.m.

    If any of this is even remotely true, and I suspect much if not all of it is, people need to be fired and some need to be prosecuted and imprisoned. If true, and I suspect it is, this portrays a horrible, despicable culture at Utah State that needs to be remedied immediately. Employees, including tenured so-called professors, need to know, without doubt, that tenure will not protect them from abusive behavior. Start firing and prosecuting people and the behavior will stop in its tracks!

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    April 5, 2018 1:03 p.m.

    My wife was in the music program during this time. While her experiences weren't as pervasive as many that are quoted here, she read these articles and said - yep, that's absolutely what it was like. She was not at all surprised by the more sinister allegations of outright sexual harassment, retaliation, and even rape. None of it surprised her, because the culture of favoritism, sexism, and absolute denigration of anybody not "chosen" by the professors was deep-seated.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    April 5, 2018 12:33 p.m.

    It will change when women start fighting back. Most of these male offenders are low life criminal cowards. Women need to attend defense training and learn how to defend against abuse. Perhaps it shoul be part of every school’s orientation class. USU needs to take strong action and correct the situation and compensate the students for their injuries.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    April 5, 2018 12:01 p.m.

    Re: ". . . I'm sure that if we put conservatives in charge of higher education, all the sexual assaults will magically disappear."

    It's neither liberals nor conservatives that need to be in charge of "higher" Ed -- rather, it's consumers that should take charge.

    Big Ed today his little to no regard for the needs of students, parents, employers, and tax and tuition payers. They don't need to. They have absolute power to dictate the terms upon which they deign to offer students the key to a decent life.

    And it absolutely has corrupted Big Ed.

    Only when consumers -- the real parties in interest here -- are in charge, will the corruption be abated and, not just the sexual assaults, but the academic bullying, forced indoctrination, the mandatory, unhealthy, and dissipated partying, and the craven, unsupportable raid on the public treasury, will disappear.

    Not by magic, but by reasoned and intelligent action.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    April 5, 2018 11:05 a.m.

    Re: "Conservatives would never commit (or support those who commit) rape, sexual assault, infidelity, or sexual deviancy."

    It's not a lib v. con issue -- though Bid Ed, composed primarily of liberals, might well oppose dismantling this posh, unaccountable refuge.

    The real issue is, however, concentration of power. Paraphrasing Lord Acton -- "power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely."

    Big Ed enjoyed near-absolute power over knowledge -- what it consisted of and who could access it -- for centuries, because knowledge was confined to academic libraries. That's no longer true, so unhealthy concentration of power in Big Ed is no longer necessary -- or healthy. As demonstrated by the USU debacle.

    The only real way to address Big Ed's corruption is to dismantle it and re-distribute its power among many smaller, competing entities, preferably minimizing the role of educational tyrants -- professors and administrators.

    Additionally, what works for Academe should be applied, as much as possible, to primary and secondary education, as well.

    Freeing education from the iron grip of the left dilutes power and reduces corruption.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    April 5, 2018 10:12 a.m.

    @procuradorfiscal

    "It extends to the entire crumbling shell of what was once a necessary concentration of knowledge, but which will only be properly addressed by dismantling and decentralizing what has become Big Ed -- an elitist, leftist, libertine, and completely out-of-touch academic industry."

    Yes, I'm sure that if we put conservatives in charge of higher education, all the sexual assaults will magically disappear. Conservatives would never commit (or support those who commit) rape, sexual assault, infidelity, or sexual deviancy.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    April 5, 2018 10:03 a.m.

    Re: "The men in the department had unchecked power. . . ."

    That better states the problem than the entire remainder of the article.

    USU may be today's focus, but Academe, in general, has become a rotting corpse -- a posh, exclusive refuge for aging leftist radicals and sixties-era libertines. Here they exercise that unchecked power they demanded in youth, and avoid accountability for both misconduct and effective pedagogy, enabled by decidedly torqued concepts of academic freedom and professional tenure.

    Unsurprisingly, people living in such an unaccountable welfare-state bubble often lose any behavioral bearings they once had and begin to exercise their absolute power corruptly. Too many come to believe the unsavory, unsupported, and dangerous sexual propaganda spouted since the sixties.

    The problem is much, much larger than USU's music department. It extends to the entire crumbling shell of what was once a necessary concentration of knowledge, but which will only be properly addressed by dismantling and decentralizing what has become Big Ed -- an elitist, leftist, libertine, and completely out-of-touch academic industry.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    April 5, 2018 10:02 a.m.

    usu is a trainwreck of an institution these days. The mismanagement, incompetence, and shady behavior found from the music department to the athletic department is an embarrassment to the state. Aggies - changes your name to Ogden Community College please.

  • Little Andy Tremonton, UT
    April 5, 2018 9:36 a.m.

    "This is Utah, where complaints of sexual harassment are a common, daily occurrence. Give me a city, State , or Country where this is not the case. Over the past few months the #Metoo has been rampent. No place has been left out or profession.

  • ConservativeCommonTater West Valley City, UT
    April 5, 2018 8:06 a.m.

    This is Utah, where complaints of sexual harassment are a common, daily occurrence. Nothing new, nothing to see here, keep moving.

    When will the powers that be start addressing these complains seriously instead of sloughing them off?

  • Freiheit Salt Lake City, UT
    April 5, 2018 7:51 a.m.

    Gregory. . . Could it be that we should give men and women equal opportunity and treatment? Maybe then we would find that differences in performance are due to individual differences in talent and ability, not an across the board men or women classification.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    April 5, 2018 7:41 a.m.

    @Gregory.
    Yes. While those statements may be true, they are still sexist. Most people know that you can think those thoughts and even believe them. But, you never say them out loud unless you don’t care about being accepted in most social circles in our day and age.

    And, yes, this includes most LDS congregations where women are the better half, and far more spiritual and capable than men.

  • Gregory American Fork, UT
    April 5, 2018 5:50 a.m.

    Could it be true that "Men are really better at some things than women?"
    Could it also be true that "Women are really better at some things than men?"
    Surely it is not sexist to say so?