George Mason professor retires amid sexual harassment allegations
FAIRFAX, Va. – A George Mason University professor facing termination court cases retired this spring amid accusations that he had sexually burdened a pupil, a declaration that brought on others to come back forward and say they were harassed, interviews and documents show. Peter Pober, a communications professor, had presided over the nationally acclaimed speech crew at the public college in northern Virginia. Official documents and interviews with former crew members open a window onto Pober’s fall from prominence on the faculty.
Those files encompass written testimony that details allegations about an episode in February concerning the professor and the scholar, who graduated in the spring. In an interview, the man who wrote that testimony said he became coming ahead out of the subject that Pober is probably able to move to a function at another college.
“He nevertheless has one of the exceptional résumés of any train inside the USA, in terms of each aggressive success and just sheer revel in,” he said. “I simply felt as though he turned into going to end up with any other job in education and do the equal factor to different humans as he did to me.”
The allegations against the George Mason professor come amid a bigger countrywide conversation about sexual harassment and misconduct that reverberated throughout the academy and industries, including amusement, media, and era. A principal issue includes harassers who had been capable of concealing in plain sight, now and again shifting from one process to any other.
In his written testimony, the person alleged that Pober made sexual advances. According to the documents, the come upon allegedly occurred simultaneously as the 2 were on my own in a hotel room after a night time of heavy consumption.
The Washington Post typically does not become aware of sufferers of sexual misconduct unless they voluntarily provide their names to be published. The guy requested that his name not is published dbe published becausen the query turned not his personal. The guy filed a Title IX harassment criticism with the school, and university officers observed sufficient records to assist his allegation “that Dr. Pober engaged in behavior that qualifies as Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment” in violation of university coverage, the one’s files to display.
The man became the statistics over to The Post. George Mason did now not launch facts from its research, but a college spokesman showed that the documents supplied by using the scholar have been authentic. “During the research, Dr. Pober confirmed that he advised you that [he] wanted to have sex with you,” a letter explaining the college’s findings states. Pober mentioned in an assertion to The Post that he had an “irrelevant communique” with a student, although he denied some of what became allegedly said throughout the incident.
“I admit that during February 2018, I had a beside-the-point communication with a pupil on a school trip, even though I hold to deny several of the allegations concerning the content material of that conversation,” Pober said in the declaration, which become furnished using his legal profession. “I apologized to the pupil that night and keep to remorse my words.” Pober, who did no longer have tenure, retired in May after the faculty started “termination for cause court cases,” university spokesman Michael Sandler said in a statement.
Retirement benefits seem as employees statistics, Sandler stated, that means the college can’t talk financial information of Pober’s departure. Pober’s legal professional declined to percentage details of her client’s retirement.
Former group members described Pober as awesome but annoying, a powerful and respected chief in collegiate speech. He has been a university employee considering that 2003 and had served as chair of the Faculty Senate. The man who said he turned into stressed employing Pober turned into a member of the speech team at the time of the incident. “George Mason University takes enforcement of Title IX very seriously,” Sandler said, referring to the federal regulation that prohibits sex discrimination in colleges that receive federal investment. “The university thoroughly investigates Title IX proceedings, and when there is proof of violations, it takes an appropriate movement.”
The documents the person furnished to The Post show that George Mason took “fast, decisive movement in this remember,” Sandler stated in a declaration, which referred to that a research keeps. George Mason did no longer have a report of court cases against Pober before February, Sandler said, however after it received the initial allegation, college officials obtained “several other lawsuits.” Pober changed into administrative go away, and the college ordered him to prevent interacting with students. A letter furnished with the aid of the former student indicates that George Mason decided to region Pober on administrative depart in mid-February.
“I even have constantly taken into consideration myself a trainer,” Pober said in his announcement. “As hard as it was to decide to retire from GMU, that choice turned into the proper one for the college and its forensics program.”One of the other court cases about Pober got here from a former member of George Mason’s speech crew – referred to as the forensics team – who alleged Pober made a sexual increase. However, the incident befell after the man graduated. The man stated he met with Pober waiting to talk about an education function.
“During what turned into imagined to be an enterprise dinner, Dr. Pober bought several beverages for the two people, made unwanted sexual advances a s soon as I became intoxicated, after which the following morning claimed he did not do not forget what passed off,” the man stated in an announcement to The Post. He spoke on the circumstance of anonymity due to privateness concerns.
The guy, who said he later worked as teaching for George Mason’s crew, filed a complaint with the college in March, 3 years after the alleged incident.
He stated he did no longer initially come forward because he did not consider he had grounds to invite George Mason to behave – he becomes neither a college worker on time nor a student. He determined to proportion his revel in after mastering that a person else had filed a complaint.