An earlier version of this article stated that Castano oversaw the hiring of a postdoctoral fellow with whom he was in a relationship, according to the account by The Stanford Daily. According to the Daily, the hiring was decided by a faculty vote, of which Castano recused himself.
A previous version of this article stated that Rhonnie Jaus would be new Title IX Coordinator for The New School, as announced in an email sent to all New School students on Dec. 11. After this article was published, the university provided an update on Jaus’s role. Jaus will be the vice president for Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Compliance. Jennifer Francone will continue to oversee issues relating to Title IX as assistant vice president for Student Equity and Access.
The student governance body of The New School for Social Research (NSSR) has released a statement charging the university administration with mishandling a sexual misconduct investigation.
The Graduate Faculty Student Senate’s (GFSS) statement follows on the heels of a story published in The Stanford Daily, about accusations against former NSSR psychology department co-chair Emanuele Castano.
The Daily, the campus newspaper of Stanford, published an article titled “Resigning amid Title IX investigation, psychologist joins Stanford Medicine” on Dec. 8.
The article describes Castano as having a “long-standing reputation for pursuing and harassing students.” The Daily cites five anonymous graduate students in NSSR’s psychology department as its sources.
The New School Free Press has not independently verified the accounts of the article.
According to the Daily, The New School opened a Title IX investigation on Castano after an undergraduate student filed a complaint. The student said they felt pressured to continue a sexual relationship with Castano, as he was their professor, advisor, and department chair.
The student said they were sexually harassed by Castano in their final semester as an undergraduate, during spring semester 2017.
According to the Daily, as well as the statement from GFSS, Castano resigned from his position at The New School on Oct. 17.
The article states that NSSR psychology students approached the Title IX committee in mid-September. The students were told that Castano would not be removed from his position “unless he demonstrated a pattern of sexual misconduct,” according to The Daily article.
Stanford suspended Castano pending investigation, shortly after The Daily article was posted.
According to a letter from Jennifer Francone, assistant vice president for Student Success and Equity, The New School considers the matter closed, as Castano has resigned. The letter, obtained by The Stanford Daily, was sent to the undergraduate student who filed the Title IX complaint.
NSSR’s Graduate Faculty Student Senate stated that Castano is still being paid by The New School, as his resignation is not in effect until Dec. 31, 2017. “If Castano is still on the New School payroll, regardless of his official resignation date, he should still be under the purview of Title IX, and the adjudication should be allowed to resolve so we have a final declaration on the matter,” the statement reads.
The university provided this comment through the office of Communications and Media Relations:
“After a thorough investigation by the university, Emanuele Castano submitted his resignation. He has not and will not return to The New School. While we are not able to comment further on this confidential personnel matter, we want to be clear that sexual harassment and misconduct have no place at The New School. We take our responsibility in these matters very seriously and have clear policies and procedures in place that we follow stringently. A review by an independent law firm confirmed that we strictly adhered to these standards.”
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in institutions that receive federal funding, and also covers matters of sexual harassment and assault in these institutions. According to Know Your IX, a political advocacy group, “Under Title IX, schools are legally required to respond and remedy hostile educational environments and failure to do so is a violation that means a school could risk losing its federal funding.”
On Dec. 11, New School students received an email from New School administration signed by David Van Zandt, president; Tim Marshall, provost and Maya Wiley, vice president of Social Justice.
The letter announced the hiring of Rhonnie Jaus as vice president for Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Compliance, effective Jan. 2, 2018.
Jaus was the Title IX Coordinator as Adelphi University, and was formerly the executive chief of the Sex Crimes and Crimes Against Children Division in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.
This new appointment is “to ensure that we are moving forward with the strongest support and protections for students, faculty, and staff,” according to the email. Jennifer Francone is currently The New School’s Title IX Coordinator.
The letter announced that administration will be conducting a review into its policies and practices, as well as creating training and awareness programs to better equip New School community members to handle matters of sexual misconduct.
Photo by The New School Free Press