Peter Ludlow, the Northwestern University philosophy professor accused by two students of sexual harassment and assault, has resigned in the middle of his termination proceedings. Ludlow had been the center of two contentious Title IX investigations. The allegations filed by two students—one undergraduate and one graduate—attracted intense scrutiny of the university and its handling of Title IX complaints. It also brought to light the larger problem of sexual harassment that seems to plague philosophy departments; from incidents at the University of Colorado to the University of Miami.
In 2012, a 19-year-old female student filed a complaint against Ludlow claiming that he had gotten her drunk and kissed and groped her she was passed out. The University found in the student’s favor, but despite their findings, the tenured Ludlow continued to teach and, apparently, was not disciplined at all. In 2014, that same student filed a lawsuit against Northwestern claiming the school violated Title IX. A federal judge ruled against the student, writing that the school “took timely, reasonable, and successful measures” after the complaint was filed.
In 2014, a graduate student accused Ludlow of sexual assault. In response to both accusations, Ludlow filed a Title IX complaint. The Daily Northwestern reports:
He argued the University invaded his privacy, defamed him and discriminated against him because of his gender during its investigations of him for sexual misconduct. The suit reveals the University also investigated Ludlow after a philosophy graduate student lodged a complaint in March that Ludlow had “non-consensual sex” with her. On Feb. 8, a federal judge dismissed all claims against all the defendants in the lawsuit.
Basically, Northwestern descended into a Title IX nightmare. The university finally got its house in order and, in March 2014, barred Ludlow from teaching and moved to terminate him. Ludlow resigned on Monday, days before Northwestern was going to fire him.
In a statement, Northwestern said that Ludlow’s behavior was “an affront to the standards” of the university and “regrets the pain that was caused by his actions.”
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