Students at UCLA protested a history class on Monday taught by a professor accused of sexual assault, according to the Daily Bruin.
Two graduate students reported that history professor Gabriel Piterberg had sexually harassed them in 2013, even forcing his tongue into their mouths.
The protest was led by members of the Bruin Consent Coalition and Bruins Against Sexual Harassment. They chanted and carried signs calling for the termination of Piterberg employment in hopes of disrupting the class so students would know about the allegations against Piterberg. And disrupt they did—Just 20 minutes in, Piterberg dismissed the class.
The suit from the graduate students was settled in 2016, and Piterberg was suspended without pay during the 2014 spring semester.
Piterberg resigned his role as director of the UCLA’s Near Eastern Studies in May 2015. He had to go to sexual harassment training, isn't allowed to meet with students alone anymore, and doesn't have full access to his office on weekends. It's worth asking—If a professor has to be restricted in all these ways to keep students safe, should he even be allowed to teach at the university?
Some students coming out of the class after the protest told the Daily Bruin they would not have known about the sexual assault claims were it not for the protest, but others thought the protests were disruptive to students just trying to learn.
Either way, UCLA (and most other universities) clearly have a lot of work to do in terms of investigating and punishing sexual assault.