Day after lawsuit, Ludlow’s role at Northwestern unclear moving forward

Ciara McCarthy and Ally Mutnick

Philosophy Prof. Peter Ludlow, whose alleged sexual assault of a Medill junior spurred a Title IX lawsuit filed Monday against Northwestern, is a candidate for a position at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the school confirmed Tuesday.

Rutgers did not confirm Ludlow had been offered or accepted a position.

“This was not brought to our attention by either the candidate or his employer. We are looking into this matter thoroughly including requesting all relevant information to fully evaluate his candidacy,” Rutgers spokesman Greg Trevor told The Daily in a statement Tuesday.

Leiter Reports, a philosophy blog run by University of Chicago Prof. Brian Leiter, said in November that Ludlow had accepted a senior position at Rutgers. The blog reported he would serve as the director of the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science.

Leiter confirmed the report to The Daily via email Tuesday night, saying the information came from both Ludlow and Rutgers and that in November, at the time of his post, the professor’s position was “not in doubt.”

Ludlow, who has taught at NU since 2008, implied in a public Facebook post in November that he would be going to Rutgers.

“I read this on Leiter, so it must be true,” he wrote, linking to the post.

Multiple Rutgers professors congratulated him on the new position on Facebook. Kristin Case, Ludlow’s attorney, declined to comment on his future employment.

Ludlow is teaching two 300-level philosophy courses this quarter. He taught at least one of these classes, Philosophy of Psychology, Tuesday afternoon as scheduled.

Ludlow was set to teach two additional philosophy courses Spring Quarter, but the philosophy department has since removed his scheduled classes from their website. As of early Tuesday morning, the philosophy department listed Ludlow as teaching a freshman seminar and 200-level class. Currently, the department website does not list Ludlow as a teaching any courses this spring. CAESAR no longer lists Ludlow’s freshman seminar, but the 200-level class was still listed as of Tuesday night.

Philosophy Prof. Sanford Goldberg, the chair of the department, directed requests for comment to University Relations.

(Updated: Student sues Northwestern, claiming University ignored sexual assault findings)

The student, a Medill junior, filed a lawsuit Monday against NU, claiming the University failed to act on her sexual assault complaint against Ludlow. The student says Ludlow sexually assaulted her after the two attended a downtown Chicago art show in February 2012. The professor gave her alcohol and refused several requests to take her back to Evanston. The student lost consciousness and woke up the next morning in his bed.

According to the lawsuit, NU’s Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention investigated the case and found Ludlow “engaged in unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances,” including sleeping with his arms around the student on the night in question. Case said in an email to the The Daily on Tuesday night she had no current knowledge of any criminal charges filed against Ludlow.

The lawsuit also alleges Ludlow violated NU’s recommendation to “avoid any behavior whatsoever that could be construed as retaliation against (the student).” In April 2012, the student’s attorney at the time sent a demand letter to Ludlow explaining his liabilities and requesting compensation for damages. In May, Ludlow denied the allegation of sexual assault and threatened to sue the student for defamation, according to the lawsuit. The student reported the incident to NU, but was told Ludlow’s actions were not retaliation, the lawsuit said. The University did not act after Ludlow allegedly threatened to sue the student.

The student’s attorney, Kevin O’Connor, said Monday night he would not comment on the case until he had spoken with his client. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The University has policies and protocols in place for sexual assault complaints filed against faculty. In its policy on sexual misconduct, the University stipulates the Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention investigates claims of sexual harassment involving faculty or staff. An investigator will review the evidence and determine whether the respondent has violated the policy.

The investigator provides conclusions and recommends action to the office of the faculty member’s department chair or dean. The final decision on any corrective action is made by that office in consultation with the director of the University’s sexual harassment prevention office.

In the lawsuit, the student says a committee created to determine disciplinary action against Ludlow recommended he be terminated but the University did not follow the committee’s suggested action.

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