Alec Klein no longer at NU following harassment allegations


(Daily file photo by Meghan White)

Alec Klein at an event in 2012.

Kristina Karisch and Ally Mauch

Alec Klein, the former director of the Medill Justice Project, is no longer employed by Northwestern University following harassment allegations and an investigation into his behavior, according to a Friday email from interim associate vice president for equity Sarah Wake obtained by The Daily.

Klein said in a text message to The Daily that he voluntarily resigned from the University, effective today.

“I believe it is in the best interests of all involved as I pursue other endeavors,” Klein said in the text.

In the email, Wake said following Klein’s departure he will not be present on campus, attend University events or have contact with any NU students, staff or the complainants identified in the investigation. She added that there will be no appeal process and that the “matter is considered closed.”

A University spokesman said in a statement that Northwestern concluded its investigation into Klein’s behavior in June. He confirmed that Klein is no longer employed by the University.

In February, former Medill School of Journalism students and employees sent an open letter to Northwestern administrators accusing Klein of “harassing” and “predatory” behavior. In March, the group of women, calling themselves “Medill Me Too,” announced in another letter that 19 additional women came forward to them alleging similar experiences with Klein.

Klein took a leave of absence in February, pending the results of the University’s investigation into the allegations. In a statement to The Daily about the initial letter, Klein categorically denied the allegations against him.

The Medill Justice Project will continue to operate with other Medill faculty members in charge, according to a University spokesman.

In a Friday statement sent to Medill students, interim Dean Charles Whitaker said the school remains committed to the Medill Justice Project and teaching investigative reporting.

Medill will launch a search for a replacement for Klein and has formed an advisory committee “that would build on Medill’s tradition of training the next generation of award-winning investigative reports,” Whitaker said in the statement.

The University led an investigation into Klein’s behavior several years ago, but the investigation had not “substantiated” the complaint brought forward by a former employee, University spokesman Al Cubbage said in a February statement. Cubbage, who has since retired, released an apology to Klein’s accusers in July.

“Northwestern University apologizes to our current and former students and former employees for the experiences that they went through,” Cubbage said in the July statement. “Their decisions to come forward with their complaints undoubtedly were not easy ones, and we commend them for having the courage to do so.”

This article was updated at 3:22 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Friday with information from a University spokesperson and Medill Dean Charles Whitaker.

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Twitter: @kristinakarisch

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