Northwestern University on Thursday morning issued a clarification to earlier statements, saying embattled professor Peter Ludlow is not on a leave of absence after all.
He just isn’t going to teach.
Ludlow is the tenured philosophy professor accused by a student of fondling and propositioning her during an outing to an art show in downtown Chicago in February 2012. The student has sued the University for failing to aggressively follow up on her complaints, even after a school investigation confirmed almost all of her allegations. She also is suing Ludlow in Cook County circuit court.
The University on Wednesday evening confirmed that Ludlow was not going to teach any classes in the spring quarter, which begins March 31. Ludlow had canceled the last two classes of the winter term after angry students promised to stage a sit-in in his classroom. Those same students staged a march to the offices of the College of Arts and Sciences last week.
"The University was concerned that potential disruptions of the class might create problems, not just for his course, but other classes as well,” spokesman Alan Cubbage told NBC Chicago. "Students who were enrolled in his class -- I think it was about 12 -- will be allowed to register for other courses even though the registration period is officially closed."
While Cubbage said Ludlow was on a leave of absence, he clarified the professor’s status on Thursday morning.
"It turns out Prof. Ludlow is not on a leave of absence, he's just not assigned to teach a course next quarter," Cubbage said.
Ludlow’s attorney, Kristin Case, confirmed the professor would not be teaching.
"I can only say that agreement was reached mutually between the University and Dr. Ludlow, and that he is still employed by NU," she said. "This decision is in no way punitive in nature."
Asked if Ludlow was essentially being paid to not do his job, Cubbage deferred. "He’s still employed by the University," he said. "I’ll decline to comment on his pay status, as that’s a personnel matter."
Ludlow has filed a response to the student's suit, denying the allegations and stating that she was the real aggressor.