NU Prof Accused of Sexual Harassment Sues School

Peter Ludlow claims defamation against several school officials

A Northwestern University professor accused of sexual harassment by one of his students has sued the school and several officials for defamation.

Philosophy professor Peter Ludlow was accused by a student of fondling and propositioning her during an outing to an art show in downtown Chicago in February 2012. The sudent has sued the university for failing to aggressively follow up on her complaints, and is also suing Ludlow in Cook County circuit court.

But Ludlow's suit claims Joan Slavin, the director of the schools' Sexual Harassment Prevention Office, conducted a "flawed and one-sided investigation" into the student's complaint, and refused to accept evidence from eyewitnesses and security videos.

When media coverage about the case intensified and students planned to protest the professor's classes, Ludlow said he and the school mutually agreed that he wouldn't teach during the spring quarter, and that the school's official comment would be to say "Professor Ludlow is not teaching spring quarter."

But Ludlow says university relations vice president Alan Cubbage positioned the decision as a "leave of absence" to NBC Chicago, and later clarified that "he's just not assigned to teach a course next quarter," without explaining that it was a mutual decision.

School president Morton Schapiro is also named in the lawsuit for allegedly going off script by telling the Chicago Tribune that "[w]ith all the controversy and allegations out there, to have [Ludlow] teach in the spring wouldn't be the right thing to do.

Ludlow also says he was punished for a consensual relationship he had with a graduate student he didn't personally teach, which wasn't against school policy at the time.

Ludlow's suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages in an amount to be proven at trial.

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