GENESEO FIRES PROFESSOR FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Associated Press
Section: LOCAL,  Page: B10

Date: Thursday, April 25, 1991

The State University College at Geneseo has dismissed a sociology professor for sexually harassing an 18-year-old freshman.


Vahank Dadrian, an internationally known expert on genocide, was notified of his discharge from the faculty by a letter Monday. The dismissal became effective Wednesday. He had been suspended since September and had not taught at the college near Rochester since last spring, officials said.


Ronald Satryb, vice president for student services and staff relations, said the student filed a formal complaint against Dadrian about a year ago. The school investigated and found substance to the allegation, Satryb said.


The school offered the 64-year-old professor a chance to resign, but Dadrian appealed the decision, Satryb said. The matter was submitted to binding arbitration earlier this month.


Arbitrator Carol Wittenberg found that Dadrian had harassed a female student on April 24, 1990, the day the professor returned to the school from several international conferences on genocide.


According to the complaint, Dadrian kissed the student on the lips after she helped him rehang a banner welcoming him back to school. Dadrian contended that the two had hugged to celebrate the successful hanging of the banner, followed by a kiss on his cheek by the student.


In making her decision, Wittenberg noted that another arbitrator had found Dadrian guilty of four charges of sexual harassment in 1981, but had allowed him to return to the classroom because the arbitrator believed that "Professor Dadrian had engaged in singular events that would not happen again."


After the 1981 hearing, about 600 people, including 100 faculty, signed petitions asking SUNY administrators to investigate the case further to "protect our students from further harassment by Professor Dadrian in the months and years to come."


Some students in 1981 voiced support for Dadrian, and contended that the professor's actions were the result of cultural differences. Dadrian is a native of Armenia.