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Bethune-Cookman: Profs used apartment for sex

Update: New AAUP response added, 10/29

Bethune-Cookman University officials have released a report alleging a group of four professors calling themselves the Nigerian Mafia kept an off-campus apartment where they took students for sex.

The unusually candid report was released this week in response to a report released last week by the American Association of University Professors, alleging the historically black university in Daytona Beach, Fla. violated due process in dismissing seven professors.

Responding to the AAUP report Monday, Bethune-Cookman officials said the faculty organization overlooked serious evidence, particularly against four faculty members accused of sexual harassment. The AAUP report contends the professors weren't fully apprised of the reasons for their ouster.

In support of their defense, Bethune-Cookman released a consultant's report. Among its findings:

"The four professors had publicly identified themselves as the "Nigerian Mafia" (several faculty members remembered the four professors joking about this in a faculty meeting and at other public functions);

"The four professors had an off-campus apartment where they took female students to have sex; one or more of the four professors would take nude photos of the female students at the apartment and threaten to release the photos on Facebook if the students revealed their improper actions to the University's administration."

University leaders said they had to act to protect students. Several organizations and individuals, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, have joined in with statements of support.

The report includes an allegation of attempted rape, and of grades for sex:

"A Social Sciences student confided in her Philosophy professor that Professor #2 had continued to harass her sexually. She stated that this incident occurred in her classes with him in front of the other students as well as at clubs where Professor #2 would grab at her and ask her to go with him. The student also alleged that Professor #2 had asked her for sex and offered her an "A" in exchange for sex."

Update: AAUP official Gwendolyn Bradley sent me the following response to Bethune-Cookman's announcement:

"While the racy accusations are getting the most coverage, the heart of the matter from the AAUP perspective is that the accused professors were denied virtually all aspects of standard academic due process--that time honored concept of having the trial before being found guilty. These professors were fired, based on hearsay and anonymous reports, without a full hearing."

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By Daniel de Vise  | October 26, 2010; 3:53 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Labor  | Tags:  Bethune Cookman professors; Bethune Cookman AAUP, Bethune Cookman sexual harassment, Bethune-Cookman University, professors kept apartment for sex  
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