A gay professor has been fired after he was accused of sexual harassment by a male student he told he would ‘ride hard’ academically.
Rob Latham, a tenured English professor at the University of California-Riverside, was voted out by the board of regents on 20 January.
The evidence of alleged verbal harassment submitted by the provost’s office was the following communication between Latham and the unnamed student.
‘You’re an intellectual thoroughbred, kiddo, and I’ve mentored very few of those in my career,’ Latham said.
‘I have to resist the impulse to ride you too hard too soon. If you’ll forgive the equine metaphor.’
But Latham said the charges, brought by a ‘disgruntled’ student and his girlfriend, should have been settled through informal mediation and accused the board of ‘rank homophobia.’
‘Suffice to say it is transparently obvious that, if a heterosexual man had made the exact same statement, no lewd implication would ever have been inferred,’ he wrote in a post on the Academe blog.
‘The rhetoric of UCR’s charging documents and administration counsel’s briefs was rife with homophobic language and assumptions, including the myth that gay men are always “on the make,” unable to relate to other males in any way except sexually.’
Latham was also accused of sharing drugs with students.
The English department responded to Latham’s blog with the following statement:
‘We stand with our graduate students, and those who came forward, filed complaints and supported each other through this difficult process.
‘We are committed to moving forward with our students, and to working together to repair any and all harm done to our community and to our campus.’