ABA Journal


Law Schools

Law prof claims dean retaliated after he reported ‘creepy’ back rub, sexual flirting at party

Oct 24, 2013, 02:00 pm CDT


Guy touches woman's bare back. Women doesn't complain. Third party is creeped out and offended. Seems like Ku's problem to me.

By Fred on 2013 10 24, 2:42 pm CDT

The retaliation allegations aside, I wonder what the general policy is at law schools on sexual relationships between law professors and their law students? I would have thought this was prohibited most places, but it seems not to have been at these two schools.

By Hughly on 2013 10 24, 3:00 pm CDT

Law school is indeed worth the money if you're Mitchell. Good paycheck. And good backrubbing opprtunities it seems. If the offended were hiring partners, I'd be more forgiving.

By Guest on 2013 10 24, 3:22 pm CDT

It's not strange that this happened (if it did), just that it's thought newsworthy. I hope both Ku and Mitchell are happy at Case, since it's not likely that anyone else is going to recruit them for a while after this. Less salacious stories have ended lateral career oppportunities forever.

By Pushkin on 2013 10 24, 4:53 pm CDT

People, if' you wondered if those gunners in your classes were as socially inept as you suspected, here is proof.

By NoleLaw on 2013 10 24, 6:35 pm CDT

Put the facts of this story aside, the idea of law professors flirting at all is creepy.

By Yankee on 2013 10 24, 11:44 pm CDT

And then telling on each other! Very un-Ku, professor. You can take the gunner out of the law school...oh wait, you can't even do that.

By NoleLaw on 2013 10 24, 11:48 pm CDT

I'm sure the faculty would rather have bonuses than this level of personal attention from the dean. I wonder if he schmoozes major donors this same way?

By B. McLeod on 2013 10 24, 11:52 pm CDT

First of all, he was rubbing the back of an assistant dean, while her husband was apparently right there. Second the story says nothing about whether the woman complained. I would wager there are countless women who at one time have felt uncomfortable by actions of co-workers or superiors, but who have done nothing for fear of being maligned, misunderstood or simply because she would rather move on and forget it regardless of how uncomfortable she felt.

Clearly there is some history here that has been left out of the article - but if he's inappropriately flirting with married colleagues and if he had a sexual relationship with a student, then it is time for the school to do something about Mitchell.

By Mort on 2013 10 25, 3:05 pm CDT

You have been sCWRUed! As an alumni, I can definitely say that while there were some great professors, there were absolutely some creepy administrators.

By Dr Phun on 2013 10 25, 4:38 pm CDT

Since this story involves law school participants, it has great social interest, so I can't blame readers for warming up the popcorn. Probably most of us have known a creepy prof or to that we would have loved to see taken down a notch or two.

This matter is at the complaint stage, with just the bare claims to assess, but it remains to be seen how much jury appeal the evidence will have,

An important factor, though, is that retaliation is a stand-alone claim. A retaliation claim does not rest on the other claims (here, apparently, a hostile environment claim). Even if the woman had invited and enjoyed the back rub, if Ku made a report in honest good faith, albeit erroneous, retaliatory behavior is still actionable. A significant element of the claim here is that the provost directed Ku to discuss the matter with Mitchell.

By Been There on 2013 10 25, 5:54 pm CDT

Good for Ku to bring this sort of nastiness into the light so we can address it. This sort of thing never seems to do away:

Just think of poor Angela Merkel! Some years ago she had to endure an unwanted public groping and now the NSA is privately groping her communications.

By Paul the Magyar on 2013 10 26, 10:03 pm CDT

For the record, Merkel wasn't "groped", although that admittedly wasn't W's finest moment.

By Yankee on 2013 10 26, 10:14 pm CDT

Merkel wasn't groped. She and Bush were mugging for the camera. She was playing along.

By Fred on 2013 10 27, 1:53 am CDT

Ku did the right thing. It's much harder for the woman to "complain." Whether or not she complains is irrelevant as having your back caressed by a person in power puts the woman in a much more difficult situation than for Ku who is a witness to report it. Seems disingenuous of the law school to point out Mitchell does so much for women and diversity. Pedophiles often work for children's causes to get access; sexual harassers may also feel entitled because of all they do for women. (Let's not forget Bill Clinton, as much as it pains me to say it.)

By Santana on 2013 10 28, 4:53 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By B. McLeod on 2013 10 28, 11:29 pm CDT

Now that was totally on-topic as the post before. Shame be upon you, alleged "Moderator."

By B. McLeod on 2013 10 29, 7:26 am CDT

perhaps there is a need for an appellate moderator.

By defensive lawyer on 2013 10 29, 2:49 pm CDT

@12, 13, & 14 W. has been on both sides of this. I remember when my Congresswoman was all over him on national television following his 2007 State of the Union Address.

By MN Attorney on 2013 10 29, 9:28 pm CDT

Who's the real victim here?

By charlegman on 2013 10 30, 9:12 pm CDT

Right said Fred. Someone needs to mind his P's and Ku's.

By The Artist Formerly Known As Bakes on 2013 10 31, 2:55 am CDT

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