ERIE, Pa. (CN) – An Edinboro University professor passed out Playboy magazines in class, referred to students as “Brokeback buddies” and retaliated against a male student for rebuffing his advances, the student claims in Federal Court.
Recent graduate Cameron Aulner has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against William Chandler, a journalism professor at the university in Edinboro, Pa.
Aulner claims Chandler constantly referred to “Brokeback Mountain,” a movie about a love affair between two cowboys, and asked Aulner and his classmate, “Why don’t you have a Brokeback moment with your hunting buddy?”
The professor also rationalized his decision to pass out copies of Playboy and other pornographic magazines to students, claiming pornography “is a means of communication,” the lawsuit states.
Aulner claims Chandler repeatedly asked him out on dates, but he turned the professor down. Aulner, who is heterosexual, says he eventually agreed to a date because he “feared that declining the invitation would affect his grade,” but he later canceled.
Aulner allegedly complained to several university officials about Chandler’s behavior. Administators found “sufficient evidence” to support his claim, but failed to discipline Chandler, according to the lawsuit.
Though Chandler stopped speaking to Aulner after the complaints, he allegedly stood “very close” to the student in the hallways and “hovered over him in the computer lab.” Aulner says he frequently found himself alone with Chandler in the bathroom and elevator, causing him to fear for his safety.
Aulner claims the administration knows that Chandler has a “long history of sexual harassment and retaliation,” including his being removed as campus radio station advisor due to complaints.
He seeks damages from Chandler, Edinboro University and three university officials, including President Jeremy Brown.
He is represented by Joshua Friedman in Larchmont, N.Y.