SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A Bay Area professor who sexually harassed one of his students is being allowed back in the classroom.
San Jose State University is allowing the professor to return. There is sharp criticism of the way it was handled by the university as well as allegations of a cover-up.
Professor Lewis Aptekar will be returning to the classroom this fall after serving a suspension for sexually harassing a female student in 2015.
He will be teaching graduate students in the Education Department at Sweeney Hall.
Female students are not pleased.
KPIX 5 asked student Isabelle Tam, “Would you feel comfortable being in his classroom?”
She replied, “Definitely not. No… You know just because there are other people around, it’d be okay. But, I mean it probably wouldn’t be okay. But I just would not feel comfortable, plain and simple.”
A university investigation found Aptekar inappropriately asked a female student if she was single and told her that he would like to date her.
A separate sexual harassment allegation from 2014 by two other students was not upheld. The university said it investigated, but said they were not able to substantiate those claims.
A statement issued Wednesday by San Jose State University reads, “Professor Aptekar’s administrative leave has been lifted and he is slated to teach two graduate-level courses this fall. Professor Aptekar will not be serving as an academic adviser to students; he has elected a reduced workload as a first step toward retirement.”
But fellow professor, Dr. Jason Laker, who says he’s been harassed by the university for publicizing the case, says putting Aptekar back in the classroom is an outrage.
Laker said, “Just when I think I’ve seen the biggest surprise, something else happens that’s even more shocking and this was no exception. It’s disgusting.”