SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A group of San Jose State students gathered Tuesday night to celebrate the resignation of a professor who sexually harassed a student in 2015.
Dr. Lewis Aptekar resigned from his faculty position in October.
“Recently, this campus has been under fire from the Aptekar case,” said San Jose State student Ashley Rose Sanchez. “We had a big involvement in him resigning, forcing his resignation. Our petition accumulated over 500 signatures in two days, and over a thousand in about a week.”
Sanchez has help create a student group against sexual harassment because of the Aptekar case and is pledging to do more.
“We’re trying to give people the opportunity, if you want to talk to us,” she said. “We’re your age, almost all of us have been victims of sexual harassment and we’re here for you. You will be believed. If you want to go forward, we’re here to fight for you.”
The group believes there are other student victims of harassment who have yet to come forward.
“I think this organization is really critical for those students to have voices,” said SJS student Valerie Lamb.
Lamb, a graduate student in the counselor education department who had organized a sit-in protesting Aptekar’s presence on campus, told the San Jose Mercury News in October that the school needs to do better when a student complains about harassment.
“He wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last professor to do this,” she told the paper. “I hope San Jose State will take initiative when they find a professor has sexually harassed a student.”
Professor Jason Laker agrees.
“I think we need to take advantage of the fact that there’s so much attention to these issues in all different sectors including higher education,” he said.
“I would have hoped at a school as diverse and that has so much history of activism as San Jose State… I would have expected far better”