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College finds Prof. Levi guilty of sexually inappropriate conduct

Professor of Anthropology Jay Levi has been barred from teaching fall term following an investigation into a formal Title IX complaint, brought in May 2019 under Carleton’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. Following the investigation, Levi was found to have engaged in “sexually inappropriate conduct” with a student. He is expected to return and teach in Winter Term 2020.

Levi was found guilty of sexually inappropriate conduct, which is distinguished from sexual harassment in the Carleton Sexual Misconduct Policy. The policy defines “sexually inappropriate conduct” as “unwelcome sexual conduct that may not rise to the level of sexual harassment. Conduct that may be considered sexually inappropriate may be isolated behavior not sufficiently serious to be sexual harass­ment under this policy. Sexually inappropriate conduct may include, but is not limited to, crude, obscene, or sexually offensive gestures or behavior, or unwelcome sexual comments or communication. For purposes of this definition, communication may be oral, written, or electronically transmitted.”

The specifics of Levi’s charge will be investigated further in future Carletonian reporting.

In an official statement from Carleton to the Carletonian, Dean of the College Beverly Nagel said that the formal investigation “relates to an incident that occurred during the 2016-2017 academic year,” and was formally reported in Spring of 2019. Nagel explained that this statement would not be publicly distributed, but would be provided upon inquiry.

Nagel also noted that outcomes of disciplinary investigations are usually kept confidential, but “because of the speculation and information floating around, we wanted to make sure, insofar as we could, that more accurate details and information were shared.”

A separate complaint against Levi was investigated during the 2016-2017 school year, after which “he was required to take a sabbatical and undergo college-mandated counseling and coaching,” according to the recent statement from Carleton.

In a Carletonian article published April 21, 2017 Nagel stated, “No Carleton faculty member has been suspended for this upcoming year.”

In the same article, Levi stated, “I have decided to extend the sabbatical I was already scheduled to take in the spring to also include the winter and fall.”

The Carletonian is currently investigating this inconsistency.

Nagel added that the two complaints concerned different incidents, and the statement notes that “there have been no formal complaints against Professor Levi with respect to actions after the 2016-2017 academic year.”

In addition to Levi’s mandatory leave of absence, Nagel said, the college has discontinued his off-campus study program and has no plans to reinstate it.

The College’s official statement also asserts that Levi will not be permitted to teach any courses required for the Sociology/Anthropology major, “so that no student is required to take any course from him.” Nagel says the decision concerning Levi’s eligibility to teach first-year Argument and Inquiry (A&I) seminars “has not been made yet.”

For Ross Grogan-Kaylor ’21, who last spring advocated against Levi teaching an A&I, this is a possibility he “really doesn’t like.”

If Levi were to teach an A&I in the future, as he had been slated to do this fall before the Title IX complaint was upheld, “some freshmen would have no choice in whether they took a class of his or not.”

Nagel said that first years “would not be forced to take an A&I” taught by Levi because they could select other A&Is during summer pre-registration or switch into another A&I during the registration period.

She did not respond to the question of whether or not the college would inform incoming students of Levi’s Title IX violation before the end of registration.

According to Registrar Emy Farley, Levi’s A&I was full by the time the investigation concluded.

One parent posted on the Carleton parents’ Facebook page that her son had been assigned to Levi’s A&I, but was notified on August 14 that the class had been cancelled.

While Aaron Forman ’21, a former student of Levi’s, “fully trust[s] President Poskanzer and the administration to make the correct decision” regarding which classes Levi should teach, Grogan-Kaylor is “100% adamant in believing Levi should not teach an A&I,” and said he “would support student action to disallow Levi from teaching A&Is.”

Still, Grogan-Kaylor “would not support attempts to fire Levi” without knowing more details about the specific allegations against him.

According to the official college statement regarding Levi’s absence this fall, “the wellbeing of our students and community is our greatest priority, and we are committed to ensuring the Carleton campus is a respectful environment where all members of our college community feel comfortable.”

Levi will return to the classroom next term, Winter 2020, and is listed on the Hub as teaching Introduction to Anthropology and Anthropology of Humor during that term.

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