SIMONE VIRZI — News Writer
Southern has been renovating its library and dorms and has been building a new business school. However, students and the general public alike have recently been focusing on a sexual harassment lawsuit for an alleged incident that occurred on campus.
As other media outlets have been reporting, music professor David Chevan was accused of sexually harassing student Wendy Wyler—Wyler is now suing Southern.
According to the Associated Press, she claims that Chevan “engaged in harassment that began with him calling her ‘sexy’ and making other comments, and escalated to him leading her into a small storage room and propositioning her. She said she became fearful, anxious and depressed, dropping classes and her participation in bands.”
The Associated Press also reported Wyler is claiming Chevan, a married man, told her in the past he had an affair with another student.
Even though Wyler reported the harassment case to the university, Chevan is still employed at Southern.
The Associated Press reported that “When Wyler expressed concern that Chevan would return in the fall despite the investigation’s finding, a university official said, ‘Welcome to the world of academia,’ according to the lawsuit.”
Stephan Seegar, Wyler’s attorney, said the goal of the lawsuit is to “consider having [Chevan] removed” from Southern and to “have the school revisit the case.”
Seegar also said he wants to make sure his “client is safe and secure” and that Chevan cannot cause harm to any other students. They will also be seeking “injunction relief,” or money.
The sexual harassment occurred until about March of last year, according to Seegar.
The Associated Press reported, “Chevan told the university investigator he was not trying to become emotionally intimate with Wyler and was acting only as her therapist but acknowledged he crossed boundaries he should not have, according to the report. He refused to explain why he chose the closet instead of his office for a private conversation,” which is mentioned in a report filed with the university.
Chevan’s attorney, William Dow III, said anyone can make allegations in a lawsuit and that they have to be proven in court, according to the Associated Press.
“He continues to be a significant contributor to the music department at Southern,” Dow said, declining to comment further. The university and the attorney general’s office declined to comment as well.
Grad student Alex Gil said she had never had Chevan as a professor but a couple of her friends did. She referred to him as a “creep.”
“Regardless whether or not he did it, he should be removed from the school,” she said.
Marisa Frazzino, a psychology major, said she heard about the lawsuit after watching the news coverage on TV.
“I was extremely surprised and shocked that it happened on Southern’s campus,” she said.
Frazzino said the way the university has handled the case changes the way she looks at Southern.
“I would hope that Southern takes the safety of their students seriously, and if this teacher is guilty, then Southern isn’t protecting their students because he was not put on a leave of absence,” she said. “I just hope the administration learns they need to fix some things, like how they respond to these kinds of accusations.”
However, Frazzino said the lawsuit does not change the way she looks at her own professors.
“One person does not represent a population,” Frazzino said. “Southern as a whole is loving and supportive.”
Seegar said he could not comment regarding whether the case would go to federal court or if it would be resolved out of court. He also said he has not dealt with a teacher/student sexual harassment case before, but he has dealt with other sexual harassment cases.
Southern faces lawsuit
SIMONE VIRZI — News Writer