Thursday, March 6, 2008

Kissing Hand and Sexual Harassment

"MIYAZAKI -- A professor at Miyazaki Municipal University was hit with a three-month suspension over allegations that he sexually harassed a female student by kissing her hand and sending her heart-shaped icons by e-mail, it has been learned.

"The 49-year-old professor has taken legal action in the Miyazaki District Court demanding that the punishment be cancelled. According to a lawsuit filed on Feb. 21, the professor, whose name has been withheld, sent the female student e-mails that contained heart icons between January and March 2006. In March that year, when the student and teacher went on a seminar trip, he reportedly kissed the student's hand inside a bus.

"The professor has admitted responsibility for his actions, but denies that they were of a sexual nature.

""They were actions done out of affection, as if I were treating my daughter, and were not sexual," the professor said. He is demanding that the suspension against him be annulled and is demanding about 4.4 million yen in compensation and his salary withheld during his suspension period.

"The professor's actions were uncovered in October last year when the female student approached a campus consultation service. The university's disciplinary committee ruled that the professor had caused the female student psychological and mental suffering, and damaged social trust in the university, and handed him a suspension from February to May this year.

"University officials defended the punishment.

""The facts will be made clear in the court case. The disciplinary action was carried out appropriately," said a representative of the university's planning and administration division. "

By Mainichi Shimbun (3/6/2008), Link to article (last visited 3/6/2008)

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