Two former students have filed a lawsuit against the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, alleging they didn’t do anything to stop a former professor from assaulting, bullying and raping them.
According to the lawsuit, Gary Gang Xu specifically targeted female Chinese students, who frequently depended on the university for their visa status.
The lawsuit centers around Xu’s relationship with an undergraduate student, Xingjian Sun. They first met in the spring of 2013 and he agreed to be Sun’s instructor for an independent study course. The suit claims Xu berated Sun, kept her away from her friends and told her to keep their relationship a secret. He also allegedly raped her, beat her and threatened her family.
The lawsuit further alleges that Xu forced Sun to have an abortion when she bcame pregnant with his child. Sun became depressed and attempted suicide twice.
Xu was a tenured professor in the Department of East Languages and Cultures. He resigned last year, two years after the university discovered that he violated a no-contact directive involving a student he had an inappropriate relationship with.
The lawsuit argues that the university didn’t properly respond to what they knew about Xu’s actions. It claims that the university knew about the allegations against Xu long before they did anything about it.
“I’ve spoken to a number of faculty, and they certainly were well aware of the misconduct of Gary Xu over a long period,” Ann Olivarius, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said. “Many of the faculty said to me that they were very upset that nothing had been done.”
A spokesperson for the university made the following statement:
“The University investigates and takes appropriate action whenever conduct is reported that may jeopardize or impact the safety or security of our students or others. The current administration is reviewing and revising disciplinary processes to allow us to take quicker and more forceful action when employment misconduct is proven.