Tuesday, November 16, 1999

UH student accuses
professor of harassment

By Susan Kreifels


A gay student at the University of Hawaii-Manoa accused a faculty member yesterday of sexually harassing him after a confrontation Wednesday that began after a meeting of the Manoa Faculty Congress.

Lance Kawika Collins, vice chairman of the Student Caucus at UH-Manoa, accused Loren Gautz, a tenured associate professor in biosystems engineering, of the harassment.

Collins has filed a complaint with UH-Manoa Student Services. Alan Yang, dean of student services who will oversee the investigation of the complaint, has 45 days to give the report to Dean Smith, senior vice president at UH-Manoa, who will determine if action should be taken against Gautz.

Gautz said he was not filing any action with the faculty union but would not comment further.

The Manoa Faculty Congress was discussing changes in core curriculum and foreign language requirements when, according to Collins and student government leaders, Gautz yelled out "That's bull-----, that's a myth," when a language professor testified that studying a language was a way to understand a culture and its people.

Collins, who is part Hawaiian, said after the meeting that he told Gautz to "Go f------ back to college and get a f------ education because you missed it the first time," referring to Gautz's comments during the meeting about language requirements.

Collins said he walked away but Gautz and several other faculty members followed him, even after he yelled several times to "F--- off and leave me alone."

Then, Gautz unfastened his belt buckle and shouted "You want to f--- me? I'll f--- you. Let's f---," according to a statement read at a press conference yesterday.

Michelle Yu, a Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman, said a police officer on the scene determined there was no basis for a sexual harassment complaint.

Collins said he plans to file a civil rights complaint with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission and the federal government.

"I don't feel safe," Collins said. "I don't want him (Gautz) or his friends around me."

Students hung bright yellow fliers around campus yesterday with Gautz's picture and their accusations.

"Is there safe space for students?" the flier asked.

Dean Smith said a university is an "appropriate forum for the exchange of ideas. ... However, when exchanges become threatening and personal, there are appropriate processes to deal with that, and they are now in play."

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