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Professor Accused of Sexual Harassment to Return to UCLA

LOS ANGELES ― Students, faculty and others demonstrated at the University of California, Los Angeles, against a settlement that will allow the return of a history professor who was accused of sexual harassment.

More than 75 people rallied Wednesday against the decision involving Mideast specialist Gabriel Piterberg, who was accused by two female graduate students, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

The accusers claim that over many years he made sexual comments, pressed himself against their bodies and forced his tongue into their mouths.

Piterberg did not concede any improper or unlawful conduct but agreed to pay a $3,000 fine, accept a suspension without pay for one quarter and take sexual harassment training, the Times said. He also faces restrictions on one-on-one meetings in his office and is barred from engaging in any “romantic” or “inappropriate” relationships with students.

During the protest, demonstrators marched through the UCLA campus, calling for Piterberg to be fired and for the school to crack down on sexual harassment.

Among the crowd was history department graduate student Scottie Hale Buehler, who said she had to speak out despite fear that it could jeopardize her academic career.

“You can get labeled a troublemaker, but if we don’t speak out we’re just perpetuating this culture of silence,” she said.

The accusations against Piterberg led to an internal UCLA investigation that ended in a settlement without reaching a conclusion or filing of Academic Senate charges, the Times said.

The settlement released Wednesday said it was intended to “avoid the cost, uncertainty and inconvenience of an administrative proceeding.” It was signed by Piterberg, his attorney and Vice Chancellor of Academic Personnel Carole Goldberg.

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