Derrida Papers Controvery Update: The U of Florida “Knew Nothing” About Sexual Harassment Sanctions

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The Gainesville Sun reported:

A vampire expert at the University of Florida stands at the center of a bizarre tale about which UF officials say they only recently learned.

Dragan Kujundzic, who was ousted as chair of UF’s department of Germanic and Slavic studies just nine months after being hired, was sanctioned by the University of California, Irvine, in 2004 amid allegations that he sexually harassed a graduate student, according to court documents.

A UCI investigator found that the relationship between Kujundzic, then 43, and the student, then 25, was consensual. But Kujundzic was still banned from campus for two quarters without pay because he violated a university policy that bars professors from dating students they supervise, according to court documents.

Kujundzic, who remains a tenured professor at UF, was sued for sexual harassment by the student in 2004, and settled the case in January for an undisclosed sum. The University of California was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Michael Gorham, who chaired the UF search committee that recommended Kujundzic, said the committee knew nothing of the allegations. In conversations with Kujundzic’s references – along with other colleagues that he hadn’t listed as references – the committee failed to learn of a series of sanctions UCI had levied against Kujundzic, Gorham said. The sanctions included a demotion and mandated sexual harassment counseling, according to court documents.

“This information was nowhere near the radar screen of the search committee,” Gorham said.

Kyle Cavanaugh, UF’s vice president of human resources, said the university is working to develop a more “systematic” method of checking into the backgrounds of applicants.

“There’s always a question of the level of due diligence that you did,” Cavanaugh said. “We, as well as other employers, are always trying to do a better job.” “But at the end of the day, you have to go ahead and make an offer, and you’ve tried to cover your bases,” he added. …

Red the entire article here.

To recap, Derrida tried use his papers as leverage to force UC Irvine to drop its investigation of Kujundzic. When this failed, Kujundzic secured another job with the help of strong references who never disclosed the sexual harassment issue at U.C. Irvine. The above linked article noted:

Kujundzic, whom one UF colleague described as an accomplished scholar, was hired at UF in August 2005 with the stated purpose of putting the department of German and Slavic studies on the map. At a salary of $95,000 – he now makes $98,110 – Kujundzic was granted tenure upon hire – a process that requires approval of UF’s board of trustees.

Kujundzic was promised he’d be permitted to bring on three new faculty members if state resources permitted, and his wife, Brigitte Weltman-Aron, was offered a position teaching French in the department of Romance languages and literatures.

Kujundzic came to UF with references from well-respected scholars, including J. Hillis Miller, a UCI distinguished research professor and the son of a former UF president of the same name. Kamuf, a friend to Derrida, also served as a reference.

Not exactly a stirring endorsement of the mores of “liberal” academia, at least not if you think sexual harassment within the context of asymmetical power relationships is a problem.

–Ann Bartow

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0 Responses to Derrida Papers Controvery Update: The U of Florida “Knew Nothing” About Sexual Harassment Sanctions

  1. Podshaia says:

    FYI, court records indicate that the Derrida archive case has not yet been dropped.

  2. Podshaia says:

    In response to my own previous postings about the LA Times article, I would just like to say that I think the reporter – who was certainly subject to very strict limitations on space, content and background materials – deserves credit for getting the word out there about this case. Based on the Gainesville Sun’s portrayal of UFL’s treatment of the incident, I’m guessing the chances that women in Florida would had learned about possible risks would have been slim without LAT coverage.

  3. Pingback: Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » Derrida Papers Sexual Harassment Controversy Update

  4. JCBarre says:

    It is inaccurate to say that the Derrida archives have been denied UCI because of the Dragan Kujundzic controversy. In 2003 already, Jacques Derrida hald told the head of UCI’s library that only his American archives would be entrusted to UCI.
    UCI claims that it was entitled to ALL of the Derrida archives, including those that the French philosopher was reserving for other sources.

  5. ego2alternative says:

    this website will cast a bit more light on this “affair.”

  6. Pingback: Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » Derrida Papers Sexual Harassment Controvery Posts Draw Comments

  7. Pingback: Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » Another Update on the Derrida Papers/Kujundzic Sexual Harassment Controversy