Indiana Daily Student

‘Start of a much longer fight’: IU students rally after professor Murray McGibbon resigns

<p>Rallygoers stand in front of the IU Auditorium on Friday afternoon. Students organized to call for IU to fire associate professor Murray McGibbon, but IU confirmed McGibbon resigned shortly before the rally began.</p>

Rallygoers stand in front of the IU Auditorium on Friday afternoon. Students organized to call for IU to fire associate professor Murray McGibbon, but IU confirmed McGibbon resigned shortly before the rally began.

Students celebrated the resignation of associate professor Murray McGibbon at a Friday afternoon rally but said his decision to leave IU wasn’t justice. Now they’re organizing to demand the university reform its Title IX process.

McGibbon resigned after the Office of Institutional Equity received new sexual harassment allegations this week, IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said in an email Friday. The office, which handles Title IX complaints, had placed McGibbon on administrative leave, Carney said. 

McGibbon chose to leave IU, effective immediately, Carney said. IU confirmed McGibbon’s departure an hour and a half before the planned 2 p.m. rally, which was originally meant to demand IU fire him.

Alumni came forward with additional allegations regarding McGibbon after the Indiana Daily Student published an investigation Monday detailing years of sexual harassment complaints against him. One complaint resulted in IU finding McGibbon exhibited a “concerning pattern.”

“This is a start of a much longer fight that has to happen at IU,” junior Josh Hogan told the crowd of more than 80 that gathered in front of the IU Auditorium and theater building.

“Today was good, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that our Title IX process is designed to protect aggressors,” he said.

Eliza Pavalko, vice provost for faculty and academic affairs, determined more than a year ago that McGibbon sexually harassed Hogan when he was a freshman, and McGibbon “exhibited a pattern of singling out some students and giving them undue attention,” according to a 2019 decision letter following a Title IX investigation.

Junior Caroline Santiago Turner called McGibbon being allowed to resign instead of IU firing him “cowardly.”

“It’s a relief that students are now out of immediate danger,” Santiago Turner said.“But in my opinion, it’s not justice.” 

After Hogan spoke, Santiago Turner read a statement from Jamie Anderson, a graduate student in the department who accused McGibbon of sexual harassment in August. Anderson’s statement said the idea that McGibbon was allowed to resign and “the university gets to pat themselves on the back for taking this seriously” was insulting.

“Forgive me if I still don’t feel satisfied,” Anderson wrote. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be.”

Junior Ben Ballmer, Hogan’s close friend and roommate, urged people to challenge the tenure system, Title IX and IU’s handling of sexual misconduct reports. 

“We shouldn’t let IU off the hook,” Ballmer said. 

Students created a petition Friday morning — initially calling for McGibbon’s removal — that Ballmer said has since been changed to demand IU radically reform its Title IX system. 

A few mothers of IU theater students also attended the rally, saying they were there for the parents who could not be.

“It’s just sickening to think you don’t know who all he’s targeted,” one said.

As Hogan finished speaking and walked away from the podium, the crowd, standing in socially distanced chalk circles, cheered.

“You’re a hero!” someone yelled.

Caroline Anders contributed reporting.

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