Ex-professor resigns from SJSU
Lewis Aptekar was scheduled to teach again after accusations of sexual harassment of a student in 2015, and campus protests
SAN JOSE » Lewis Aptekar, the San Jose State professor who faced multiple allegations of sexually harassing students in 2015, is leaving the university.
“I’m writing to let you know that, effective immediately, Dr. Lewis Aptekar has resigned from his faculty position,” Paul Cascella, interim dean of the College of Education, wrote Thursday in an email to faculty in the counselor education department.
The university will pay Aptekar $75,000 and will remove references to his suspension from his personnel file, according to a settlement reached with the university — a copy of which was obtained by the Mercury News.
Aptekar, 72, had alleged that the university violated his due process rights during an investigation into the sexual harassment claim against him, a claim the university denied. “This settlement is a compromise of disputed claims and is not an admission by any party of any liability,” the document says.
The professor, who has faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment in the last several years, had been scheduled to return to teaching this semester after a temporary suspension. But he was removed from the teaching roster after students and fellow professors
“I can’t believe it took this long, honestly. It feels surreal becausewe fought so hard.” — Valerie Lamb, a graduate student in the counselor education department
protested his return.
On Sept. 30, Aptekar sent a one-sentence resignation letter to the interim senior associate vice president of university personnel, Elizabeth Pugliese, saying he was stepping down “due to personal reasons.”
As part of the settlement, Aptekar’s resignation is irrevocable. He has also agreed not to accept any job offer within the California State University system.
According to the settlement, the university has agreed to provide Aptekar’s prospective employers only the date he was hired, the date he resigned, the position he held and his salary. But “because of free speech protections, the university cannot control information provided by non-administrators,” the settlement notes.
Under the settlement, Aptekar will retain faculty member access to the university’s library system.
Neither Aptekar nor his lawyer could be reached for comment on Thursday.
In 2016, the Mercury News revealed that Aptekar had remained the head of the counselor education department for nearly five months after the school concluded he sexually harassed a student. Later, it came to light that Aptekar had been accused of making sexually charged comments to students in 2014.
“I can’t believe it took this long, honestly,” said Valerie Lamb, a graduate student in the counselor education department who had organized a sit-in protesting Aptekar’s presence on campus. “It feels surreal because we fought so hard.”
“I’m relieved we won’t have to deal with this anymore, but I’m disappointed with the way it was handled,” Lamb added. “He wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last professor to do this, and I hope San Jose State will take initiative when they find a professor has sexually harassed a student.”
Lewis Aptekar has resigned his teaching position at San Jose State University.