UGA professor loses tenure after public sex with student

Regents deny appeal of celebrated art teacher

Saturday, Aug 17, 2013 12:22 PM
Last updated 7:02 PM
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ATHENS, Ga. -- The state Board of Regents has denied a University of Georgia art professor’s appeal of his tenure revocation for having public sex with a student.

UGA administrators began a rare tenure revocation process earlier this year against nationally known painter James Barsness for having sex in a public place with a student under his supervision at UGA’s Costa Rica 2012 Maymester study abroad program, which UGA administrators said was a violation of UGA’s harassment policy and other university and state Board of Regents policies.

The Board of Regents is the appointed group that sets policy for UGA and other state public colleges and universities.

A faculty committee appointed to act as a sort of jury in the case against Barsness rendered a split decision when it reported its findings to former UGA President Michael Adams in May.

All five committee members agreed Barsness had violated the UGA Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy by having sex with a student under his supervision, according to documents the university released under an open records request.

The sex was consensual, the committee concluded, though both parties “were under the influence of alcohol and/or potentially behavior-altering medication,” according to their May 2 report to Adams.

Barsness violated the UGA harassment policy, committee members agreed, but did not agree that the professor had violated other policies about academic integrity, neglect of duty and disruption of academic programs.

Committee members also did not agree on what sanctions Barsness should face. Two were in favor of tenure revocation, but three argued for lesser sanctions, noting mitigating factors such as Barsness’ “stellar reputation for teaching and research,” his previous positive record and evident remorse, and undisclosed medical issues.

But the UGA president is not bound to follow the recommendations of the faculty committee in a tenure revocation.

“I have great respect for the committee process, but I disagree with, and am disappointed in, the conclusions in this report,” Adams wrote in a May 13 letter to Barsness. “Upon review I have determined that public sex with a student under one’s direction and control in a UGA program merits termination. It is my judgment that the charges were sustained and that your employment relationship with UGA, including tenure, should be terminated as of this date.”

Regents, meeting in Atlanta, upheld Adams’ decision in a Wednesday meeting.

The tenure revocation proceeding was the second for UGA in about three years.

In 2010, administrators moved to take away comparative literature professor Dezso Benedek’s tenure.

But a faculty panel recommended against tenure revocation and Adams upheld the committee decision.

Benedek has filed suit in federal court, alleging that university officials were retaliating against him in violation of Constitutional guarantees of free speech.

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KSL
151339
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KSL 08/17/13 - 12:34 pm
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1
Well, isn't that special!

Well, isn't that special! Should the tuition for that extracurricular exercise be increased or decreased?

Sweet son
12133
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Sweet son 08/17/13 - 11:57 am
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LOL!

Should have said they were posing for an artist to paint them!

t3bledsoe
14291
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t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 12:04 pm
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5
Subject EVEN to moral disapline

In my opinion, this proffesor should have been fired, ON THE SPOT, and charges should have been brought against him !!

KSL
151339
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KSL 08/17/13 - 12:09 pm
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Gee, bledsoe

You are a lib! Women can do no wrong?

Just My Opinion
6502
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Just My Opinion 08/17/13 - 12:21 pm
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bledsoe, just what charges

bledsoe, just what charges should be brought against the man? They were both adults, and it was consensual. What is at issue is the man's involvement with the school during this act...that's it. He can't be arrested and charged with anything...except maybe public indecency or lewd conduct. And why shouldn't the girl...I guess it was a girl...why shouldn't she be charged with something in your world?

KSL
151339
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KSL 08/17/13 - 12:31 pm
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1
Thank you J M O

I am done with explaining things to bledsoe.

fedex227
11192
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fedex227 08/17/13 - 12:50 pm
5
1
On the upside
Unpublished

UGA now has a good shot at getting back into the top-10 ranking of party schools.

t3bledsoe
14291
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t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 01:03 pm
1
7
KSL @ 1:31

"I am done with explaining things to bledsoe."

First, are you "stalking" me ? With you acting like a white shark in my waters, who needs enemies ?

Second, YES I do think they should be charged with public indecentsy !

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 08/17/13 - 01:30 pm
8
1
"I am done with explaining
Unpublished

"I am done with explaining things to bledsoe."
KSL, it is a waste of time

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 01:34 pm
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chascushman @ 2:30

""I am done with explaining things to bledsoe."
KSL, it is a waste of time"

Explaining things to me from a conservatives' view could help me to understand the conservative mentality better !

validPoint
982
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validPoint 08/17/13 - 01:43 pm
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5
plain as Day

Demons have no respect for education or humanity. All they need is an entry point and they will rob the richest.

There really is a time and place for all things. This was not the place nor the time for the professor and the student regardless to how much consent had been given.

Thumbs up, Bledsoe.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 02:13 pm
2
5
Speaking of explaining things

HA is one of you conservatives that ALMOST ALWAYS asks for "PROOF" so why should it be such a big deal to explain things to liberals ??

Darby
30866
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Darby 08/17/13 - 02:29 pm
7
0
"In my opinion, this proffesor (sic) should have

been fired, ON THE SPOT, and charges should have been brought against him !!"

.
Wow! A confirmed liberal, expressing moral outrage over an event that does not include some sort of trumped up, phony racial charge.

Or did I miss something?

t3bledsoe
14291
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t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 02:36 pm
2
4
Darby @ 3:29

I most certainly do not believe in public fornication or having sex with a student of that same professor !

Young Fred
22352
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Young Fred 08/17/13 - 02:39 pm
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0
Wow

Talk about fringe benefits!

gargoyle
22291
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gargoyle 08/17/13 - 03:24 pm
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1
Both were representing the

Both were representing the school studding abroad. Lets put it this way, Does the school want either of the consenting adults who use faulty judgment back on campus. What's done on vacation in Costa Rica has different liabilities than a study program sanctioned by the school. By accepting the rights and privileges given buy UGA they also accepted responsibility for decorum standards representing UGA.

Young Fred
22352
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Young Fred 08/17/13 - 04:14 pm
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"Both were representing the

"Both were representing the school "studding" abroad."

Was that deliberate or a subconscious faux pas?

jmo
20770
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jmo 08/17/13 - 04:16 pm
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Some students.......,

adult students that is, just need a little more "hands on" guidance. Do we have any photo evidence of what really happened? I would like to see it before I make my final decision on this matter. Go Dawgs!

Red Headed Step Child
4615
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Red Headed Step Child 08/17/13 - 04:47 pm
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Must have been the tequila...

Must have been the tequila...

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/17/13 - 04:49 pm
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Speech

From the story:

Benedek has filed suit in federal court, alleging that university officials were retaliating against him in violation of Constitutional guarantees of free speech.

Constitutional guarantees of free speech are between you and your Congress and your Justice Department. Constitutional guarantees are there to keep you out of jail. Your employer can fire you for saying things it does not approve of. You have no Constitutional guarantee of a job. I am not surprised this professor does not know his Constitution from a roll of toilet paper, since he's but an art professor.

Little Lamb
50749
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Little Lamb 08/17/13 - 04:50 pm
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@ Red Headed Step Child

. . . or the Viagra.

Fiat_Lux
16915
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Fiat_Lux 08/19/13 - 09:18 am
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2
This was a crime, no matter what the girl thought

She was his student and under his supervision and authority. She could not legitimately or validly give her consent to this act because of the student-professor relationship that already existed between them.

Barsness knew this and is responsible for sexual harassment at a minimum. It really was sexual assault. Presumably she is over 18 years old, but being his student inherently carries the potential for manipulation and coercion, no matter how subtle or unstated. It is there, which is was makes her unable to give valid consent until she is no longer his student or in any kind of relationship like that with him.

Young Fred
22352
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Young Fred 08/17/13 - 05:17 pm
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2
LL@5:49 - Bazinga!

LL@5:49 - Bazinga!

Fiat_Lux - absolutely correct (of course you already know this), I'm surprised this wasn't mentioned earlier. Some actually trying to make light of the fact as if nothing "really" wrong happened.

Little Lamb
50749
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Little Lamb 08/17/13 - 05:17 pm
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0
Maybe so . . .

but you can bet that UGA doesn't want to waste its time pressing charges.

jmo
20770
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jmo 08/17/13 - 05:28 pm
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LL.....

What do you know about Viagra (or tequila)? lol

corgimom
41317
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corgimom 08/17/13 - 05:54 pm
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They were in a foreign

They were in a foreign country, GA state laws do not apply in foreign countries, Fiat Lux, nor do US Federal laws.

He thought he was pretty smart. This is why they are revoking his tenure, they can't arrest him for anything.

ragingbull
945
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ragingbull 08/17/13 - 06:40 pm
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2
Fiat Lux-Does a divorce

Fiat Lux-
Does a divorce lawyer have to abide by the same rules? If what you describe is the case, there would be many disbarred divorce lawyers, because they had "consensual" sex with their female clients. Can one legally give one's consent if the attorney-client relationship exists?
I would assume your argument implicates either the student could influence her final grade in the class by having sex with the professor, or the professor gave her the impression she would receive a better grade by having sex with him. Since it has been proven that the act was consensual, and according to the evidence that was presented no coercion or promise of a future benefit was made by either party, the only mistake they made was getting caught. Since Costa Rica did not file any charges against them for having sex in a public place, I certainly do not see how any charges could be filed against either one of them on our soil. As for Michael Adams opinion, I have always viewed him as a stuffed suit who is highly overpaid. Maybe there are better days ahead for UGA now that he has been put out to pasture.

corgimom
41317
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corgimom 08/17/13 - 07:01 pm
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Ragingbull, the worst ones

Ragingbull, the worst ones are the preachers and the counselors

KSL
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KSL 08/17/13 - 07:28 pm
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Corgi

I think the list is longer than that.

gargoyle
22291
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gargoyle 08/17/13 - 07:43 pm
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"Was that deliberate or a

"Was that deliberate or a subconscious faux pas?" Young Fred.....Since what they were doing wasn't being covered by the Maymester study program you couldn't call it studying .

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