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NU faculty supports women who accuse journalism prof of sexual harassment

Arch at Sheridan Road and Chicago Avenue on Northwestern Universitys Evanston campus.

The mother of a player on the Northwestern University women’s basketball team who died in 2017 has sued a sorority claiming hazing by its members led to her daughter’s suicide. | Sun-Times file photo

Several tenured Northwestern University faculty members have signed a letter, saying they are shaken “to the core” by the claims of a group of 10 women who accuse Professor Alec Klein, head of the Medill Justice Project, of persistent sexual harassment and bullying.

“It may not be visible to you yet, but the allegations you made shook many of us to the core,” the faculty members wrote in a Feb. 9 letter addressed to
seven former students and three former staffers of the justice project — the school’s renowned investigative journalism program.

Alec Klein | Northwestern University faculty photo

Last week, the 10 women wrote an open letter, saying Klein’s  “controlling, discriminatory, emotionally and verbally abusive behavior has to end.” The letter, first published in the Chicago Reader, outlines 12 instances of sexual misconduct allegedly committed by Klein.

Klein has categorically denied the allegations.

In their letter, the faculty members say they fully support the university’s investigation into the matter. Klein is not mentioned by name in the letter.

“As faculty members, we also clearly have plenty of urgent work to do,” they wrote. “This includes the simple step of making something quite clear: We respect you, and express our deep personal regret for any harm suffered.”

The faculty members say they are: “committed to doing our part, as teachers, in a sustained effort to make changes that will ensure no student or employee experiences abusive treatment, sexual misconduct or discriminatory behavior.”