It all started shortly after Professor Joshua Wright, a former FTC commissioner, made a powerful announcement on social media that he was leaving academia to start a new business in the private sector. After the surprise announcement, Professor Christa Laser shared her story about Wright, who appeared to be taking advantage of his role as head of the law school’s hiring efforts to await job offers in hopes of dating. Though the story was chilling, it proved to be mere foreplay as former law students brought up accounts of sex in his office and career opportunities based on maintaining a sexual relationship. These allegations were the subject of a Title IX complaint filed with the school back in 2021.
How did the school deal with the situation? When a law school bears the ASS Law name, expectations are already pretty low. But somehow the school managed to surprise!
Dean Ken Randall sent a back-to-school message to students detailing the allegations and, more importantly, telling students how dedicated the law school had been behind the scenes throughout the investigation.
As reported in the media, in late 2021, a Class of 2012 graduate filed a complaint with the university about Professor Wright’s conduct since her undergraduate days.
The university hired an outside company to investigate the allegations. To ensure completeness, the investigation was lengthy. While the investigation was pending, I instituted restrictions to limit Professor Wright’s teaching, isolate him from students outside of the classroom, and exclude him from other student activities and responsibilities.
These are the reasonable steps that responsible administration would take in the circumstances. It will not shock you at all to learn that these claims may not correspond to reality.
Like in spring 2023 — long after the “late 2021” complaint — when the school’s pro bono auction put this item up for sale.
Was the administration’s “constraint” that he had to charge a minimum of $50 for outside contacts? Don’t take students to a cocktail lounge to discuss “or whatever.” is the most basic constraint available.
The school will almost certainly dismiss this incident as a violation of their vague restrictions, but that misses the point. Whatever the administrator’s message, the professor not only didn’t feel deterred from going to the bars with students, he did he might publicly announce his plan at a school event. Perhaps the Federalist Society U didn’t do enough pro bono work to oversee the auction, which is a shame because these January 6 folks won’t be defending themselves!
Seriously, though when students bring us receipts like these, it’s extremely hard to believe that the school’s actions are consistent with CYA memo rhetoric.
Earlier: We shouldn’t have to say this, but job interviews aren’t your personal dating app
Allegations of sexual harassment against former FTC commissioner and law professor are piling up
Joe Patrice is Senior Editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. You can always email us tips, questions or comments. Keep following him Twitter if you are interested in law, politics and a healthy dose of university sports news. Joe also serves as Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.