Students supporting professor after inconsistencies in sex assault report surface
- CU - Boulder formalized its intent to dismiss Professor David Barnett last week.
- "Barnett never, ever told me who he thought was guilty or innocent, or who he thought was right or wrong,” a student close to the case said. “He just noticed inconsistencies in the report."
- Several students have stepped forward to defend Barnett.
Last week the University of Colorado formalized its intent to dismiss Philosophy Professor David Barnett, claiming his independent 38-page report inappropriately suggested an alleged sexual assault victim had “promiscuous habits.”
However, things could be shifting in the professor’s favor as a witness present the night of alleged assault—a friend to both the alleged assailant and victim—came forward in Barnett’s defense.
Philosophy student Kyra Rehman says Barnett approached her to discuss the testimony she provided to the Office of Harassment and Discrimination (OHD) regarding his former mentee, the alleged perpetrator. She says they only discussed the OHD’s findings and her testimony.
"At no point did Barnett make any judgments on anyone involved in the case," Rehman told the Daily Camera. "Our conversation was purely related to ODH and the way they handled this."
The two shared similar concerns regarding inconsistencies between the ODH’s findings and their depiction of her testimony.
"Barnett never, ever told me who he thought was guilty or innocent, or who he thought was right or wrong,” Rehman said. “He just noticed inconsistencies in the report."
Rebecca Chan, a doctoral student in the Philosophy department, said she felt the university was exaggerating its claims against Barnett.
"That [Barnett] has retaliated or smeared the name of [the victim] is false," said Chan.
Chan says she felt comfortable going to Barnett with personal and professional advice and believes he even helped “save” a student who had suicidal intent.
CU has emphasized the importance of keeping the case details confidential among employees. It says it rarely undertakes such processes and is taking the allegations very seriously.
"The BFA [Boulder Faculty Assembly] is committed to making sure all faculty have the opportunity to have their cases appealed as outlined by the regents' (policies) and we support the process being followed in this specific case,” said BFA chairman Paul Chinowsky.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @MaggieLitCRO