A UCSD writing instructor is suing the university for failing to stop sexual and racial harassment that she reported against her boss.
Grace Aspiras, hired in 2007 to work in the basic writing program to help non-English-speaking students improve their English writing and reading comprehension, says that for more than four years, despite numerous complaints to school administrators, her boss George Hanson was allowed to perpetuate an uncomfortable working environment.
The harassment started on Aspiras’s first day of work, according to the complaint.
"Defendant Hanson stated that the Asian students who were dismissed by failing to satisfy the entry level writing requirement would all end up 'working at their parents noodle shop,' or words to that effect."
The complaint alleges that Hanson frequently used racial epithets in the office. On one occasion, the writing-program director allegedly "referred to Asian students as smelling like fish sauce."
Hanson also allegedly made inappropriate sexual comments, claims Aspiras, and posted pornographic images on his computer.
"On several occasions, Defendant Hanson stated that the female Asian students who were dismissed from UCSD for failing to meet the entry level writing requirement would never fulfill the writing requirement, and 'it would be better for them to lie on their backs in front of the university library and spread their legs; they could make a living that way' or words to that effect….
"On or about October 19, 2009, Defendant Hanson wrote an essay about the book 'The Sexual Life of Catherine M.' The essay, purportedly about writing style, contained sexually explicit content that served no educational or instructional purpose. Hanson distributed the essay to every instructor in the Basic Writing Program. It contained direct quotations such as...'even fucking can be boring,' and 'sex is as natural as breathing.' In discussing the author, Defendant Hanson wrote, 'for her, one type of in-out, in-out is as natural as another.' The essay also included frequent use of the word 'sex,' 'orgasm,' 'ovulating' and 'orgy.’”
In 2012, Hanson was said to have shown up drunk to Aspiras’s birthday party. He was allegedly seen simulating intercourse.
In 2011, Aspiras complained to UCSD provost Alan Houston about Hanson's inappropriate behavior. A few months later, in January 2012, she returned to Houston and said the treatment was impacting her health. The following month, Aspiras took her complaints to assistant dean Marjorie Hardy and Lori Chamberlain, director of UCSD’s Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention and Policy.
Nothing happened, and Aspiras claims the administrators retaliated against her for coming forward. Despite having received employee of the year honors and positive job reviews, administrators are said to have launched an internal investigation looking into claims that Aspiras helped some students cheat on their tests.
Aspiras seeks compensation for the harassment and punitive damages to ensure that harassment and discrimination stop.