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SJSU Professor Accused of Harassing Student Loses Teaching Assignment

SAN JOSE  (KPIX 5) -- A San Jose State University professor who sexually harassed a student may not be returning to the classroom afterall.

There was backlash from students at SJSU who found out that a professor who sexually harassed a student in 2015 was returning to the classroom.

Now, it appears he has lost his teaching assignment.

"...I am writing you to inform you that Prof. Lewis Aptekar will not be teaching Research in Counselor Education in the Fall. We will be working on securing another instructor...," said a message to students from Paul Cascella, Ph.D., the interim dean at San Jose State University's Lurie College of Education.

A university investigation found Aptekar repeatedly asked a student out on a date in 2015 and was suspended for two weeks, went through diversity training and was set to return to campus to teach this fall.

A university spokesperson said he will continue to be an employee at the university but it is unknown exactly what he will be doing.

"Certainly what we heard from the students in the past several weeks were very important, the students are telling us that they need a really good learning environment, we heard that, and we're doing our best to provide that," university spokeswoman Pat Lopes Harris said.

Students who learned about Aptekar's pending return had organized a protest for Monday, August 28, which is when Aptekar was set to return to the classroom. Even though he is not expected to teach, students say they still plan to hold the protest.

Celina Cesena is among those organizing a protest against the professor and said she doesn't support him coming back to the university in any capacity.

"I personally do not think that he should still be a part of this university after what he's done," Cesena said.

Valerie Lamb is also helping to organize the protest.

Lamb said, "The protest is still going to continue because we are still frustrated. Again, lack of communication with the department, with the university of Dr. Aptekar's return."


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