UNA says ex-professor 'violated university policy' in student sex assault case

Published: Aug. 13, 2017 at 4:52 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 13, 2017 at 7:07 PM CDT
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FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) - The University of North Alabama has issued a new response to sexual assault allegations against a former professor.

READ MORE: Former UNA professor accused of sexual assault

The university faces a Title IX lawsuit from a former student who alleges she was sexually abused by her professor, David Dickerson, in 2015. The student says the abuse happened during an intern sales competition trip to Orlando. She also claims the university covered it up.

UNA first responded to the lawsuit on Friday, saying they dispute the allegations and that no criminal charges were filed.

READ MORE: UNA responds to Title IX lawsuit alleging sexual abuse

On Saturday, UNA issued another statement saying they were aware of wrongdoings by Dickerson and took the appropriate actions. UNA says Dickerson was removed from the university and ordered to stay away from the students.

The university says it responded properly to the incident. Their full statement is as follows:

The University of North Alabama is committed to providing a safe and nurturing learning environment for all students. The University has a professional and well-trained staff that addresses claims of sexual misconduct with the utmost seriousness.  Students impacted by sexual misconduct are provided strong resources and excellent support.

A lawsuit was filed last week against the University. The lawsuit alleges sexual assault of a student by a former faculty member and claims that the University did not respond appropriately. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Upon notice of the alleged misconduct, the University reached out to the student and conducted an investigation. The University concluded that, in the fall of 2015 the faculty member had violated University policy regarding faculty/student relationships. As a result, the faculty member was removed from the classroom and ordered to stay away from campus and to avoid contact with students. The faculty member is no longer employed by the University.

The University responded quickly and professionally throughout this process, complying with all applicable policies and laws. The matter was investigated thoroughly and the University acted decisively to protect our students while also protecting the student's right to privacy.

The University offers a fair, informed and compliant process that supports any student who experiences sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, or any other form of sex or gender discrimination.

The University is proud of its record in promoting campus safety and will defend its good name vigorously in this litigation. Officials will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure the integrity of the excellent programs that foster the security and well-being of all University of North Alabama students.

Their press statement also includes links about student safety and sexual assault.

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