Electrical engineering professor Sergio Verdú has been placed on administrative leave from the University, pending a review into his conduct regarding University policy on consensual relationships with students.

Verdú was placed on leave before the beginning of the spring semester, according to Assistant Vice President for Communications Daniel Day.

In June, Verdú was found responsible by a Title IX panel for violating the University’s sexual misconduct policy after he harassed one of his students and advisees, Yeohee Im. In the wake of this decision, further allegations arose from professors who stated that Verdú had had consensual relationships in recent years with at least two students in the electrical engineering department who were subject to his academic supervision and evaluation.

Former assistant professor of electrical engineering Paul Cuff brought these allegations to Dean of the Faculty Sanjeev Kulkarni’s attention in March and to then-Dean of the Faculty Deborah Prentice in June. However, as the ‘Prince’ has previously reported, an official investigation into Verdú’s past behavior regarding consensual relationships did not begin until September of 2017.

According to Im, Title IX administrator Regan Crotty and Senior Associate Dean of the Faculty Toni Turano told Im in a Sept. 19, 2017 meeting that they had received enough information to launch a new investigation into Verdú’s behavior. On Sept. 28, 2017, Im was notified that control of this investigation had shifted from the Dean of the Faculty to the Office of the Provost. 

Verdú is now on leave pending the results of the investigation. According to the Rules and Procedures of the Faculty, administrative leave is not a disciplinary action, but a faculty member on leave does not teach, advise students, or carry out other professorial responsibilities. 

Per University rules, the decision to place a faculty member on leave is made by the Dean of the Faculty, currently Kulkarni, in consultation with President Eisgruber.

The class that Verdú was scheduled to teach in the spring semester, ELE 528: Information Theory, was canceled. In addition, Verdú was initially slated to be a program director along with Professor H. Vincent Poor for the 2018 Conference on Information Sciences and Systems held at the University. Verdú’s position has been replaced by assistant professor of electrical engineering Yuxin Chen.

A previous version of this article stated that Professor Sergio Vérdu allegedly had consensual relationships with two of his graduate students, rather than two students under his academic supervision and evaluation. The ‘Prince’ regrets the error.   

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