Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Oden v. Northern Marianas College (9th Cir. - March 6, 2006)

What is it about music class that apparently makes college students and/or their professors totally (and unacceptably) randy?
This is the second Ninth Circuit case in I've read in the last couple of months with basically the exact same fact pattern. Female college student takes music class from male professor. Male music professor thereafter allegedly sexually harasses female student. Here are the claims in this case: "After Plaintiff began taking classes from Dalla Pozza, however, his behavior became increasingly inappropriate and disturbing to Plaintiff. He rubbed Plaintiff’s back and then moved his hands downward to touch her buttocks. On a number of occasions he kissed her on the lips and forced his tongue into her mouth. During one session he touched her breasts and rubbed his body against hers. Dalla Pozza also talked with Plaintiff about sexual topics and commented about her body." Yuk! Not exactly what the student signed up for when enrolled in music class.

Astute observers will recall a post regarding a quite similar fact pattern a couple months ago -- this time that involved a music teacher at CSU Sacramento -- in connection with another Ninth Circuit case, Stanley v. Trustees of the California State University. Both there, as here, the music teacher allegedly harassed the student. And both there, as here, the lawsuit was dismissed (and the dismissal affirmed) on essentially procedural grounds; i.e., even if the harassment occurred, no relief was available.

Makes me even more glad I kept out of the music department during college.