The case that is ongoing in New York University is much like what happens all over the country on a weekly, or even daily, basis. An employer offers a promotion then asks for sexual favors in return. In this case, the problems took longer to develop, but sexual harassment none-the-less.
The sexual harassment case facing NYU right now started innocently enough, as a business dinner to discuss the work of an employee’s new promotion. The dinner was to go over the details of Stephanie Bonadio's new position at the University's School of Real Estate. She claims that the dinner turned out to be nothing of the sort, that it was more about sexual propositions and images by her boss James Stuckey.
Her attorney filed the harassment suit with the Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday, January 25th. For months after her apparent promotion, she performed her work duties to the best of her ability, trying to be sure that the office expectations were met. Unfortunately, she never heard word of the formalization of her raise. Finally, on September 23, her boss invited her out to dinner to discuss the promotion. Stephanie Bonadio claims that she thought the dinner was going to be about the final details of the raise.
When she arrived at the business dinner, James Stuckey met her and they ordered dinner. At some point during the duration of the meal, Bonadio claims that Stuckey grabbed her hand and made her place it on his crotch to feel how excited he was. The dinner ended and Bonadio soon reported the incident. The University informed her that Stuckey had resigned from his position due to health problems shortly after being reported.
This may be an isolated incident, it may even be a case of "he said/she said,” but with a closer look things seem fishy. In 2007, Stuckey also resigned from another position after unknown "bad conduct" at a holiday party. He also resigned from a position in 2011, which was the presidency of the city's Public Design Commission. He reported directly to Mayor Bloomberg with concerns and directives for this commission.
On October 6th, less than a month after the dinner, NYU authorities told Bonadio that she had been terminated and her position no longer existed within the school at all. To contradict this, the NYU Vice President of PR, J. Beckham, told news reporters the victim remains as a paid member of staff. Beckham went on to say that they wanted her to return to work and that the school would never punish a person for being a victim of a sex crime.
Stephanie Bonadio's sexual harassment lawsuit is seeking emotional damages, lawyer costs, lost pay, and court costs. If she is successful, it will put another ding in the reputation of NYU. Damage control is the main key for the school now.
This entire situation could have been stopped, even prevented, if the school had done its research on Stuckey's past offenses. They should have required him to complete an online sexual harassment class before he even began working for the school.