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People Are Calling Out Brock University For Its Handling Of Sexual Assault Complaints

One woman said the school offered her money to deal with the complaint "informally."

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Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, is being criticized for the way it handled sexual harassment complaints against a professor.

Brock University

According to CBC News, the same professor who was found by the university to have sexually harassed a female student faced a similar complaint months earlier, but it was dismissed for lack of evidence.

The more recent complaint against history professor David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye stems from late 2014. A female student of his said he gave her alcohol in his office and initiated unwanted physical touching, to which she objected. She did not go to police, but the school hired a lawyer to investigate the complaint, and it found her version of events to be true.

Schimmelpenninck is no longer teaching any classes and is "not on campus," Brock University said in a statement, although it did not name him directly.

That was initially thought to be the only complaint against Schimmelpenninck. But CBC today revealed there was a similar complaint against him in which a student said he gave her alcohol in his office and then tried to kiss and grope her.

Brock University

That woman, who is no longer at Brock, said she was encouraged by university president Jack Lightstone to deal with her complaint "informally" in return for some kind of compensation.

"On a very visceral level, it made me feel like I was a prostitute," she told CBC.

Her case was dropped for lack of evidence, but the investigation confirmed that Schimmelpenninck had been drinking with her in his office. That same scenario played out less than three months later, in the incident involving the second woman that led to his suspension from teaching.

The final report on the second incident was released in January, but he continued to teach until early March.

Some people are calling on the university president to take responsibility and resign.

#BrockU disgrace. Jack Lightstone and everyone else who knew put students at risk, and facilitated a 2nd assault. @BrockUniversity

@BrockUniversity has Jack Lightstone's resignation announcement happened yet? Did I miss it?


#BrockU could have prevented this from happening to other students, and chose instead not to act.

Lightstone has been president and vice-chancellor of Brock University since 2006. His second five-year term expires this summer, and a replacement was announced in December.

Brock University President's Office

The school denies that Lightstone offered one of the complainants money.

"Brock University never offers compensation to people in exchange for them agreeing to a particular investigative process," the school said in a statement to BuzzFeed Canada.

Brock has set up a task force to examine the institution's policies and procedures dealing with sexual harassment, sexual violence and unprofessional behavior. The task force includes students, faculty, and staff.

Schimmelpenninck did not reply to an email from BuzzFeed Canada, but the history prof told CBC News he has a drinking problem for which he's seeking help. Schimmelpenninck also denies both incidents involving his former students.

Brock University

Brock recently drafted a new alcohol policy, which will restrict drinking in unlicensed parts of campus.

Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at

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