ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A return to the classroom has been cut short for a University of New Mexico anthropology professor accused of violating the school’s policies on sexual misconduct.
UNM administrators on Tuesday suspended Cristobal Valencia for the second time based on new complaints, after an earlier suspension based on a report that included a finding of improper touching and that also said he appeared to cultivate female students for possible sexual relations.
“The suspension will remain in place while the new complaints are investigated by the appropriate authorities, or until the case is resolved,” a UNM news release stated. “His suspension is an emergency short-term action taken as a precaution to prevent any risk of harm to others, and was based upon the seriousness of the allegations.”
Valencia will be suspended with pay. He was scheduled to teach an undergraduate class and a graduate class in the fall. It was not clear what will happen with his classes as of Tuesday afternoon.
An Office of Equal Opportunity investigation earlier this year found probable cause that Valencia had violated policies regarding discriminatory conduct and sexual harassment. He was suspended from March to June.
As for discipline, administrators censured Valencia and said he would be “monitored” by other faculty members when he returned to teaching. Censure is a permanent mark on his personnel record.
UNM has said Valencia is appealing that action.
On Tuesday, his lawyer Michael Mozes said he would not comment on stories about Valencia. The Journal also left a letter for Valencia in the anthropology department Tuesday but received no response.
An OEO report obtained by the Journal did say Valencia had raised his own allegations of race discrimination and retaliation against other anthropology faculty.
Some have criticized the university for allowing Valencia to return to the classroom following an investigation involving sexual harassment. The university has refused to provide details of that investigation, going so far as to redact even the specific policies Valencia violated in documents detailing the investigation.
The Journal, however, obtained an unredacted copy of the report elsewhere that revealed the specifics.
The investigation found Valencia made “sexual comments” to students and faculty in academic settings and that he touched two female students “in a sexual manner without consent.”
LGBT students also said Valencia “only spends short amounts of time and was dismissive of them during office hours.” The report states that Valencia fights to be the adviser to “female minority students and young, attractive, feminine-presenting, female students he perceived to be heterosexual.”
“This differential treatment appeared to be for the purpose of developing relations that might lead to sexual activity,” the report stated.
In another case, OEO said Valencia “rubbed” a female student’s tattoo, which was located on her rib cage under her breast. He told OEO that he was never alone with the woman and that he didn’t touch her.
Student witnesses in separate incidents said Valencia would invite them to his house and offer them alcohol. The witnesses also said Valencia asked students to spend the night at his home.
One witness said Valencia touched her ribs, stomach and back. When she was trying to go home, Valencia told her she could “go home with her roommate or go home with him.” She refused.
“(She) reported she had to physically pull her arm away from Valencia to leave,” according to the report.
The report concludes that Valencia as a faculty member should know the policies regarding sexual harassment.
“The preponderance of evidence establishes Valencia knew or should have known the conduct of a sexual nature reported by witnesses was unwelcome,” the report states.
According to a memo obtained by the Journal, complaints by other faculty members included allegations that Valencia shared with male graduate students a list of sexually desirable female graduate students and said he didn’t take orders from “white bitches.”
He also allegedly told a colleague, “It’s too bad you can’t date grad students because some of them are hot.”