A lawsuit filed against Eckerd College through Pinellas Circuit Court alleges the school mishandled a case against David Hastings, a former Eckerd professor of chemistry and marine science. Hastings was accused of sexual exploitation and harassment in a lawsuit filed on Dec. 16, 2019.
Hastings allegedly performed sexual acts in front of his geochemistry lab assistant, a former student at Eckerd. During a meeting, Dean of Faculty, Suzan Harrison deterred the victim from furthering her accusations, according to an article published by the Tampa Bay Times.
Associate Dean of Community Standards, Title IX and Section 504 Coordinator, Joanna Elwood sent an email to students on Jan. 6. "The College’s legal team will respond, through appropriate legal channels, during the course of the proceedings," Elwood said.
She also said that Eckerd is determined to establish a safe community for all students, faculty and staff. "We likewise are committed to ensuring that all Eckerd programs and activities are free from discrimination or harassment on the basis of other protected categories and from retaliation when community members report suspected violations of College policies in these areas," Elwood said.
Hastings retired from Eckerd Fall 2018, and was hired as a marine science professor at USF in 2019.
Harrison, Hastings and the former student’s lawyer were contacted, but have not responded.