Not Every Sexual Harassment Complaint is Legit

This will not start out as a good year for Professor Nick Flor of the University of New Mexico.

Beginning January 1st he will be suspended from this tenured position at UNM, without pay, for a full year. He is not allowed to get another fulltime job and the multimillions of dollars in grants he has received will dry up, his ability to win new grants will be next to impossible.

Flor’s predicament follows a rather bizarre and brief interaction with a 35-year-old graduate student who, reportedly, has a history of pursuing and then complaining about professors.

Under federal law (so-called Title IX) schools that receive public funds must investigate whenever there is a report of sexual harassment, violence or gender discrimination that could hinder a person’s education. The problem with Title IX responses has been the frequent inequitable way in which university investigations are conducted. Many males have protested saying their accuser’s claim of sexual misconduct is taken as gospel and they are left to prove their innocence in a process that denies them due process.

Professor Nick Flor – Twitter

This is what Professor Flor says happened to him. In his case, he had only met the unidentified accuser face-to-face during a random five-minute encounter in the Anderson School of Management’s copy room. That was in mid-May 2018, and what followed was an avalanche of emails and texts that quickly turned romantic. During their six weeks long correspondence the idea was floated that she might work on an analytics project with Flor since he had $703 in leftover grant money. She rejected the idea. Emails between the single woman and the married older professor then became sexually charged. They never again saw each other in person.

“I can’t excuse my behavior,” Flor told Reason Magazine. “I exercised poor judgment,” he admitted.

Reason’s Sept 2019 Cover – wiki

Flor says he realized it was an inappropriate relationship and in early June he stopped responding to the woman’s incessant messages about love, horoscopes, their destiny and their past lives together. She didn’t stop. Her messages spoke of suicide followed by photos of flowers and hummingbirds.

She accused him of killing the romance. She then threatened to send intimate screenshots of their conversations to his bosses. On June 27, she wrote that she was “still relentless” and was going to do things, “that you would not believe I would do based off how you’ve acted and treated me.”

That day Flor reported the situation to his department chair who, in turn, reported it to UNM’s Title IX office. An investigation was launched, and the woman filed her own complaint alleging quid pro quo sexual harassment as evidenced by the professor’s job offer. To Flor’s astonishment he became the focus of the investigation.

Flor is still seething that UNM would take the word of the woman over his, especially after he turned over the 3,258 emails and 174 texts she had sent him which he maintains clearly show she was the aggressor. Nine months after he reported the woman’s threats Flor was informed that he had been found guilty of harassment and retaliation. His punishment – that life altering one-year suspension which will cost him his $130,000 salary.

“They’re treating me like I’m Harvey Weinstein,” Flor said.

UNM President Stokes Declined to Comment on Flor’s Suspension

UNM President Garnett Stokes declined my offer to comment on the fairness of Flor’s suspension. Recently, Stokes proudly announced that the U.S. Department of Justice was ending its 3-year-long investigation of UNM’s past questionable handling of sexual harassment and assault complaints. The DOJ had criticized UNM’s “labyrinthine policies” and long and inadequate investigations. Sound familiar?

Also declining to comment was the woman, who I tracked down via her August 2, 2018 Albuquerque District Court application for a domestic violence restraining order against Flor. The court denied her request.

Flor has one more possible (but unlikely) appeal left. But the UNM panel designated to hear his request to reduce his suspension isn’t set to meet until weeks after his banishment goes into effect. Flor’s lawyers are readying a lawsuit against the university. After 17 years at UNM Flor feels he deserves better treatment.

Look, everyone wants vulnerable students to be protected on campus and Title IX was designed to do that. But what will protect students and faculty from false allegations? Universities everywhere need to figure this out.



  1. Diane Dimond on December 30, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Reader Cliff Darnell writes:

    Tough call, people just aren’t reasonable anymore.

  2. Diane Dimond on December 30, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Reader Juan Esteves writes:

    Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

  3. Diane Dimond on December 31, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Reader Benebeth writes:

    Ah, yes. Years ago I worked for Sears selling appliances and that was back when it was the only game in town. The money was eye opening. I had no idea selling appliances at Sears was so lucrative. A cute redhead on the floor showed up and the rest of the staff, the jackals, had it out for her immediately. She told me her goal was to be fulltime and that meant selling a lot of maintenance agreements. By golly she did it, too. She was #1 in sales and MA’s and I watched her work. She’d go to the Maytag store on her day off and study their appliances because then Sears didn’t carry Maytag and she wanted to counter any argument about Maytag being superior. I was always amazed and the manager also noticed her. Then an angry old guy on the floor starting hassling her. He was saying things behind her back and eventually to her face, so she went to the manager. Hard to believe but it went on for months. Why? The angry old guy was dating the manager’s sister! Then they got married and the sister started hassling the redhead. Next thing I knew, the redhead was fired and the angry guy and his wife were transferred to another store and were going to work in the flooring department! I never saw anything like it and I hope I never do again. Needless to say, I quit that Sears store and went to another. One without jackals.
    For every story like yours, Diane, there is one like my friend’s and the way Sears handled her harassment at the Galleria in Franklin, TN.

    • Diane Dimond on December 31, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      Diane replies to Benebeth:

      Yep….sexual harassment truly DOES exist as I can personally attest. (When I was coming up in the radio/tv/media world it was full of jackals!) But you must admit some women make the charge of sexual harassment for revenge or out of shame…and THAT spoils it for the real victims, planting doubt in the public’s mind about which claims to believe. Those revenge cases should be exposed, I think, to keep the system honest. ~DD

  4. Diane Dimond on January 1, 2020 at 10:46 am

    Reader Angela N Baskerville writes:

    Pendulum has swung way too far in the wrong direction. That being said, how stupid can he be having any personal interaction with her, in this day and age!!! Still, I hope he prevails in his lawsuit.

  5. Diane Dimond on January 1, 2020 at 10:46 am

    Reader Peg S. Wilson writes:

    Play stupid games win stupid prizes.

  6. Diane Dimond on January 1, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Reader Eddie Emmons writes:

    Every story is unique….no simple method to remedy every case……

  7. Diane Dimond on January 15, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    Reader Adam Zucker@zucker_adam writes:

    UNM must not understand the definition of Quid Pro Quo.The grad student turned down the job offer and then Insisted on continuing the messaging? /// Since it appears UNM just emerged from an OCR investigation where they received some “corrective action” I think your skepticism is well founded.

  8. Diane Dimond on March 22, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    Reader Dakota Taylor writes:

    Title 9 is, Always has been, and Always will be bullshit.

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