A San Diego State University Spanish professor, found to have violated the state education code by sexually harassing three women, is appealing the university’s findings and is scheduled to come face-to-face with his alleged victims in an arbitration hearing Wednesday.
SDSU professor Vincent Martin is still teaching classes, despite internal investigations that confirm he sexually harassed at least three of his former students.
Attorney Bibi Fell, who represents one of the women accusing Martin of sexual harassment, said her client will be questioned by Martin's attorney and the university during the arbitration hearing. The women are there as "witnesses" and are typically not allowed to have an attorney present.
“To have to sit there in the same room as Professor Martin and be cross-examined about what he did to them is like making them a victim all over again,” Fell said. “I think it's an important case for San Diego, especially for students at SDSU. This is a person that's put in a position of power over a large number of people including women. And so if this is going on at the school, I think it's important to put an end to it.”
One student told NBC 7 Investigates she was harassed through text messages, another by unwelcome touching and sexual comments. A third student said she had a consensual sexual relationship with Martin, but according to an SDSU investigation report, Martin “engaged in conduct sufficiently severe and/or pervasive” with her, and Martin’s overall behavior violated SDSU’s policy against sexual harassment.
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“An arbitration hearing is something that doesn’t go through the formal court system,” Fell said. “It’s a private hearing without a judge with a neutral third party who is making determinations.”
The arbitrator will make a decision based on the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing and ultimately decide Martin's fate.
NBC 7 Investigates reached out to Martin, his attorney and the university for comment. The university said it would not be commenting at this time. NBC 7 Investigates did not hear back from Martin or his attorney. Previously, his attorney told NBC 7 Investigates that Martin disagrees with the findings of the investigation.
“After the appeals process is over, I expect that we will see a confirmation of the underlying findings and some discipline,” Fell said. Regardless of the hearing's outcome, Fell said she will file a civil suit on behalf of her client.