A former San Diego State University professor who sexually harassed at least four female students benefited from a cover-up of similar unprofessional activity at the University of Delaware (UD), according to a former colleague.
Documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates confirm Vincent Martin sexually harassed female students who took his Spanish literature classes at SDSU. According to the documents, he was suspended for 30 days as punishment
One document from the subsequent arbitration proceeding also notes Martin resigned his prior post at UD in 2010, after he was accused of sexually harassing a female student.
The former Spanish professor is no longer employed by SDSU. University administrators have not clarified whether Martin resigned or was fired, only confirmed he no longer works at the school as of November 19.
Jan Blits, a retired UD professor, told NBC 7 Investigates campus administrators “evidently tried to cover-up” the harassment allegation against Martin.
Blits, who was awarded the UD’s Excellence in Teaching Award and served as a Distinguished Fellow at the U.S. Naval Academy, chaired UD’s Faculty and Welfare Privileges Committee at the time Martin faced that allegation. The committee is empowered to review and pass judgment on allegations of unprofessional conduct by University of Delaware faculty.
In Martin’s case, Blits said, “the administration bypassed the committee and evidently struck a sweetheart deal with the accused (Martin)." Blits claims UD administrators short-circuited his committee’s investigation and covered up Martin’s alleged wrongdoing because “they want to hide the fact that there are problems at” the University of Delaware.
“We were tough,” Blits said of his faculty committee. “They (university administrators) didn’t want to have to fire a faculty member for sexual misconduct. They try to suppress problems rather than deal with them properly. ”
UD administrators declined to comment on Blits’ allegations because, they said, it involves a “personnel issue.” Martin and his attorney have both declined to answer questions about the allegations against Martin at SDSU and UD, and will not comment on the terms of Martin’s departure from SDSU.
Blits said his recollection of the specifics of Martin’s alleged misconduct at UD are vague. But he distinctly recalls being troubled by the content of flyers and advertisements for the Spain study abroad program Martin organized at UD, which is where he believes the alleged harassment occurred.
“Word was out that it was a ‘party trip’, and he advertised it that way,” Blits said. He confirmed with a colleague that Martin’s advertisement for the study abroad program included a photo of Martin “with his arms draped around two female students (at) a table with empty sangria pitchers… The message was ‘Study abroad and party with me.’”
Bilts said that photo was taken in 2006 and appeared every year thereafter on Martin’s UD homepage.