San Diego State University refuses to release any information about the discipline imposed on a faculty member who sexually harassed at least three female students.
In response to a California Public Records Act request submitted to the university last week by NBC 7 Investigates, SDSU declined to provide information about the disciplinary status of Vincent Martin.
Martin is a Spanish professor at SDSU. He became the subject of an NBC 7 Investigates story after he was accused of sending hundreds of suggestive text messages to a young female student, violating the state education code, according to SDSU investigative documents.
One of his victims says she is angry about the university’s refusal to release details about Martin’s discipline.
“I’m disappointed but not surprised,” the student said. “I expected them to protect the professor over the student. I feel tenure protected him from the start.” This student said she feels Martin’s victims have, from the beginning, been denied important information about the investigative and discipline process.
Click here to view the investigative series.
The university said documents referencing Martin’s discipline “…constitute [Martin’s] personnel records” and that in this case, the “balancing test” SDSU uses to determine if it should release a document “weighs in favor of nondisclosure.”
NBC 7 Investigates submitted a detailed follow-up request for information on Nov. 11, but has not received a reply from the university.
Click here to view the letter from NBC 7 Investigates.
One advocate for public disclosure said SDSU’s denial is not legally persuasive.
Terry Francke, general counsel for CalAware, said a 2012 decision by a state appeals court found that the investigative report and letter of reprimand imposed on a Los Angeles-area teacher for violating his school’s sexual harassment policy was “subjected to disclosure and not a matter [of that teacher’s] personal privacy.”
Last March, SDSU denied a similar request from NBC 7 Investigates seeking information about discipline imposed on Martin.