PCC reinstates journalism professor accused of sexual harassment
By André Coleman 12/05/2013
A Pasadena City College journalism professor who was suspended after a 43-year old student filed a sexual harassment claim against the college and the teacher has been reinstated, but so far no one knows what he will be doing when he gets back to school.
Warren Swil told the Pasadena Weekly on Monday that he will return to the college next month.
"I can confirm that I have received an official notice that I will be reinstated in January," Swil said in an email. "At this time, I cannot provide any additional comment for the record."
Swil, 61, was placed on administrative leave in March following complaints of sexual harassment and retaliation after journalism student Raymond Bernal filed a $100,000 claim for damages. The claim was later rejected by the PCC Board of Trustees.
In the claim, Bernal alleged that Swil had twice shown him naked pictures of himself. After Bernal rejected his advances, Bernal said that Swil - the adviser to The Courier, the campus newspaper - began giving him bad grades in retaliation. Swil has denied all of the allegations.
PCC Faculty Association President Roger Marheine told the Weekly that although Swil has been reinstated it is not known what his duties will be when he returns.
"He has been officially reinstated," Marheine said. "But we are still unsure what his duties will be or where his office will be located. Not completely clear if he can return to campus. There are many unanswered questions. The college was wrong and he has been vindicated. We are very, very happy."
After being abruptly placed on administrative leave, Swil was escorted off campus on March 28 shortly after Bernal filed the complaint. One day before Swil was removed from his position, embattled PCC President Mark Rocha said at a press conference that student reporters were not reporting some of the positive things being done by his administration. At the time, Rocha had been the subject of two no-confidence votes, one taken by the PCC Associated Students, the other by an ad hoc faculty committee. Those votes left the relationship between the administration and the newspaper strained, which led many to believe Swil was removed due to the paper's critical reporting of Rocha and some of his staff.
Although campus officials claimed the disciplinary action was normal procedure, critics pointed out that college professor Hugo Schwyzer, who taught a class called "Navigating Pornography," was not disciplined after admitting to a local newspaper that he had sex with a female student in his office. Instead, college officials "investigated' the matter for nearly a month, despite an admission to the incident by Schwyzer and the student. Schwyzer later quit without facing any disciplinary action.