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An Irish literature scholar, he is the president of the International James Joyce Foundation and the editor of a book series on James Joyce.
Ohio State began investigating Knowles’ conduct in mid-December 2013 and issued the final case report in February 2014.
He was permitted to continue teaching during the 2014 spring semester because the misconduct concerned his role as department chair, not as a professor, according to the report.
Throughout his career, Knowles has garnered a slew of teaching awards.
He denies making sexual comments, claiming they were taken out of context, and said the staff members themselves initiated inappropriate sexual remarks.
NU said it was unaware of the allegations against Knowles but will review the matter.
Administrators and experts who study campus safety say it’s a widespread problem caused by a lack of methods for colleges to vet candidates beyond their resumes, writing samples and reference letters.
Hiring at NU Knowles will be at NU for Spring Quarter only.The investigator found Knowles threatened and intimidated department staff.According to the report, staff said he initiated “inappropriate and unwelcome physical contact” and made “inappropriate comments of a sexual nature” on several occasions. In a written rebuttal, he admits to losing his temper and cursing at staff, but attributes this to stress brought on by an illness.An Ohio State University investigator found last year the then-chair of the university’s English department had “created a hostile work environment” that made female administrative staff feel “harassed and intimidated.” That English professor, Sebastian Knowles, is now a visiting professor at Northwestern for Spring Quarter 2015.A series of interviews conducted by the investigator with department staff painted Knowles as “volatile” and described violations of Ohio State’s policies on sexual harassment and workplace violence.