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Committee recommends firing ETSU jazz professor, prez will make final decision

David Floyd • Updated Mar 7, 2017 at 12:05 PM

A committee organized to review whether David Champouillon, a tenured professor and the director of jazz studies at East Tennessee State University, should be fired recommended that President Brian Noland act, saying there is adequate cause to terminate Champouillon’s employment.

A university spokesman said Tuesday Noland had received the letter and would review relevant information before making a final decision on Champouillon’s employment.

In a unanimous vote, the committee determined Champouillon had participated in ongoing harassment against faculty members and students. The committee also found Champouillon had used jazz band scholarship money and his position in the department to control and intimidate students, according to documents released Tuesday after an open records request.

“His actions have created a quid-pro-quo environment, where the awarding of scholarships directly contributed to the intimidations and control of students,” the letter said. “This claim was corroborated by credible witnesses presented at the hearing.”

The letter also included a list of five notifications that Champouillon had received about his conduct since 2010.

According to university records, Champouillon was placed on suspension with pay last semester after two faculty members filed formal complaints against him. The records also include a six-page summary of allegations by faculty and current and former students interviewed by investigators dating back to 2009.

• Champouillon made alleged comments about one faculty member and her partner, according to the documents, commenting that he wondered why she did not have “men all over her, because she is an attractive woman with assets,” and then stated that the faculty member is “always groping her partner in her office.”

• In fall 2013, the documents say that Champouillon told a faculty member that another faculty member “She’s got some real assets . . . you know, endowments,” while gesturing his hands in front of his chest.

• In 2009, the documents allege he asked a student about his girlfriend, a female student in the department, “What does her vagina look like?”

• In or around spring 2016, the documents allege, Champouillon said “You know what’s wrong with this department? it’s run by women,” to a faculty member.

Champouillon said in a 13-page response that he categorically denies the accusations.

“The allegations are baseless, unwitnessed, hearsay, double hearsay, undocumented, and even simply made up out of a fear — a fear that has been propagated by disgruntled former students and faculty,” Champouillon wrote in the response.

Press Staff Writer Jessica Fuller contributed to this article.

Read the committee’s recommendations:

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