UVA professor accused of sexual harassment by former students

John Casey, author of ‘Spartina,’ and Professor in the English Department has been accused of sexual harassment by former graduate students

Two former graduate students filed formal complaints with the University's Title IX in November against Professor John Casey in the English department for sexual harassment and unwanted attention.

While one of the students chose to remain anonymous, the other has identified herself as 2014 graduate Emma Eisenberg and made a statement to Charlottesville's NBC29 about the complaint.

NBC 4 Washington spoke with the University about the formal complaints. Spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn confirmed Eisenberg's statement and the incident is being investigated by the University. Professor Casey is said to have declined comment to NBC 4 but has indicated that he may do so later.

While the statement does not detail the specific harassment Eisenberg endured, she does reflect on why she chose to speak up about the harassment now. Eisenberg told NBC29 that

"It had always bugged me, in my gut I knew there was something wrong about those experiences, but it was so openly talked about within the program that I figured I was over-reacting. Seeing this recent flood of women coming forward confirmed what I had always known-his behavior was problematic and inappropriate."

She also told NBC29 that it is important that Professor Casey be held accountable for his actions, but that she believes the University is best judge in deciding how this must be done.

Professor Casey allegedly gave some students, such as Emma, preferential treatment and inappropriately touched other female students at different University events and occasions. Eisenberg says she faced this kind of harassment from Professor Casey during her time as an MFA student from 2012 to 2014.

The other female student who elected not to be named is said to have faced similar treatment to that which Eisenberg described during her time as a graduate student from 2009 to 2012. She also claimed that Professor Casey made specific comments about her clothing choices and general appearance.

In 2007, UVA Today featured Professor Casey as an award winning author in their 'U.V.A Profiles' series.

University of Virginia