Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Lawsuit claims teaching assistants at Amherst were told to sleep with students to boost enrollment

Teaching assistants at Amherst College were encouraged to sleep with and socialize with students to boost enrollment in the Spanish department, according to a lawsuit filed by a former faculty member.

Dimaris Barrios-Beltran, a former lecturer in the Spanish department at Amherst, claimed discrimination, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful termination in a lawsuit against Amherst and her former supervisor, Victoria Maillo. The suit describes her as becoming concerned soon after she was hired in 2012, which is when Barrios-Beltran claims Maillo told her she liked to find “pretty faces” online to hire as teaching assistants in order to attract more students to Spanish classes and spoke disparagingly about some students and Barrios-Beltran’s Puerto Rican accent.

Early in 2013, Barrios-Beltran’s teaching assistant called her in tears, according to the lawsuit, saying that Maillo was treating her like a prostitute. The teaching assistant claimed that Maillo was angry that she was dating a student at the University of Massachusetts and told her and other teaching assistants to go to parties with students and sleep with them to encourage them to take Spanish. Barrios-Beltran claims that in frustration, the teaching assistant asked Maillo if she wanted her to sleep with a different guy every night like another teaching assistant was doing, and the teaching assistant told Barrios-Beltran that Maillo responded, “that is what I brought you here for.”

Barrios-Beltran spoke with other teaching assistants in the department who confirmed this, according to the lawsuit: “These young T.A.s believed they were being asked to prostitute themselves in order to increase enrollment in the Spanish Department.”  (more...)

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