Stanford on Tuesday moved to strip the name of deceased English professor Jay Fliegelman Ph.D. ’77, who was accused of sexual assault, from his namesake library collection. The renaming was prompted by four years of advocacy from alumni and law professor Michele Dauber.
The decision comes as the University faces heightened scrutiny over how it has honored administrators and faculty members accused of sexual misconduct.
Amid activism in May, Provost Persis Drell ordered the removal of a brick on campus that honored former assistant dean Keith Archuleta ’78. He was arrested and sentenced in 1992 for secretly videotaping women students as they undressed.
Former graduate student Seo-Young Chu M.A. ’01 said she was sexually harassed and assaulted by Fliegelman, her dissertation advisor, while studying at Stanford.
As a graduate student, Chu said that she received phone calls detailing “explicit sexual fantasies” and accused Fliegelman of initiating unwanted sexual contact. Fliegelman at the time described the calls and conversations with Chu as “playful banter” and denied allegations of sexual contact.
After another faculty member reported the allegation, Fliegelman was suspended for two years without pay in 2000 by former provost John Etchemendy. An investigation led by Etchemendy found Fliegelman responsible for sexual harassment and professional misconduct, but not sexual assault. Fliegelman did not face criminal charges for his actions.
Fliegelman retained access to University-sponsored housing and the libraries. He returned to his teaching position after his suspension ended in 2002.
“I’m angry that two decades after Jay Fliegelman was punished by his own university for what he did to me, I am still cleaning up the mess that he and Stanford created,” Chu said.
Stanford spokesperson E.J. Miranda wrote in a statement that “the university takes matters of sexual misconduct very seriously and actively addressed this concern when it was brought to our attention.”
The Fliegelman Collection, which had been stored in Green Library’s Special Collections, “no longer exists,” Miranda confirmed. The books in the collection will be temporarily unavailable until the process of removing the name is complete.
Following his death in 2007, Fliegelman was commemorated with a Faculty Senate memorial resolution and an undergraduate studies award — honors that some faculty members say should be rescinded. A year later, the University acquired the Fliegelman Collection, a selection of books in his personal library, for an undisclosed price.
Fliegelman was a renowned collector and the special collection included 258 volumes, some of which belonged to historical figures such as Charles Dickens, George Washington and John Quincy Adams.
Dauber, a vocal critic of Stanford’s sexual assault policies, played a central role in facilitating the removal of the library collection and the brick.
“Regrettably, it took Stanford four long years to do the right thing during which I fear that Professor Chu was repeatedly re-traumatized by Stanford,” Dauber wrote in a statement. “Stanford evidently wanted to get its hands on Fliegelman’s valuable collection of books at a bargain price, and it was evidently willing to launder Fliegelman’s dirty reputation to get them.”
Dauber added that those involved in facilitating the acquisition of the collection “should be held accountable.”
Chu criticized the University for its lack of transparency, which she said resulted in the burden being placed on herself and others to push for the renaming the collection.
“Stanford creates traumatized alumni,” she said. “I continue to receive messages from other alumni who were violated by people in positions of power at Stanford.”
Archuleta brick removal
Although it took more than four years for the University to remove Fliegelman’s name from the collection after Chu’s initial request, action on the Archuleta brick was far more swift.
After Dauber and comparative literature professor David Palumbo-Liu notified the provost of the brick on campus, Drell replied in an email several weeks later that Archuleta’s donation was returned and the brick was removed. Archuleta is prohibited from participating in future Stanford events, according to Miranda.
Archuleta resigned his University post in 1992 after his arrest and was sentenced to four years of probation and community service for videotaping 11 women students as they undressed inside his campus apartment. He invited the women to his apartment under the pretense of a photo shoot for a poetry book, the police said at the time of his arrest.
A University official said at the time of Archuleta’s resignation that the former assistant dean’s contact with the Stanford community was “permanently severed.” Archuleta acknowledged that he would “never regain the trust of the community” and that the “damage is irreparable.”
That was the case until two months ago, when a brick with Archuleta’s name appeared outside the Black Community Services Center. Archuleta was also reportedly spotted at recent Stanford Alumni Association events.
In an open letter to Archuleta in June, Rachel Hartshorn ’92, one of the women Archuleta indecently videotaped, wrote that he had “sexually violated” her.
“You committed a sex crime, Keith,” she said in the letter. “So, would you please be straight with me all these years after sneakily videotaping me in my undies? Why didn’t you stay away?”
Archuleta did not return a request for comment.
Both the brick and the library collection “are essentially part of the same story — victims of sexual misconduct coming forward years later to demand that Stanford stop honoring their perpetrators,” Dauber said.