Ex-U of I grad student files suit against music professor and University of Iowa; Alleges inappropriate sexual remarks, humor, touching, relationship

  • Photos
March 29, 2014 | 6:47 pm

From THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA-DAVENPORT DIVISION:

MELISSA ROSE WALDING MILLIGAN,

Plaintiff,

v.

THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA and MARK WEIGER,

Defendants. ...

III. BACKGROUND FACTS

10. Milligan was a graduate student enrolled at the University in the Doctorate of Music Arts (ďD.M.A.Ē) program during the 2006-7 academic year.

11. Milligan obtained student loans to finance her studies and living expenses at the University

12. Milliganís major field was the oboe, and she sought to complete the three-year course of study in the D.M.A. program, culminating in a doctoral degree.

13. Milligan was enrolled in graduate music classes and was also a teaching assistant in her major field.

14. Milligan was assigned to study under Weiger, a tenured music professor in her major field who taught oboe and chamber music at the University.

15. During the course of her classroom and private instruction, Milligan was regularly subject to Weigerís inappropriate sexual remarks and crude sexual humor.

16. Milligan also observed at least one act of inappropriate sexual touching by Weiger with another female student during instructional class time.

17. Weiger regularly engaged in inappropriate behavior during classes and instructional sessions, including telling jokes of a sexual nature and using inappropriate sexual language, much of which was directed towards Milligan.

18. Weiger was engaged in a sexual relationship with another student, which interfered with Milliganís class time as it diverted Weigerís attention from instruction as he focused on his sexual relationship instead.

19. In addition to the inappropriate sexual behavior, Weiger verbally harassed and subjected Milligan to personal character assaults, referring to her using derogatory terms and insults in the presence of other students on numerous occasions.

20. All of said actions interfered with Milliganís reasonable expectation of instruction and education at the University, hindered her completing her doctoral degree, and caused her emotional distress. ...

Related article from 1994 Gazette archives, Ex-U of I grad student files harassment suit:

IOWA CITY - A former graduate student is suing three University of Iowa faculty members claiming she was sexually harassed and discriminated against when she came here two years ago.

Debra Hawk-Burt of Columbus, Ohio, filed a lawsuit in Johnson County District Court Monday against three faculty members in the School of Music: Mark Weiger , assistant professor in the woodwind division; John Hill, associate director; and David Nelson, director.

According to the suit, Hawk-Burt applied for admission as a doctoral candidate in the school in February 1992 and was told she was eligible for a teaching assistantship and a $10,000 scholarship. Ultimately, she received no financial aid and withdrew from the university.

Soon after she applied for admission, the suit states, Weiger called Hawk-Burt and made inappropriate comments about her marital status.

When Hawk-Burt visited the campus and was interviewed by Weiger in March 1992, Hawk-Burt claims he inappropriately described to her the sexual activities of a female student.

When Hawk-Burt moved to Iowa City, Weiger told her she did not qualify for the scholarship but that she would work for him that summer teaching his students, the suit states.

Hawk-Burt also claims Weiger repeatedly made offensive remarks to her, telling her dirty jokes, using offensive language and swearing at her. He also allegedly told her he was involved in a sexual relationship with a graduate student who was a member of Hawk-Burt's woodwind group.

According to the suit, Weiger made repeated, offensive sexual or demeaning comments to this student in Hawk-Burt's presence. When Hawk-Burt objected, her financial aid was withdrawn and she received a barely passing grade from Weiger .

She reported the incident to Hill, who has supervisory responsibilities for the faculty in the school.

Hawk-Burt then appealed to Nelson in a written statement.

Vice President for University Relations Ann Rhodes said she had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

Have you found an error or omission in our reporting? Is there other feedback and/or ideas you want to share with us? Tell us here.

 close  don't show again