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IUP Grad Student Poses Question To Chancellor At Forum

(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

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INDIANA, Pa. (KDKA) — The chancellor of the state university system was at IUP Wednesday for his annual visit and he had to answer some tough questions from a student who says she was bullied by a professor because of her sexuality.

Christina Santiago says she was verbally attacked by a business school professor back in September when the topic of homosexuality came up in class.

“The professor proceeded to say that it’s a sin – God didn’t intend our bodies to work that way,” she said.

Santiago filed a report with the university and on Wednesday she went a step further, taking her concern to Dr. John Cavanaugh, the chancellor of the State System of Higher Education.

“And I asked him, you know, ‘What are you going to do and what is your office going to do to prevent incidents of hate, bullying and harassment?’” she said.

Santiago asked her question during a forum at IUP’s Sutton Hall.

The forum was not in any way related to Santiago’s complaint and it wasn’t open to the media, but KDKA’s Trina Orlando asked the chancellor her same question later in the day.

“If there’s an allegation, we do investigate those things and find out what happened and then take the appropriate steps if there is something that’s learned,” Dr. Cavanaugh said.

Dr. Cavanaugh says an investigation into Santiago’s complaint is ongoing. He also says that the university system has zero tolerance for bullying and every year, he personally sends a memo to each university family explaining the policy.

“I’m personally looking for more,” Santiago said. “I’m looking for specifics as far as it relates to a professor.”

Still, Santiago, and her partner, Gina Szepesi, are hopeful that their voices are being heard.

“It’s rather anticlimactic – it wasn’t much said, but we’ll see where we go in the future with it,”Szepesi said.

Santiago told KDKA-TV she has gotten tremendous support for her fellow students. She says one student even approached her and thanked her for taking the issue to the chancellor.

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