UGA professor retires after sexual misconduct investigation

Former University of Georgia math professor William Kazez. UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA PHOTO
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Former University of Georgia math professor William Kazez. UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA PHOTO

A longtime University of Georgia math professor barred from the Athens campus earlier this year as officials investigated sexual misconduct complaints against him has retired, his attorney said.

William Kazez’s employment at the university ended on Dec. 1, according to the attorney, Janet E. Hill, and UGA spokesman Greg Trevor. Kazez taught at UGA for about three decades.

At least seven women — students and faculty members — came forward earlier this year with complaints of unwanted touching, groping and sex acts by Kazez, according to Lisa Anderson, a Decatur attorney representing five of the women. Anderson, executive director of Atlanta Women for Equality, said the claims from women at UGA go back at least to 2014.

UGA is part of the University System of Georgia, which prohibits employees from engaging in sexual contact or amorous relationships with any student or system employee who the individual supervises, teaches, or evaluates in any way. That policy prohibits employees from having a romantic or sexual relationship with any student or system employee whose terms or conditions of education or employment the individual could directly affect. Violators can be fired.

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Hill said the investigation concluded that most of the allegations against Kazez were determined to be unfounded. She added Kazez continues to deny he acted “unlawfully towards the students in question.” Anderson disputed Hill’s claims about the findings. Trevor declined comment because UGA does not discuss the findings of such investigations.

Kazez is restricted from interacting with the student complainants on campus and parts of the university, such as math department classrooms, offices and student dining halls. Anderson and Hill are at odds over the restrictions, but for different reasons.

Anderson said she was concerned about student safety if Kazez is able to appear on some parts of the campus.

“UGA is legally obligated to provide a safe, nondiscriminatory educational environment,” she said. “It is not clear how the limited restrictions will ensure that the university meets this obligation.”

Hill believes the university reversed course on its prior commitment concerning the matter.

“We were told there would be no restrictions once he was not employed,” Hill said. “We don’t think any restrictions are appropriate other than not contacting any of the complainants.”

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