A former professor who was fired from Fordham University in New York City for allegedly masturbating during a Zoom class last year – and the student who recorded the incident on video – have both sued the school, according to reports.
Howard Robinson, 69, claimed he has erectile dysfunction which would make the alleged act “virtually impossible” and said what the student recorded in September 2020 was him trying to send an email while he needed to use the bathroom due to an enlarged prostate, according to the New York Daily News.
“The thought of masturbating was the furthest thing from my mind. I was totally focused on teaching,” he said. He said he told officials about his ED during a school inquiry.
“The thought of masturbating was the furthest thing from my mind. I was totally focused on teaching.”
— Howard Robinson, former Fordham professor
What Morin saw was Robinson “grimacing and shifting his weight in his seat as he rushed to complete the message to his class before relieving himself,” his petition said, according to the Post. The formerly tenured professor is asking to be reinstated.
Robinson also called the school’s investigation “flawed” and claimed he wasn’t allowed a hearing.
Both lawsuits were filed in September.
The student who filmed it, Andrea Morin, claimed she lost her scholarship and was dropped from the program after receiving a failing grade from Robinson’s replacement professor, allegedly in retaliation for reporting the incident.
She claimed that after the students had broken into discussion sessions she filmed Robinson “from above his waist, and observed him for a period of 1.5 minutes, during which time he was shaking, breathing hard, and saying … oh f— yeah,” the Post reported.
She reported the incident the same day, her complaint said, according to the Post. The Daily News, whose reporters viewed the footage, said while Robinson makes rapid movements in the video, he doesn’t clearly say anything.