November 22, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers launches new investigation into last year’s sexual assault case involving Newark professor

Student files civil suit against University for "failure to investigate her complaints" following sexual misconduct allegations she raised against her professor

Photo by Rutgers Business School |

Nabil Adam, former vice chancellor for Research & Collaborations at Rutgers University—Newark, has been accused of violating the terms of his administrative leave by the student who raised sexual misconduct allegations against him last year. Rutgers is currently investigating the matter. 

Rutgers—Newark has launched a second investigation of a faculty member, following a separate sexual misconduct case less than a year ago. 

On Nov. 28, 2017, the Office of Employment Equity (OEE) at Rutgers University received an official report from a student of Nabil Adam, former vice chancellor for Research & Collaborations at Rutgers University—Newark, accusing him of sexual misconduct. 

The student, who asked to remain anonymous, submitted the report claiming that Adam initially sexually assaulted her on Jan. 14, 2016, after which the two engaged in an 18-month long relationship where she grew dependent on the married professor’s attention and affection and then attempted suicide, according to The Daily Targum

On April 17, Carolyn Dellatore, associate director of OEE, concluded in her investigation report that she was unable to determine that Adam sexually assaulted the student, that the two had any kind of sexual relationship or that Adam engaged in retaliatory conduct toward the student because of her complaints against him, according to documents obtained by the Targum. 

Adam has remained on administrative leave since the time of the investigation, an indefinite sentence per University policy on investigative matters.

At the time, Peter Englot, the chief of staff and senior vice chancellor for Public Affairs at Rutgers—Newark, said, “Dr. Adam remains on administrative leave and is strictly prohibited from entering campus, engaging with students and participating in any university activities," according to the Targum.

In a recent email, Englot said Adam was permanently relieved of his responsibilities as vice chancellor for Research & Collaborations on May 22, after OEE’s appeal process concluded. He is still on administrative leave while the University considers “corrective and/or disciplinary action” in accordance with its policy

In a recent interview with the Targum, the student stated that Adam has been on campus since his administrative leave and that she is the subject of disparaging emails he has exchanged with other Rutgers faculty members prior to and after OEE’s initial investigation — potentially undermining the results of the investigation. 

She said that the University was hesitant to accept her complaint because she went public with her earlier allegations and documents pertaining to it.  

“It turned out that (Adam) was reaching out to people to disseminate prior investigation reports, when I declined to file a complaint in July 2017, to convince people that I brought (a) false allegation against him. He was on campus more than once,” she said. 

On Aug. 10, the student received notice from OEE stating that it gathered enough information to warrant a second investigation, according to documents obtained by the Targum. 

In an email to the student, Chancellor of Rutgers—Newark Nancy Cantor said, "As you know, as soon as Rutgers became aware of your allegations, they were referred to OEE for immediate investigation.  As you have raised new allegations, those likewise have been referred to OEE for immediate investigation ... In the interim, I want to reiterate that Professor Adam has been on administrative leave and remains on administrative leave.  As you also know, Professor Adam has been permanently removed as your advisor."

In the Aug. 12 email from Cantor, the Chancellor confirmed the case was being investigated by the University. 

On Aug. 17, the student filed a civil case against the Adam, the University and Periklis Papakonstantinou, an assistant professor at the operations research and related information systems department (MSIS) for a Title IX violation and related failure to investigate her complaints among other grievances.

Dellatore did not respond for comment by the time of publication.

The parties involved have been made aware of the suit and await further litigation.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to better represent the suit filed. 

Christian Zapata

Christian Zapata is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies and minoring in philosophy. He is a news editor @ The Daily Targum. For more updates, follow him @c_zapata161 on Twitter. 

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