Nabil Adam 'wreaked havoc' while in New Brunswick office, professor says
Nabil Adam, the former vice chancellor for the Office of Research and Collaborations at Rutgers—Newark, has been put back on administrative leave by the University pending an Office of Employment Equity (OEE) investigation that has been re-opened, according to a message shared with The Daily Targum sent by Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Rutgers University—Newark, to Adam’s former graduate student with whom he had an 18-month long relationship.
“As you know, OEE investigations are confidential, and I do not have the information you are requesting. Your understanding that Dr. Adam is on administrative leave pending an investigation is correct,” Cantor’s message stated, which was sent on Sept. 12.
A University spokesperson was not able to confirm the new investigation in time for this article, but they said they would let the Targum know when the information was available.
Farid Alizadeh, a professor at the Rutgers Business School, said in an interview with the Targum that when Adam returned to an office at Rutgers University—New Brunswick, he was sending emails to faculty regarding his former graduate student’s presence in the same building.
Both Adam and his former graduate student were ordered to have no contact with each other while they both worked at Rutgers Business School in New Brunswick, the Targum reported in January.
“I’ve been in Rutgers for 24 to 25 years now, and I have never seen this where they say ‘you can go to this floor on Tuesday,’ and then apparently some ridiculous thing to avoid,” Alizadeh said. “I found it to be hilarious because it wasn’t very serious and (was a very) damaging situation.”
One of Adam’s emails, which Alizadeh provided to the Targum and said was sent to the Rutgers Business School's faculty, expressed his having anxiety due to his former graduate student’s presence in the building.
“As you see below, (Rutgers—Newark) continues to fail to provide me with a safe and non-hostile work environment that is free of harassment and stalking as well as continues to impose constraints on when I can come to and go from school and on my movement as a faculty member in order to accommodate a harasser and stalker ... This is after over 40 years of impeccable service at RU,” according to Adam’s email.
The email also stated: “Please note that I do not expect, nor do I want any of you to take any action toward my harasser/stalker. Any action that any of you may contemplate will later be misconstrued as a retaliatory action against her and that certainly is NOT the purpose of this note."
Several other emails sent to the Rutgers Business School faculty, as well as the former Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of Rutgers—Newark Jerome Williams. One of Williams’s replies to Adam stated the lengths taken for the two to avoid each other.
“ ... as we have said previously, we also are continuing to work diligently to avoid any interaction between you and Ms. (Student). Ms. (Student) is teaching at the Business School in Newark on Tuesday evenings. Accordingly, we are requesting that Ms. (Student) not arrive at the Business School in Newark before 4 p.m. and that you leave the Business School in Newark by 2 p.m. on Tuesdays so as to avoid contact between you and Ms. (Student),” according to Williams’ email.
Adam’s former graduate student, who requested to remain anonymous, said that there was one incident where she had to be escorted through a floor of the building because Adam was also going to be present at the time. The Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD) was called and officers arrived at the scene after Adam saw his former graduate student in the hallway.
“He was taking pictures of me if he spotted me on campus, once again violating the no contact order,” she said to the Targum.
Alizadeh said that he has seen an OEE document stating that Adam was found guilty by the University of not reporting his former graduate student’s suicide threats. The Targum reported in April 2018 that Adam’s former graduate student had attempted suicide in July 2017.
"The OEE document did not conclude that Adam had committed sexual assault against his former graduate student, citing not enough evidence," Alizadeh said.
Adam’s presence on campus and his subsequent emails to colleagues eventually led him and others in the department to complain to Rutgers’ administration.
“We can’t take sides, there is litigation going on, we can’t say this happened or not happened, but we said these circumstances are unacceptable,” Alizadeh said. “We forwarded it to the University, and we said this cannot go on. He wreaked havoc in the department, it divided the department, it was a nightmare department situation last spring because of Nabil’s actions.”
After approximately a month to a month and half of Adam being in office in New Brunswick, he was moved to the Newark campus, he said.
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