Lawsuit claims UT mishandled sexual harassment complaints against professor

University Hall Clock Tower front-view during Spring. CD-959

TOLEDO (WTVG) - A student at the University of Toledo has filed a lawsuit against the school, claiming the university mishandled an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by a professor.

The original complaint was filed with the school's Title IX office in 2018 but according to the complaint, no action was taken against the professor until further complaints were filed later that year, at which point he was fired.

According to the complaint filed in federal court, the student claims that Erik Tyger -- who is not a named defendant in the case, but who features heavily in the evidence cited against the university -- allegedly made inappropriate comments toward the student and touched her inappropriately while she attempted to complete a project for his class. Tyger worked in the school's communications department and worked with students as part of UT:10, the student news production.

The complaint alleges that despite complaints from both the student and another communications professor on behalf of that same student, no action was taken against Tyger in May 2018. Rather, the complaint claims the Title IX office closed the investigation, only taking action against Tyger after further complaints in November of that year. The complaint goes on to say that, due to this perceived lack of action on behalf of the university, the student was forced to change majors and enroll in online courses to avoid possible contact with Tyger.

In a statement sent to 13abc, a spokesperson for the University of Toledo clarified that Tyger was an assistant lecturer with the university, not a professor and that he was employed by the school from August 21, 2017, until he was terminated with his last day effective May 10, 2019.

"The University of Toledo strives to provide a safe and inclusive learning environment for all members of our campus community," said the statement. "The University is aware of the lawsuit and will decline further comment on pending litigation."

Peter Pattakos, the attorney representing the victim in the lawsuit, issued the following statement:

"Title IX helps ensure that students at public universities are not subject to sexual imposition by their professors, and it shouldn't have taken three complaints — two from other University professors — for UT to finally do something about Mr. Tyger's harassment of my client, who was effectively forced to avoid campus for an entire school year as a result of the delay. We had hoped a lawsuit wouldn't be necessary, but the University has so far refused to offer anything to resolve this matter."