An assistant professor in the University of Arizona’s college of public health parted ways with the school last week, after an internal investigation found that he sexually harassed a student last fall.
On Sept. 29, the student filed a report with the UA’s Office of Institutional Equity accusing Nathan Stupiansky of drug-facilitated sexual assault.
The Star does not typically identify victims of sexual assault.
Earlier in the month, the woman met Stupiansky for a drink in downtown Tucson, but shortly after starting her second drink, the woman experienced a complete blackout that lasted several hours, the letter said.
She woke up naked in a bed in an apartment belonging to Stupiansky’s friend, with no memory of what had happened. Stupiansky told the woman that he had sex with her in the time she’d been incapacitated and again in the morning when she was disoriented and still incapable of consent, according to the letter.
In April, the UA emailed the woman, saying that it had completed its investigation and found that it was “more probable than not” that Stupiansky violated UA policy by kissing her when he knew or should’ve known she was incapable of consenting, according to a letter issued by the OIE.
The letter says that the school recommended significant action be taken to address the policy violation, but didn’t specify what that discipline would be.
In a second letter sent to the woman on Monday, Office of Institutional Equity director Kristen Klotz said that in relation to the investigation, determination and recommendation, Stupiansky “is no longer employed by or affiliated with” the UA.
UA spokesman Chris Sigurdson told the Star that rules about personnel information prohibit him from disclosing the nature of Stupiansky’s departure from the school, even though UA officials have previously alerted the media to firings of employees accused of misconduct.
Sigurdson did confirm that Stupiansky’s last day was June 30.
Stupiansky’s attorney, Rick Lougee, disputed the university’s determination.
“The University’s findings are in keeping with its policy of ‘Start by Believing’ and ignoring facts and evidence inconsistent with preconceived notions of guilt,” Lougee wrote in an email to the Star.
Lougee said that he was told the Tucson Police Department’s investigation into the incident was closed, but TPD told the Star on Tuesday that the case is still open while detectives wait for additional forensic evidence, according to department spokesman Officer Christopher Hawkins.
While the woman told the Star that she’s relieved Stupiansky is no longer with the UA, she said that the investigative process has been grueling.
“They didn’t make the right finding based on my story,” she said of the university’s sexual harassment finding rather than sexual assault. “They didn’t offer me help, and the waiting was torture.”
The woman filed a police report and submitted to a rape kit. She reported the situation to the UA a few weeks later, at which time officials told her it would take two to three months to complete the investigation, but it actually took nearly seven months before the school issued its finding.
When she asked the school for legal resources, the woman was referred to legal aid, which turned her away, saying they don’t handle criminal cases. After months of waiting for the UA to return a decision, the woman hired an attorney to help navigate the process and put pressure on the school to take action.
At one point, an OIE employee told her that the problem with the investigation was that she didn’t remember anything.
A University of Arizona salary database shows that Stupiansky was being paid $100,000 a year as the school’s director of adolescent studies.
Stupiansky previously worked at the Indiana University School of Medicine, with his research and training focusing on behavioral determinants of sexual health among adolescents, according to the UA’s website.
Contact reporter Caitlin Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4191.
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