Last March, after a ballet student reported a sexual assault by a lecturer, Indiana University waited six weeks to notify the police.
In those six weeks, the University uncovered allegations by six others against Guoping Wang, 54. Wang worked as a dance coach in the Jacobs School of Music. IU fired him in May.
Critics say the University should have called the police right away instead of asking administrators to investigate first. Wang’s defense attorneys say Wang is innocent and argue that the delay in turning over the case to law enforcement was unfair to both the ballet student and to their client.
The ballet student reported that Wang had sexually assaulted her while preparing for the previous fall’s “The Nutcracker.” She said he trapped her in his office, pulled off her leotard and tights and stopped only when he heard someone in the hall.
IU immediately placed Wang on leave and directed university officials to conduct an investigation. The investigation unearthed reports from six more students and staff that Wang had forcibly kissed them on the mouth.
The University did not report any of the allegations to campus police until May 4. IU announced Wang’s termination the following Monday. In July, Wang was arrested and charged with criminal confinement and sexual battery. He is currently out on bond, awaiting a pretrial hearing.
University officials pointed out that they had acted in accordance with their policies and procedures while investigating Wang.
“I feel extremely confident that IU acted responsibly, ethically, professionally, and quickly in this case,” Provost Lauren Robel said in an email to the Indiana Daily Student.
The University’s handling of the case raises a number of questions. Why did officials wait so long to notify IUPD? When did the Jacobs School of Music administrators first learn about any of the allegations?
“I don’t like people who are not trained like detectives and police officers conducting investigations,” said Amelia Lahn, one of Wang’s attorneys. “They don’t do it to the same standard, and then it’s muddying the waters.”