Suspended SJSU professor re-instated, but classes canceled

- Education students at San Jose State say a crisis is erupting with the re-instatement of Professor Lewis Aptekar.

"He's being brought back in to teach courses in the counseling program. counseling, after what he's done," said SJSU graduate education student Celina Cesena.

Aptekar was found to have committed sexual harassment in 2015, after repeatedly asking a female student for a date. He was put on paid administrative leave, required to complete training, and had to step-down from the department chair position. University spokeswoman Pat Lopes Harris says he is cleared to return to teaching..

"there were two investigations involving professor aptekar. but both are completed, and any sanctions that resulted from those investigations have been addressed and completed," said Lopes Harris.

Completion of penance isn't good enough for some education students.. They complained to university officials of discomfort sitting in the same class with a professor who'd hit on students.

"There has been rumors and accusations of him acting inappropriately with other students before in the past," said Valerie Lamb, a graduate education student at the university. "we just didn't think that after being found guilty he was going to come back."

Lamb says many students are backing out of Aptekar's courses. The university, citing student well-being, canceled both of Aptekar's teaching assignments this Fall. That includes the "Trauma and Crisis Intervention" course -- required for graduation. Seven students could be forced to delay their date with pomp and circumstance until the Spring.

"We still don't even know what's going to happen in the spring. and who's gonna teach that. and just what's happening with this department overall," said Lamb.

University officials say they've offered the seven affected students the opportunity to take a different course that offers much of the same content, so they can complete their graduation requirement. but dissatisfied students plan a sit-in at the college of education Monday, insisting Aptekar shouldn't be teaching at all.

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