Professor raped; University let him

Gary Xu is a Chinese professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a sexual predator.

I knew of his sexual misconduct because Ao Wang, a literature professor at Wesleyan University, posted about it on a Chinese social network Douban. The posts were later deleted by site administrators. One of his friends, whose name is unknown, was sexually abused by Gary Xu. Wang stood up to speak for her and other victims. Gary Xu denied the accusations, threatened to kill Wang, and filed a lawsuit against Wang in China. In China.

For this blogpost I looked up Gary Xu’s cases again, and the details are way more horrible than what I remembered. Based on a filed complaint (2019), Gary Xu was the department head before he resigned in 2018, and abused his power in the department, university and his field. He raped several women and made money from his students’ work. Faculty in the department was aware of his behavior and even victims too.

Most of the details in this complaint was provided by Xingjian Xu, a victim and a named plaintiff. She had a 2-year abusive relationship with Gary Xu, and this started in 2013, when she was 19 and Xu was 45. Not only did he raped her, but he also brutally beat her. She was pregnant and forced into abortion. She had depression and attempted suicide. Twice. She reported Xu to the university, and dropped the reports. Three times. The university forbid Xu from any contact with Sun, but no actual measure was taken.

Their relationship ended in the fall of 2015. Sun was trying to avoid Xu that day. Xu was in his car following her, and attempted to hit her with his car till she finally arrived at the Champaign Public University. The public witnessed it. Police arrived. Sun was safe.

The university issued an investigation. However, Xu remained a faculty member at UIUC for three more years. It wasn’t until his sexual misconduct was made known in China that Xu resigned in August 2018. When he left UIUC, Xu received $10,000 from the university.

How could a sexual predator get away like this? You may ask, and I don’t have an answer.

By the way, UIUC tolerated faculty-student relationships. The brighter side though, because it is dark enough, is that the university launched a consensual relationship policy task force after Sun’s case. The task force suggested banning relationships between faculty members and undergrads, and relationships between faculty members and grad students within the same academic unit.

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