Music professor Tim Hays is under an ongoing Title IX investigation in response to student reports about a seating chart in his class containing inappropriate language, according to April Edwards, Dean of the Faculty and vice president of Academic Affairs.
A picture of the seating chart was leaked to The Leader by an EC student who only identified themselves as a female music education major.
“He [Hays] describes an African-American student as “Black” a Filipino student as “Hispanic” and even puts the word “Cute” by a blonde female student in his class seating chart,” said the student in her email.
The female student also cited in her email that one of the reasons for her leak to The Leader was the September 12 sit-out, in which a dozen music students protested alleged sexual harassment in the music department, “in hopes that the reasoning behind the protest is further validated, and these issues in Irion Hall are hopefully addressed and brought to even greater attention.”
In an interview with The Leader, another student who originally took the picture of the seating chart explained how they came across the chart in Hays’s music class they are enrolled in for the fall 2018 semester.
“He [Hays] left for the class break. I saw a paper with just scribbles left on his piano chair, and I wanted to take a closer look at it and found this chart,” explained the student, who was surprised the chart had been sent to The Leader.
The seating chart’s language brought many reactions from other students in the class including from the female student who was marked as “cute” on the seating chart, according to the student who first took the picture.
“She was visibly shaken,” said the student. “It was just really creepy for a teacher to be saying that.”
Hays was contacted by The Leader outside of his office on November 16 but declined to comment and referred all questions to Edwards.
Edwards said that Hays, director of music business and former chair of the department, received a reprimand for the seating chart language.
“We've already talked to Dr. Hays once and made him aware it was inappropriate; he recognizes that, and it won't happen again,” said Edwards. “We always start from a perspective of educating in a situation like that no harm was intended, and I think he now understands what the concerns were.”
Edwards declined to comment on the possible consequences that Hays could face with the investigation, citing it as a “confidential personnel matter.”
While the course of the investigation has brought nothing new to light, Edwards said that it is still ongoing to ensure students feel like they are heard by administration.
“Just because students aren’t necessarily seeing things happening doesn't mean nothing is happening,” said Edwards.“I can assure you that there is quite bit going on behind the scenes, but very very little of that happens publicly, and that’s just the nature of the investigative process and to make sure everybody in the process is protected.”