Music professor Tim Hays will no longer be teaching a class this semester after student complaints of behavior in class, in connection with a controversial seating chart.
On November 20, The Leader reported Hays was 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 Faculty and vice president of Academic Affairs. A picture of the seating chart, which was leaked to The Leader by an anonymous student, showed words written on the chart to identify students including the words “cute” and “more blond” under the names of female students.
According to a student in Hays’ seating chart class, who wished to remain anonymous, Hays “personally attacked the class because of the newspaper article” on November 27.
“He told us we were violating his privacy by sharing the seating chart,” said the student. “He also personally attacked the girl he wrote ‘cute’ by and asked her in front of the class if she was the one who wrote the newspaper article.”
The student said that about fifteen students went to report Hays’ “aggressive behavior” after class to Peter Griffin, chair of the music department.
Hays referred all questions from The Leader to his attorney Travis Life. In an emailed statement, Life said, “It is very unfortunate that an educator of the highest reputation can be sullied through inaccurate, incomplete, and false reporting. Professor Hayes looks forward to working with Elmhurst College to correct these false representations and heal Professor Hayes’ reputation with the school and the community.”
Edwards and Griffin also met with the class on November 29 to answer any questions students had.
In an interview with The Leader, Edwards said that although Hays “was not violating any terms of the investigation at anytime,” the decision was made that he would no longer teach the class because “it would not be a productive environment for the students.”
Mike Pinto, visiting assistant professor for music business and jazz studies, confirmed to The Leader that he will be teaching Hays’ seating chart class for the duration of the fall semester.
While nothing definitive has been decided about Hays’ other fall courses this semester or his spring courses, Edwards said it was unlikely he would be teaching the spring semester sequel to his fall course, which the seating chart class is currently taking.
As for the Title IX investigation, Edwards said, “we are continuing to gather information and discuss the situation with Dr. Hays.”