Name droppers

PCC publicly identifies student who filed sexual harassment claim against teacher

By André Coleman 06/20/2013

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The identity of the Pasadena City College student whose allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation led to the paid suspension of a journalism adviser has been revealed on the PCC Board of Trustees agenda and an accompanying report urging rejection of a $100,000 claim for damages filed against the school by the student.
 
The claim itself has not yet been made public. And while the student’s name is listed on the agenda report prepared for PCC’s Board of Trustees to consider in closed session, Warren Swil, who served as the faculty adviser to the school’s newspaper, The Courier, is not named in the report as the perpetrator of the alleged harassment and retaliation.
 
The student, a member of The Courier staff, could not be located for comment. Swil declined to be interviewed for this story.
 
“It is recommended the Board of Trustees receive and reject the claim,” reads the recommended action appearing in the report. The claim itself has not yet been released. However, “[The student] alleges sexual harassment and retaliation by a district employee,” the document states.
 
The appearance of the student’s name on the agenda shocked Mikki Bolliger, a retired adviser to The Courier who was called in to take over for Swil after he was placed on paid leave.
 
“I was there for the last six weeks of the semester and I taught The Courier class and did not have a clue,” Bolliger said. “That was good, because it could have made it awkward for him had I known.” According to Bolliger, the student will return to the paper next year. 
 
Swil was abruptly placed on administrative leave and escorted off campus on March 28 shortly after the student filed the complaint. One day before Swil was removed from his position embattled PCC President Mark Rocha said at a press conference that student reporters were leaving out of recent stories some of the positive things being done by his administration. At the time, Rocha had been the subject of two no-confidence votes, one taken by the PCC Associated Students, the other by an ad hoc faculty committee. Those votes left the relationship between the administration and the newspaper strained, which led many to believe Swil was removed due to the paper’s critical reporting of Rocha and some of his staff.
 
Top administrators have maintained the action taken against Swil had nothing to do with the critical tone of the stories produced under his watch.

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