Last Thursday, a former Fox School of Business instructor was placed on administrative leave from Rutgers University after a 2009 sexual misconduct charge against him resurfaced.
Sombudha Adhikari started teaching at Temple in Spring 2013 — four years after he pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual misconduct. Adhikari admitted he grabbed the breasts and inner thighs of a student at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.
Adhikari continued to teach at Temple until Spring 2017.
The Temple News is concerned about the university’s decision to hire Adhikari as an adjunct professor. Adhikari was allowed to work directly with students for four years. By hiring someone guilty of sexual misconduct against a student, Temple put its students in danger of suffering the same fate.
If university officials knew that Adhikari was guilty of sexual misconduct before he was hired, then they shouldn’t have hired him in the first place. If they didn’t know he was guilty, then it raises an important question: how did Temple miss it?
Employees, staff and faculty members are subject to background checks if they are in direct contact with minors, handle money or operate machinery. University staff members who are responsible for hiring faculty and staff can determine independently whether a background check is necessary, wrote Sharon Littleton, associate vice president of human resources at Temple, in an email to The Temple News.
Based on that criteria, it doesn’t seem like Temple was obligated to conduct a background check on Adhikari. But perhaps this case should make the university reconsider its policy.
A university spokesperson declined to comment further for this story. Without additional explanation from the university, we can only wonder whether the university does all it can to protect students from sexual misconduct by people in positions of power.