University of Alaska professor accuses school newspaper of sexual harassment

Student Press Law Center | Fairbanks Daily News-Miner | The Sun Star


Sine Anahita, a professor at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, has filed two complaints about student newspaper The Sun Star, Samantha Sunne reports.



Anahita objected to an April Fool's article that said the university plans "a new building in the shape of a vagina" and to another about hate speech. The university investigated the complaints and found no wrongdoing, but Anahita has appealed. The university's report "has got enough factual errors and misattributions and faulty process that the chancellor has appointed an external reviewer,” someone who is presumably Anahita told Sam Friedman of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “The investigation was that sloppily done.” The paper didn't identify the faculty member "because the university’s sexual harassment complaint process is designed to be confidential," Friedman writes.

The faculty senate "sent us a letter asking us to permanently remove the satirical article from The Sun Star website and to redact the student names appearing in the screen shots accompanying" the other article, Sun Star Editor-in-Chief Lakeidra Chavis wrote in an article about the paper's administrative adventures. Both articles are still up. Chavis wrote the parody article, which now sports a warning that it "is intended as satire and not meant to be taken seriously." (Still, as news of Qatar's soccer stadium has shown, vagina-shaped buildings are not outside the realm of possibility.)

Anahita has also "accused The Sun Star of violating Title IX," Sunne writes.

In 2010, Andrew Sheeler reported in The Sun Star that Anahita sent the manager of the university's women's center to the newspaper's office after the paper's photographers defied a request that they refrain from photographing a panel discussion. "Andrew, several of your facts are incorrect, and the errors sensationalize your story," someone purporting to be Anahita wrote in the article's comments. The commenter did not reply to a request from the paper to elaborate.

Reached by email, Anahita said, "I am unable to discuss the issue at this time."

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.

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