The Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto has opened an administrative inquiry to investigate a professor accused of sexual harassment by a Brazilian student. The complaint was revealed by the Público newspaper.
According to her, the abuse began in September 2021, after she sought out the professor for guidance on an academic article. The young woman says that, under threats that he could harm her grades and her college career, she was coerced into having frequent sex with the professor.
The student reports having discovered in February that she was pregnant. Upon learning of the pregnancy and her intention to maintain the pregnancy, the professor would have physically assaulted the Brazilian woman. The following month, says the young woman, she had a miscarriage. The survey does not reveal the names of the teacher and the student.
The decision to make the complaint would have occurred, according to the Público report, after the student entered a depression and revealed the case to her mother. The student would also have been encouraged by the recent news of more than 50 accusations of harassment at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon.
The Brazilian then formalized the complaint to the police, who are already investigating the case.
Through his lawyer, Augusto Ínsua Pereira, the professor denied the accusations. “He did not commit any crime: sexual abuse, rape or any other,” the defender told Sheet. According to him, the professor has not yet been officially notified about the criminal complaint presented to the police. “He only has knowledge, through the university, of an internal process.”
In a note, the University of Porto says that the Faculty of Letters was contacted by the student for the first time on April 26, “having been provided with support to formalize the complaint at the same time”.
According to the institution, the initiation of the disciplinary procedure began shortly after the formalization of the complaint, “having been appointed on the 26th of April an instructor for the process”.
According to the law in force, the process instructor will carry out investigations and diligences, in addition to listening to the student and witnesses. The rules establish a period of 45 days to complete the instruction, although the deadline can be extended “on a reasoned proposal from the instructor, in cases of exceptional complexity”.
The sanctions provided for by law for disciplinary infractions are, in increasing order of severity, written reprimand, fine, suspension of duties, disciplinary dismissal, if the person punished is hired, or dismissal, in the case of a worker appointed to the position.
On April 21, also at the University of Porto, Dean António Manuel de Sousa Pereira signed an order in the Diário da República — the Portuguese Official Gazette — ordering the dismissal of a professor accused of making discriminatory comments, including xenophobic statements to Brazilian students.
The professor was the subject of a complaint signed by 129 students from the Faculty of Communication, in which he taught an introductory course on economics. Among the offenses said by the professor were comments such as “Brazilian women are a commodity” and “do you know what a shotgun is? It’s that weapon that men use to kill women.”
The revelations come at a time when accusations of inappropriate behavior by professors have grown in Portuguese universities. In early April, it was announced that, in just 11 days of operation, a channel on which students can report cases of harassment and misconduct at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon received more than 50 complaints.
Days later, about 200 students protested at the University of Lisbon against the harassment.