By Matt Clyburn and Michael Walsh
CCSU administrators are handling complaints against an adjunct professor accused with sexual harassment stemming from an incident that occurred Tuesday.
Adjunct math professor Matthew Sedlak allegedly used his position as the female student’s former professor to solicit sexual favors while discussing an issue regarding her final exam grade from the fall semester.
A complaint was submitted with university officials Wednesday afternoon and the woman filed a police report later that evening.
University officials declined to provide details on the case and the office of the chief diversity officer deferred all communication to university spokesperson Mark McLaughlin.
“We are aware of the situation, and it is being handled by the appropriate administrative offices,” said McLaughlin. “We must respect the privacy rights of both parties as required by [the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act], I cannot comment further. “
In e-mails and text messages obtained by The Recorder from the alleged victim, the woman claims she was told by Sedlak that there might be a “small problem” with her final exam grade and asked that she contact him to address the matter.
Sedlak allegedly indicated that the process by which he accessed e-mail on his mobile device was “annoying” and asked the woman to text message him if she still had his number.
The accuser, who said she was never in possession of Sedlak’s phone number, disclosed her phone number to him via e-mail.
The woman began to receive text messages from the phone number connected to Sedlak on the mathematics department website. The woman claims Sedlak said he forgot to turn in her exam because she took it separately from her classmates. The woman, who acknowledged taking the exam separately, claims she was told that her final exam grade in Sedlak’s fall 2010 Math 099 course did not meet the department requirements that would allow her to take Math 101.
The woman told The Recorder that a grade of 81 had already been recorded with the university. She also told Sedlak that a passing grade had been recorded and that she had been allowed to register for Math 101.
Still, Sedlak allegedly offered the woman a blank copy of the final, giving the woman an opportunity to retake the test under his supervision.
“i cant believe im suggesting this but I could help you get the right answers….but idkkkkk,” Sedlak allegedly said.
The woman then suggested meeting at a local coffee shop the next day to retake the test.
“im just nervous ill run into someone…sorry I know im being difficult,” Sedlak allegedly responded.
After agreeing to meet the accused at his residence the next day, the woman claims she received a text message later that evening from the same phone number telling her that Sedlak and a friend were under the influence of alcohol.
“Omg im so nervous im gonna end up in like the student newspaper or something lol,” Sedlak allegedly said. “Omg [alleged victim] u r ignoting me nowwww :( ”
“Cann I be hones twith you…Ur mad cute shhhhhhhhhhh,” the next messages allegedly said.
The woman did not respond until the next morning when Sedlak allegedly apologized for the messages from the prior evening, saying that he “was a little drunkish.”
“i had typed another text but I guess i didn’t send it…good thing too,” Sedlak allegedly said.
The woman encouraged the accused to send the message, “oh my goodness…tell me anyway.”
Sedlak allegedly responded with, “It said…you should let me go down on you while you take the test :( “
After several more text messages were exchanged, Sedlak allegedly asked again if she would allow him to perform oral sex.
The woman ceased correspondence and brought her complaint to Chief Diversity Officer Rosa Rodriguez, where the woman said officials collected evidence and took photographs of the text messages on her cell phone.
The woman disclosed all prior e-mail correspondence with Sedlak to The Recorder, all of which was directly related to coursework dating back to September 2010 when the mathematics course began.
The text message conversation on the woman’s phone was also shown to The Recorder and matched the transcript later obtained.
According to CCSU policy, sexual harassment is defined, among other things, as a “request for sexual favors…when submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly the basis, term, or condition of any individual’s…grade [or] evaluation.”
After attempting to contact Sedlak, The Recorder discovered that the phone used to communicate with the woman is out of service, but Sedlak responded to e-mail correspondence Friday afternoon.
“While the university requests that I not comment on any specifics while they are still investigating the claim, I am confident that I will be able to clear my name from any accusations of wrongdoing,” Sedlak said.
An unidentified person in the adjunct faculty mathematics office said that Sedlak is no longer teaching at CCSU.
“Something came up and he had to leave for the last couple weeks [of the semester],” the person said.
The math department requires students to record at least a C- in Math 099 before being allowed to enroll in Math 101. Students must achieve a grade of at least 60 percent on their final exam in order to receive the C- in the class, according to syllabi from Sedlak and other CCSU math professors found online.
According to the CCSU course registration system on Pipeline, Sedlak was not scheduled to teach next semester.
Officer Sebastian Magnano of the CCSU Police Department declined to present a copy of the police report Friday afternoon in absence of the records manager. Magnano said law requires that only one officer have jurisdiction over department records and that the records division would be locked until Monday.
On Monday, The Recorder was denied access to the police report, saying that it was unavailable because it’s still an ongoing investigation.
Sedlak’s profile on QuietSpeculation.com, a public daily web magazine dedicated to the trading card game “Magic: The Gathering,” indicates that Sedlak lives in Connecticut with his fiancée.
Sources confirm that Sedlak is also a graduate student at CCSU.
[UPDATED: May 9, 11:44 p.m.]