Baruch professor accused of misconduct no longer with the college

Dept+of+Philosophy.jpg

Dept. of Philosophy

James Rowes’ name is not listed on the philosophy department’s teaching schedule for this semester, as he was removed after allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Image Credit: Julian Tineo | The Ticker

A philosophy professor has been removed from his teaching position at Baruch College by administrators, officials confirmed to The Ticker.

James Frederick William Rowe, who taught philosophy, does not have any classes assigned to him this semester.

The Ticker could not confirm whether Rowe was removed from his position specifically due to allegations of inappropriate and lewd behavior.

But in fall 2018, The Ticker published an article detailing Rowe’s relationships with his students, some of whom claimed that Rowe kissed them or their friends on the cheek and made inappropriate comments about women and jokes in the classroom.

In the article, out of the two-dozen people that The Ticker interviewed, six students described Rowe’s actions as inappropriate.

“I was creeped out,” Ewa Zaniewski, a former Rowe student, said of the professor’s actions in the original Ticker article.

“It was the last day of finals, and I left immediately afterward and I was like, ‘I won’t ever have to see him again.’”

Rowe had a different point of view.

He originally stated that he didn’t remember any instances of inappropriate behavior, but later amended his statement in an email. He said that only one student ever approached him to let him know that his actions upset them.

Rowe said he apologized to the student and believed they landed on good terms. From Rowe’s perspective, his compliments and interactions with his students were unbiased and meant to be friendly.

In another email to The Ticker, Rowe admitted that he had hugged or kissed “several former students of mine, male and female,” though he didn’t specify whether those students had still been at Baruch or had graduated.

Thomas Teufel, chair of the Philosophy Department, said that he had spoken to Rowe after the article came out on Nov. 19, 2018, but redirected The Ticker to the provost’s office to find out more information about his current employment status.

A professor in Baruch’s philosophy department confirmed that Rowe was removed from the faculty but neither Provost David Christy nor Director of Public Relations Suzanne Bronski used the word “fired” when asked for comment. Bronski, in an emailed statement to The Ticker, said, “James Rowe is no longer an adjunct professor at Baruch College.”

In the same statement, Bronski also said that the college “does not comment further on personnel issues” when probed about why Rowe is no longer part of the Baruch faculty.

“I’m not too surprised [by his employment status] because, I mean, his actions were always sus[picious],” said former student Anthony Zhang.

Another former student, Monjur Hussan, said that he thought it was “great to hear Baruch took some action and didn’t let this slide.”

When asked if he thought a clearer explanation of Rowe’s status should have been given, Hussan, a 19-year-old finance major, said, “Definitely, so other professors and students know that their actions or something they say can have consequences.”

Regardless of the allegations against him, on the teacher-evaluation forum Rate My Professors, Rowe has consistently scored high, both before and after the initial article about him came out.

Former Baruch students gave him an average quality rating of 4.3 on the platform, tagging him as hilarious, respected, caring and other positive adjectives and descriptions.

The ratings for his Fashion Institute of Technology page are also soaring, with an average quality rating of 5.0.

However, his FIT Rate My Professors page only houses two student reviews. His Baruch one houses 50, four of which appear to have been posted in the previous semester, when the article had come out.

A spokesperson at FIT, where Rowe also teaches philosophy, confirmed in a phone call that he is still employed there.