In 2019, a female student claimed University of Illinois professor Joseph Petry offered to improve her grades in exchange for sex. Rather than face a reputation-destroying investigation, Petry entered a contract with UI to resign in exchange for them dropping the investigation.
But UI investigated Petry anyway, and nearly a year later determined the student’s claims were “not credible.” That student, 23-year-old Sundas “Summer” Naqvi, had accused Petry of sexual harassment after he refused to improve her grade nine months after she completed his class, The Daily Wire previously reported. About a month after Naqvi made the allegations against Petry, she and her friend William Farrell were arrested after holding Naqvi’s ex-boyfriend at knifepoint in order to delete information off of his phone and computer. The ex-boyfriend, who wasn’t injured, told police he thought the information Naqvi sought to destroy related to her claims against the professor. Naqvi was also charged in December with filing false police reports against a different ex-boyfriend.
Petry filed a lawsuit against UI for continuing its investigation against him – even months after Naqvi was arrested for threatening her ex – and breaking its contract with him to do so. UI tried to get the lawsuit dismissed, arguing, incredibly, that it could breach the contract with a professor so long as that breach doesn’t hurt the professor. Petry argued that UI was trying to get away with “entic[ing] a faculty member to resign as part of an agreement to minimize the damage to his reputation, deliberately breach the agreement, and then escape liability by twisting the facts alleged” in order to claim it “somehow caused no harm,” according to a copy of court documents reviewed by The College Fix.
An Illinois court sided with Petry.
“The university’s own ‘admission that it continued the investigation in violation of the Agreement,’ and Petry’s allegations of lost wages from the investigation, mean that his breach-of-contract lawsuit can continue, the Illinois Court of Claims ruled last month,” the Fix reported. “The two-page ruling suggests that the court saw no merit in the university’s distinction between a breach by itself and damages that resulted from that breach. It was a ‘half-baked argument concocted to delay the inevitable,’ Petry’s lawyers said in a Jan. 27 press release that includes each party’s filings and the Jan. 19 ruling.”
The university’s investigation into Petry found that he and Naqvi connected on social media and began sharing “communications of a social nature,” including photos on Snapchat, the professor said through his attorney, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Petry apologized for his “poor judgment” in 2019, but added, “At no point did I demand sex from her, and at no time did I offer to change her grade, nor did I ever do so.” In his lawsuit, Petry mentioned a witness who said Naqvi “wanted to destroy his reputation to get revenge” for him not changing her grade.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.