A 36-year-old student has sued Cuesta College, alleging that two administrators discriminated against him after he said another male student seeking a relationship with him harassed him.
Benjamin Alexander, a nursing student at the North County campus in Paso Robles, said the fellow student retaliated against him by filing a complaint to college administrators when Alexander refused romantic advances.
The complaint resulted in a disciplinary letter added to Alexander’s student file.
Alexander claims he did nothing wrong. But the student told administrators that Alexander stood up, slapped his own behind, and said out loud, “You can’t have these.”
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The Tribune is not identifying the student because he is not a party to the suit.
David Hagan, Alexander’s attorney, called the allegation “absurd.”
“Even if this happened, the conduct described is absurd, something you would find in an adolescent comic book,” Hagan wrote in an email. “No reasonable person would give credibility to such a story, much less give it meaning.”
Alexander claims in the lawsuit filed in San Luis Obispo Superior Court that he was ordered to attend a meeting with Sandee McLaughlin, executive dean of the North County campus, and Linda Fontanilla, vice president of student services, while guarded by two campus police officers.
Alexander also claims that he was not given the chance to give a rebuttal or provide witnesses to prove he had done nothing wrong and that the administrators sided with the student because they are biased in favor of gay people.
Alexander is seeking damages for alleged discrimination, harassment, false imprisonment, interference with financial prospects and infliction of emotional distress.
The lawsuit claims that the school’s disciplinary letter could damage his future employment opportunities. It also claims that he has incurred additional medical expenses for anxiety following the incident.
Attorney Leith Hansen of Jacobson, Hansen, Najarian and McQuillan in Fresno is representing Cuesta College against the lawsuit.
Hansen, who could not be reached for comment, filed a request to dismiss the case, arguing that there is no legal basis for the lawsuit.
The case is scheduled to be discussed in court Aug. 1.