Crime

Professor who used phone to look up colleague’s skirt no longer employed at Cal Poly

A tenured Cal Poly professor is out of a job as of Friday following his conviction earlier this week for using a cell phone to peep up the skirt of a female colleague on campus.

Cal Poly spokesman Matt Lazier confirmed Friday afternoon that Jason Alan Williams “is no longer employed by the university.”

Lazier wrote that Williams “is appealing the decision regarding his employment.”

“First, I want to reiterate that Cal Poly takes these issues very seriously and does not tolerate instances of sexual misconduct,” Lazier wrote in an email Friday. “When the university first learned of the incident involving Jason Williams on May 2, 2018, he was suspended that same day and has not worked on campus since.”

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Jason Alan Williams, a Cal Poly psychology and child development associate professor, stands next to his attorney Shauna Cunningham after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of using an electronic device to view a person’s undergarments. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Williams entered a no contest plea in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Monday to a misdemeanor charge of using an electronic device to view a person’s undergarments for sexual arousal.

Williams, 53, received five years of probation but no jail time as a result of his plea. While on probation, he is subject to searches of his electronic devices and ordered to stay away from his victim, Kendra Williams (no relation).

Following his plea Monday, Lazier said in an email that the university was “aware” of the plea deal, and that the university issued a notice of discipline in May.

Williams had been suspended pending outcome of the disciplinary process, Lazier said.

Williams was a tenured associate professor in the psychology and child development department. According to his curriculum vitae, he had taught at Cal Poly since 2008.

On the morning of May 2, Kendra Williams, who is also a Cal Poly professor in the psychology department, reported to university police that she had caught Jason Williams taking photos up her skirt while her back was turned in a faculty mail room.

According to court records, Jason Williams told officers that he destroyed his cell phone.

Kendra Williams has since publicly criticized Cal Poly’s investigation into the matter as well as its Title IX process.

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Kendra Williams spoke out at the sentencing of Jason Alan Williams, the Cal Poly psychology and child development professor who pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of using an electronic device to view a person’s undergarments. “I was made into an object, for the sexual pleasure and fetish of my colleague and tenured professor, Jason Williams,” she said. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

On Friday afternoon, Kendra Williams wrote via email that she respects “Cal Poly’s decision to terminate his employment.”

“My hope is that in the future it does not take a victim going public to make a statement,” she wrote. “I look forward in working with President Armstrong and Cal Poly in making these changes happen.”

She previously said that she was not allowed to discuss the incident because Cal Poly’s Title IX investigation “imposed a gag order on me,” and she was only able to tell her students she was absent due to a “personal matter.”

“It turns out, Cal Poly was not being honest with me,” she said. “They were using Title IX to limit my speech and save their face.”

Lazier wrote Friday that “it is important to note that Cal Poly’s investigative and disciplinary processes around faculty and staff misconduct are prescribed by (a California State University) executive order and by the CSU employee collective bargaining agreements.”

“These processes are detailed and can be lengthy, but the university is mandated to adhere to them,” he wrote. “Their intent is to ensure fair and thorough review for all involved parties.”

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Matt Fountain is The San Luis Obispo Tribune’s courts and investigations reporter. A San Diego native, Fountain graduated from Cal Poly’s journalism department in 2009 and cut his teeth at the San Luis Obispo New Times before joining The Tribune as a crime and breaking news reporter in 2014.
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