Hamilton

2 more McMaster faculty suspended, banned from campus after sexual misconduct allegations

McMaster University has suspended two faculty members and banned them from campus in the wake of investigating sexual assault allegations against associate professor Scott Watter.

President David Farrar pledged to undergo a full review of the school's psychology department

McMaster University has suspended and banned two faculty members from the psychology department from campus after allegations that are sexual in nature. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

Two faculty members from McMaster University's psychology department have been suspended and are banned from campus after complaints about sexual misconduct.

The new suspensions come after the school began investigating sexual assault allegations against associate professor Scott Watter, who also works in the psychology department and was charged by police in June.

A statement from President David Farrar on the school's website posted Tuesday also pledged to undergo a full review of the department to address systemic issues.

"While I am confident in the investigation under the University's Sexual Violence and Discrimination and Harassment Policies, our actions need to go further than originally planned," he wrote.

"I have directed that the investigation be broadened to identify any potential systemic or cultural issues within the Department that need to be surfaced and addressed."

The allegations against Watter stem from 2017 involving a female student, but he was arrested in late June 2020. Watter faces a sexual assault charge and a charge of sexual assault causing bodily harm.

Officers at the time said they believed there were more victims.

The initial McMaster investigation against Watter has since expanded. It will now be led by Rubin Thomlinson LLP and include allegations against the other two faculty members.

Farrar said details of the investigation will not be shared as it unfolds due to confidentiality purposes, the privacy of complainants, and to ensure a fair and comprehensive investigation.

"McMaster will not tolerate any behaviour that threatens the security and safety of any member of our campus community. I recognize the courage of the complainants who have come forward, and I want to assure them that their allegations will be fully and fairly investigated and that appropriate action will be taken," he wrote.

CBC News has reached out to Hamilton Police Services for comment.

McMaster also said students have resources and supports if they need them, including:

About the Author

Bobby Hristova

Reporter/Editor

Bobby Hristova is a reporter/editor with CBC Hamilton. Email: bobby.hristova@cbc.ca

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