Faculty & Staff News

UH response ‘failed’ former student after College of Technology professor sexually harassed her, she says

A former UH student said in a Twitter thread on Thursday she was sexually harassed by College of Technology professor Houghton Brown in November 2018, leaving her feeling “failed” by the University after its response to the allegations.

Vishakha Mallya, who transferred from UH to UH-Downtown in Fall 2019, said Brown groped her while in his computer information systems class. Mallya emailed President Renu Khator’s office, she said, but was met with a compliance statement and was redirected to Equal Opportunity Services.

“UH EOS listened to my accounts and believed me,” Mallya said in the thread. “I begged them to help me switch professors since the W drop deadline had passed and I couldn’t drop the class.”

But, Mallya said, the EOS office told her no.

“No matter what,” her tweet read, “I had to finish the course with Professor Houghton Brown.”

“I couldn’t do that,” she added. “I couldn’t come back to the class where a professor and a student assaulted and harassed me. I couldn’t come back to the campus that forced a student assaulted by a professor to finish the course.”

The EOS office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mallya, who now studies computer science, “failed out of the semester” and was placed on academic suspension before transferring to UHD in Fall 2019.

I took Spring 2019 off and transferred to (UHD) for Fall 2019 because I still couldn’t step on (the UH) campus,” she said.

She still wishes to return to UH, where she was involved on campus as a Residence Halls Association representative and Cougar Village I Hall Council member in 2016.

But, because of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics’ policies, Mallya cannot be admitted into the computer science program after her suspension.

Brown, meanwhile, continues to teach computer information systems at UH.

Anthony Ambler, the College of Technology’s dean, told The Cougar he is aware of the allegations  but did not comment further.

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