Juilliard places professor on leave amid sexual harassment accusations

The Juilliard School has placed the former chair of its composition department on leave while an outside law firm investigates allegations of sexual harassment, according to The New York Times.

Robert Beaser, 68, was placed on paid leave on Dec. 16, the same day a group of New York-based composers published an open letter calling on Juilliard to take such an action.

“Though we recognize and appreciate the need for due process, the volume of allegations, testimony, and supporting evidence of Beaser’s misconduct are undeniably unsettling,” the letter from the Composers Collective said. 

“Until the investigation is resolved, Beaser’s presence in the Juilliard composition department could jeopardize the emotional well-being of students and inhibit a safe and healthy learning environment,” it continued.

The letter came in the wake of last week’s article from the magazine VAN, which reported that Beaser — who served as the chair of the composition department from 1994 to 2018 — had been accused of sexual harassment and misconduct on multiple occasions in the late 1990s and 2000s.

Juilliard’s Title IX coordinator reportedly contacted several former students in January 2018 about misconduct allegations, just months before Beaser was replaced as the head of the composition department, according to VAN.

A spokeswoman for Juilliard confirmed to The New York Times that the school had investigated Beaser in the late 1990s, as well as several years ago. 

The Juilliard School did not respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

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