A harassment suit filed by an Oberlin College professor last week accuses a colleague of making death threats.
EunJung An, associate professor of French and cinema studies, is seeking at least $25,000 in damages from the college, which she said did nothing to protect her.
She filed papers in Lorain County Common Pleas Court saying fellow professor Ali Yedes crossed a line with women who work in the French and comparative literature department.
Now An fears for her safety.
The problems allegedly started in January 2006, when An said Yedes pointed his finger in her face and accused her of betraying and undermining him.
During a 45-minute tirade, Yedes told An that “in his culture, he could have had the female department chair killed because of his perceived mistreatment by her in postponing his tenure,” the lawsuit claims — and when finished yelling, he tightly hugged An.
The Oberlin College website identifies Yedes as a “Muslim religious life affiliate” with the Islamic Center of Cleveland.
The confrontation was so loud that a security officer appeared and asked if everything was all right, according to the suit.
An said she felt physically threatened and when she complained to a senior department member, she was told she “needed to develop a thicker skin.”
Yedes allegedly told another professor in August 2013 that he brought his nephew to the United States on a student visa specifically to “stab and kill someone from his department.”
When the nephew didn’t follow through with the demand, Yedes beat him and the nephew fled the country, the suit said.
The worker in whom Yedes confided reported that information to the Oberlin College dean of arts and sciences. An’s suit said the college failed to tell her of Yedes’ threat against her life.
The dean later told An the college was not aware of the threat, according to the suit.
An said she was moved to another building, then to a basement — creating a number of job burdens — to avoid more hostile interactions with Yedes. Another female worker who the suit said was harassed was moved as well.
Meanwhile, Yedes was given tenure and a larger office, An said.
The suit also accuses Yedes of calling her a whore and other defamatory words, and disrupting meetings with outbursts. His behavior has been erratic and abusive and caused turnover of five acting French chairs, the court papers said.
The suit cites other run-ins with female professors, including incidents in April 2008 and February, April, and July 2009.
One involved Yedes allegedly putting his hand in a faculty member’s face and forcing her away from him, backing her into an administrative assistant’s office.
Oberlin College was sent a summons on Monday. No further court dates have been set as of publication.