Liberal Studies Clinical Assistant Professor J. Ward Regan abruptly stopped teaching this week after reports of an alleged long-term sexual relationship with a 15-year-old in the 1990s emerged.
Regan stopped teaching after an NYU Local article detailing the relationship was published.
On Wednesday, LS Academic Administrator Amy Males sent an email to Regan’s Social Foundations class announcing that Thursday’s class would be canceled. The following day, Males followed up on her previous email announcing that the course would resume next week and that it would be taught by another LS professor, Joel Rozen, for the remainder of the semester.
NYU Spokesperson John Beckman told WSN that Regan, as of Wednesday, did not have active teaching duties at NYU. Regan was also adviser to the NYU Politics Club, which will not meet again for the remainder of the semester. It remains unclear whether Regan was suspended, dismissed or resigned, and Beckman did not specify whether Regan’s departure is a direct result of the allegations of sexual misconduct that recently surfaced.
“The university does not comment on personnel matters, but I will say the following: as of yesterday, Professor Regan does not currently have teaching or other academic duties,” Beckman said in an email.
A Pennsylvania grand jury report published in early 2017 detailed a culture of sexual misconduct spanning several decades at the Solebury School, an elite boarding institution in Pennsylvania at which Regan taught in the 1990s. In the report, a woman who testified, referred to as R.D., claimed that a long-term sexual relationship with Regan had damages, including mental trauma, the development of an eating disorder and her eventual dropping out of NYU.
Regan did not respond to WSN’s request for comment.
In March of this year, Gallatin sophomore Victor Markhoff, a graduate of the Solebury School, brought allegations to the attention of NYU’s Diversity Committee — made up of Senators-at-Large — who first discussed the matter later that month. On April 12, the committee sent a letter to NYU administration claiming that the school had been made aware of the allegations after the release of the report in 2017 and had neither acted on it nor released the information to the community.
“The NYU administration was made aware about this as soon as this was made public in 2017 and, to our knowledge, nothing was done,” the Diversity Committee said in a statement. “There are countless students both on campus and LS that are not aware of this situation and that is unfair to students. We hope that this can raise attention to this issue so that students can get answers.”
According to R.D.’s testimony, Regan was 22 years old when their relationship began. A member of the faculty, Regan resided full-time in school-owned apartments, some of which were adjoined to student dormitories.
R.D. testified that the relationship began with occasional flirting on campus and eventually progressed to a visit to New York City to see Regan during summer break, where he allegedly performed oral sex on her. The relationship continued into the following school year, where the two had sex in his on-campus apartment and at his friend’s apartment in New York City. R.D. believes that Solesbury was aware of the relationship, but claims that administration contacted neither she nor Regan about the relationship.
Appearing before the grand jury, Regan repeatedly invoked his fifth amendment rights when asked several questions about romantic relationships between students and teachers during his tenure at Solesbury and about his alleged relationship with R.D.
Additional reporting by Sayer Devlin.
Email Alex Domb and Yasmin Gulec at [email protected].