AU trustee takes voluntary leave from board after sexual misconduct findings

Los Angeles Times publisher Ross Levinsohn has been accused of sexual harassment

AU trustee takes voluntary leave from board after sexual misconduct findings

Ross Levinsohn, an American University trustee, has taken a voluntary leave of absence from the Board of Trustees after an investigation by NPR revealed a history of sexual harassment claims against him.

Mark Story, the University’s director of strategic communication, said AU was made aware of the allegations against Levinsohn Thursday evening. The Board’s Executive Committee convened on Friday to discuss the matter, board chair Jack Cassell wrote in a Monday letter to the AU community.

“Shortly after, the board communicated with Mr. Levinsohn at which time he voluntarily agreed to take a leave of absence as a trustee,” Cassell wrote. “During this time, all of his board activities and university participation will be suspended.”

Levinsohn, an AU alum who serves as the CEO and publisher of the Los Angeles Times, officially took leave from AU on Jan. 19. He has been accused of “frat house” behavior.

As an executive at AltaVista, a search engine, and general manager for Fox Sports, Levinsohn was sued for sexual harassment in two separate cases, according to the NPR story. He denies the allegations made against him.

In addition to inappropriate sexual behavior, Levinsohn has been accused of telling The Hollywood Reporter that he would not stay at one of the publication’s events because he would be surrounded by gays.

Following the publication of the NPR article, the Times’ parent company, Tronc, announced they were launching an independent investigation into the allegations against Levinsohn.

“Tronc is committed to creating a culture of diversity and inclusion, and we will take appropriate action to address any behavior that is inconsistent with this culture,” said chief executive Justin Dearborn in a statement released by the media company. “Once that review is complete, we will take swift and appropriate action to address any behavior that falls short of our expectations.”

Levinsohn joined the board in 2015. Whether or not the Board of Trustees will reinstate him remains unclear.

“The Board of Trustees will continue to monitor the situation and will be in close communication with university officials,” Story said in an email. “At the same time, the Board of Trustees takes these allegations seriously.”

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