Report finds Pitt business professor engaged in ‘non-consensual sexual contact’ at previous Michigan State job


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Katz Graduate School of Business.

By Rebecca Johnson and Alexandra Ross

According to a report made public earlier this year, a professor in Pitt’s Katz School of Business “engaged in non-consensual sexual contact” with multiple people at his previous job at Michigan State University.

While at an MSU gala with MBA students and professors in April 2022, then-business school associate dean Charles Hadlock non-consensually touched two individuals and sexually harassed one of them, according to an MSU investigation. In July, Hadlock started working as a professor and the Terrence Laughlin Chair in Finance at Pitt’s business school. 

At MSU, the circumstances surrounding this incident erupted into a massive scandal involving top university officials, but it is unclear if Hadlock’s conduct at his last job will result in any action at Pitt. Following an unrelated alleged sexual assault inside the Cathedral of Learning last semester, students have pressed the University to take more action to prevent sexual misconduct on campus.   

A Pitt spokesperson said in light of the incident — which became public in January 2023 through a Michigan Freedom of Information Act request from Michigan news outlets — Pitt’s Office of Compliance, Investigation and Ethics “is reviewing this hiring process.” Once this review is complete, the spokesperson said the University will determine the “appropriate next steps.”

“While we cannot share details of the review underway, we want to reiterate that the safety, security and well-being of our students and employees remains a top priority for our university,” the spokesperson said. “We remain committed to supporting an environment free from sexual misconduct, harassment and discrimination, and this work is led by our Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” 

The spokesperson for the University did not answer questions about potential actions Pitt could take as a result of this review, including any consequences Hadlock will face from the University. The spokesperson said there is no specific deadline for the review. The focus will rather be on “conducting a full and thorough review.” 

The spokesperson also didn’t respond to questions about the extent of interaction Hadlock has with students in the classroom or at University-sponsored events. Pitt declined to give the name of the person speaking on behalf of the University. 

Hadlock teaches the undergraduate course BUSFIN 1355 “Valuation” this semester, according to course directory records in PeopleSoft. 

Hadlock did not respond to multiple requests via email asking him for comment regarding the April incident or his decision to come to Pitt. He also could not be reached by phone.

According to an investigation report from MSU’s Resolution Office, a unit of the school’s Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance, Hadlock “appeared intoxicated” at a “Gatsby Gala” on April 22. He also “[engaged] in sexualized dancing” — which was “unwanted” — with at least two individuals.

The report — which The State News, MSU’s student newspaper, shared with The Pitt News — referenced nine pieces of evidence in addition to witness statements, including public incident reports and a 12-second video. The investigation found that Hadlock violated MSU’s policy on relationship violence, sexual misconduct and Title IX. 

In a request for early retirement leave from his Michigan State position on May 10, Hadlock cited a need to “tend to family health situations and lecture/consult without the pressures of a tenured faculty position,” according to investigative records obtained by Crain’s Detroit. Crain’s also reported that Sanjay Gupta, then-business school dean at MSU, told university officials that Hadlock requested early retirement in order to take a job at another university. Hadlock officially resigned from MSU on June 30. 

Ann Austin, interim associate provost and associate vice president for faculty and academic staff affairs at MSU, told Hadlock in a Jan. 6 letter that he isn’t allowed to work at MSU in the future. 

“Given this determination and our commitment to ensuring a safe environment, we have determined that you will not be permitted to be hired by MSU in the future in any capacity (paid or unpaid),” Austin said to Hadlock in the letter.

According to Crain’s Detroit, the April incident ultimately gave rise to the resignation of Gupta and former MSU President Samuel Stanley Jr. The university asked Gupta to resign in August 2022 for his failure to report Hadlock’s behavior at the gala, and the controversy surrounding Gupta’s resignation led to Stanley’s resignation

Gupta, who didn’t attend the gala, said he didn’t report the incident because other deans who told him about it said they would report it. Gupta filed a lawsuit on Feb. 24 against top MSU officials for allegedly defaming him in a plot to keep him from being named university president, according to The State News