Fordham professor fired over accusations he masturbated during Zoom lecture student filmed suing

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Professor Howard Robinson, 69, is alleged to have been caught masturbating during a break on a Zoom lecture in September 2020

Professor Howard Robinson, 69, is alleged to have been caught masturbating during a break on a Zoom lecture in September 2020

A New York university professor who lost his job after he was accused of masturbating on camera during a Zoom lecture is suing his former employer along with a student of his who claims her civil rights were violated after she viewed the alleged indecent act.

Professor, Howard Robinson, 69, has long denied any self-gratification took place during his class and claims that he was trying to send an email while dealing with an urgent need to use the toilet.

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His student, Andrea Morin, who is also suing Fordham University, claims to have witnessed the indecent act and captured it on her cellphone. 

Morin claims to have ended up failing the class as a result of witnessing the act adding that she was retaliated for making the complaint, thereby scuppering her scholarship and was ultimately dropped from the program. She claims her civil rights were violated.

Robinson, meanwhile, claims he is incapable of being aroused because he suffers from erectile dysfunction. 

‘No, I was not masturbating,’ he told the Daily News. ‘The thought of masturbating was the furthest thing from my mind. I was totally focused on teaching.’ 

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Robinson who was a professor of social work, was fired within days by Fordham University by letter which stated, ‘more likely than not you engaged in conduct in violation of the Fordham Sexual and Related Misconduct Policy.’ 

Robinson who also claims his civil rights were violated stressed that he has never been the subject of any grievances during the entirety of his teaching career. 

‘My record has been sterling. There has never been a student or faculty member make any complaint whatsoever,’ he said.

Fordham social work student Andrea Morin captured the act on her cellphone and made a complaint. She ended up failing the class and is suing the school for $1 million in damages

Fordham social work student Andrea Morin captured the act on her cellphone and made a complaint. She ended up failing the class and is suing the school for $1 million in damages

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Robinson maintains he was frantically attempting to attach a PowerPoint presentation to an email and what Morin saw as him masturbating was in fact a ‘technologically challenged middle-aged man with bladder control problems.’  

‘It might be hard for other people to get it. For a 69-year-old with a medical issue, I have to deal with it,’ he claims in the suit filed in White Plains Federal Court.

Professor Robinson who was a Clinical Associate Professor at Fordham was suspended the following day in September 2020 and later fired from his posting

Morin claims she saw her professor climaxing on camera during what was only the second class of the semester in September 2020.

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Other students who were in the class were in a virtual breakout room while she was somehow still able to see and hear the educator of 38 years who has  worked with trauma victims in Rwanda, Taiwan and Israel

She said that Robinson could be seen moving back and forth, red-faced and panting while moving his arms around rapidly for around 90 seconds before saying the word ‘F**k!’ out loud. 

After whatever Robinson was doing was over, he seemed to notice that Morin was still online. ‘Andrea, are you there?’ he called out.

Morin showed the footage to her brother and boyfriend who despite initially laughing off the incident agreed with her assertions. 

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Morin complained to the school the following day and Robinson was suspended without pay while an investigation got underway.      

‘This event has caused enormous problems for me in my life. I have fallen behind in school and emotionally suffer from this incident,’ Morin told university officials,  according to her lawsuit seen by the News. 

Robinson has been a licensed clinical social worker for 38 years and has worked with trauma victims in Rwanda, Taiwan and Israel

Robinson, meanwhile, says he was not able to defend himself properly after being leveled with Morin’s accusations and was unable to contest them through a normal university disciplinary process known as Title IX. 

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Through his lawsuit against the university he is pushing for the Bronx Supreme Court to force Fordham to retry the case in the hope of being reinstated in his post.

‘This process has been unfair and prejudicial and not in good faith,’ he said. ‘In a zeal to correct for a history of indifference to complaints of assault, there has been an overcorrection.’

Fordham is not commenting on either of the lawsuits however provost Jonathan Crystal released a withering statement in relation to Robinson’s firing. 

‘Mr. Robinson seems to be having a difficult time accepting the consequences of his actions,’ Crystal wrote. 

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‘The panel should disregard this attempt to appear sympathetic. His own carelessness and disregard for Fordham’s policy led him to where he is today.’

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