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Gay Exchange Student Loses Fellowship and Threatened With Deportation After Reporting Professor For Sexual Harassment

*EXCLUSIVE – Openly Gay Chilean Exchange Student At Columbia University Loses Fellowship and Threatened With Deportation After Reporting Professor For Sexual Harassment

Alberto Leguina an openly gay Chilean exchange student and Fellow at the prestigious Columbia University in New York City had his ruined and his Fellowship terminated after lodging a sexual harassment complaint against  Professor Qais Al-Awqati Professor of Medicine and Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.

Alberto claims that during his first week of work at Columbia University under  Professor I Al-Awqati that he sexually propositioned him in an instant messages that asked if he would “date” an older man.   After rejecting his advances Qais Al-Awqati told Alberto “You are out!” but later apologized to Alberto and presented him with a new Macbook that he bought with University funds.  Upset by what was happening Alberto went through proper channels and made a complaint with Columbia University’s Human Resources which promised that a full investigation would be made,.

Three months later not only Columbia’s Human Resource Department NOT investigated Alberto’s sexual harrasment report against Al-Awquati.  Unbeknownst to him Al-Awqati  had sent a false progress report to the director of the PhD program at his home school of the  Universidad Catolica in Chile claiming that Alberto’s performance in the lab was not “up to the expectations of a Columbia Fellow” and that “he was lazy”.  A few days later Columbia University and  the Universidad Catolica cancelled Alberto’s Fellowship and he was petitioned to return home to his native Chile and threatened with deportation.

With no other options left Alberto represented by the law firm of Philip’s and Philip’s and with the help of New York City’s Anti-Violence Project has filed a lawsuit against Qais Al-Awqati and  the Board of Trustee’s of Columbia University for restitution and to also raise awareness of the Latino, LGBT, and scientific community about the discriminatory, unethical practices used by Columbia University and the whitewash that has been perpetrated upon him by to protect Professor Qais Al-Awqati


Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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3 thoughts on “Gay Exchange Student Loses Fellowship and Threatened With Deportation After Reporting Professor For Sexual Harassment”

  1. I am writting because I am going through harassment at my work place in a restaurant in nyc I dont know what to do, I am gay and they are just making too many gay comments and remarks that make me feel uncomfortarble

    1. Angel. If its a chain restaurant complain to your manager. Or contact the New York State Attorney Generals Office. For futher info call either the New York Anti-Violence project of the LGBT Community Center on 13th Street if nothing else they can point you to the right plcae to contact.

      Best of luck


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