Exclusive: Juilliard suspends faculty member for ‘alleged sexual misconduct’main
A letter (reproduced) went out to Juilliard staff last night from the college president, Joseph W. Polisi. Extract:
I am writing to let you know that the School has received a report alleging sexual misconduct by faculty member Choong Mo Kang. His alleged misconduct involved a student. Juilliard reported this matter to law enforcement and has prohibited Mr Kang from returning to School premises. Mr Kang has been suspended pending further action by the School.
Juilliard is cooperating fully with the external law enforcement investigation…
The School does not tolerate inappropriate or illegal conduct, investigates all allegations thereof and takes definitive and corrective actions based on the results of those investigations.
UPDATE: Choong denies the charges. See here.
This is unbelievable. I know Mr. Kang, and I know he is definitely not a person who would do such a thing. Why does Juilliard keep throwing people out just based on allegations? I think it’s truly unprofessional and inappropriate of them to make such haste decision like this. Shame on Juilliard and its administration!!!
This is totally unbelievable. He is not a kind of person who makes this bad decision. How can this be publicized even before proving that whether he is guilty. We always support you Mr. Kang.
This is absolutely ridiculous. First, the school cannot just “throw away” people without conducting a formal investigation done by the police department. Second, one is always innocent until he/she is found guilty. Even the Bill of Rights state that clearly in the 5th Amendment. Third, why would one publicize this? It is totally biased and affecting the community. Only Juilliard has to worry about it, not others. Finally, we have to question the potential existence of racism. Think about it. Mr. Kang and his wife are the only Asian-american faculty member in the school. And he is getting banned. What can it mean?
You had better review the Juilliard faculty, starting with the String department: there are Asian professors currently at Juilliard, and there have been others over the years. And, what part of “Kang has fled the United States” do you not understand? Innocent people don’t “flee” — yet Kang fled the US before Juilliard made this announcement. Do you have an answer for that?
Prof. Kang did not FLEE the US.
I just opened up a Facebook page ” we trust Choongmo”. Please visit and leave your comments. Thx.
Do you honestly think that’s wise?
Keep in mind there are a lot of young kids that he has taught, supported, and inspired. It’s only natural that they are rallying for him.
Please take this down. This is not a matter than should be broadcast on the internet. It is an investigation in progress. There is no role for this on slipped disc
A teacher has been suspended from duties in a public, international institution. Not to report this would be an act of censorship. The individual concerned faces allegations. He is innocent until found guilty.
Okay. Seems like you know that this is only an allegation. I don’t know where you did get this email from; however, it’s definitely wrong to post a private message that is only sent to the students at the Juilliard. You are not even residing in US. If you wanted some attention from many people, I understand, but this is not the right way.
No, actually not to report this would have been an act of editorial judgement. Self-censorship is not censorship.
Juilliard administration has obviously reviewed the police report (which has not been made public) so let’s assume they are not being capricious in their actions, but rather they are following protocol. Let’s hope for the best for all concerned, and that the truth will prevail.
Coming to an anonymous online forum to declare what a great guy he is, and how he could never do such a thing, doesn’t really help his cause. Virtually everyone ever accused of anything has had a line of people behind him saying “he could never do such a thing!”
I agree that it’s unfortunate if he should be suspended over an as-yet-unproven allegation, but none of us has any details beyond what’s in this letter.
Your statement saying “none of us has any details beyond what’s in this letter” is the most important point and you pointed it out very well. As you know, this issue is already announced widely, but the investigation is still continuing, just casting doubt whether he is guilty or not, which does not make sense. I do not understand who and why made this letter to be public. The letter was for only Juilliard students to let them know, not for publicizing.
Umm, sir, the letter was written to the entire Juilliard community, which consists of about 500 people or more. Are you saying you are naive enough to think that those 500+ people would keep their mouths shut and tell NO ONE about this?
To be honest, if I were a member of the Juilliard community, I’d be scared out of my mind with the thought that it’s rather extremely easy to be kicked out of the community I belong to, if there are some allegations against me. As far as I know, this is the second time a Juilliard “community” member was thrown out, at least temporarily, based on mere allegations of sexual nature. If someone just claims, “Oh, I’ve been sexually harassed by Mr. so-and-so!” then the Mr. so-and-so is immediately suspended from Juilliard without proper due process? What kind of witch-hunting is that???
I suppose it’s Julliard management’s way of getting rid of people they would like to get rid of without paying compensation.
Well of course this issue would be spread unofficially by speaking among the people who got this letter. HOWEVER, my point is this is publicized on the internet offically, except understandable reasons, even though it is not for everyone. That’s what I cannot comprehend.
Juilliard doesn’t tolerate etc. but I sure hope its investigations of the matter were thorough and produced definitive results before they would suspend a member of the faculty and potentially ruin his career. One has to assume they did more than listen to an allegation, but one has also to wonder whether the alleged perpetrator was treated according to due process.
“I know him, he would NEVER….” Means nothing. You can never know these things about a person.
Sexual misconduct usually comes down to one person’s word against another’s.
Such things can’t usually be proven unless there is video evidence or messages.
Allegations from multiple victims all coming forward can be damning. But even that, years after the fact, can accomplish nothing, as a certain American comedian is currently showing us.
It sounds like you are right, but some “victims” take advantage of a situation for the purpose of harming others. Two years ago, a very similar incident took place in the Juilliard and the school expelled the student, who the school thought was the perpetrator, without a thorough investigation. A few days ago, the student was acquitted of the charge. This case has many similarities to the ‘two years ago incident’. Who will take responsibility if this accusation turns out to be false? It is hard to understand why the school decided that this case was made public.
If I were Mr,Kang, i would already sued the School for damages and calumnies.Let’s begin with 5 millions?
I would presume their employment agreement with him gives them the upper hand in this sort of thing and that they can afford the lawyers to vet these contracts for durability.
“The School does not tolerate inappropriate or illegal conduct, investigates all allegations thereof and takes definitive and corrective actions based on the results of those investigations.”
What right does a school have the run the investigation? Shouldn’t the police handle this and also decide on a “definitive corrective action”?
You know what… i’m a student at the above-mentioned school and i feel like i have to say something. There was a very similar incident a couple of years ago, student vs. student. From what i heard from a lot of people, the accused student, knowing absolutely nothing about what’s gonna happen to him, was kinda ambushed by the NYPD somewhere inside school, had no chance to tell his side of the story, and was immediately thrown out of here.
I sincerely hope that’s not what happened to Mr. Kang! If that IS what has happened to him, I’m so so disgusted at what the school did as well as how the school handles this kind of stuff. I mean, you’d believe a school like Juilliard – world’s best conservatory, “allegedly” – is run by people who are actually fair and just!
To the people who say that Juilliard has treated Mr. Kang unfairly based on mere unproven allegations and that the school has effectively slandered him and ruined his good name –
First, note that the author of the statement to faculty and staff members (leaked to Slipped Disc, remember) was careful to use the word “alleged” and to avoid any specific description of whatever offence has been alleged. That is standard practice in the U.S. to avoid subsequent charges of defamation.
Second, if this matter was serious enough for Juilliard to turn it over to the police rather than handling it internally, the administration has to suspend Mr. Kang. (And the statement says that he has been suspended, not terminated.)
If he were convicted of, or even formally charged with, a crime and continued to teach at Juilliard, the parent(s) of every student under 21 in the place would be rushing to pull their children out, sue the school, or both. The legal risks would be far too great for Juilliard to have him continue as usual before the matter was cleared up.
Seems to me, whether this latest allegation has foundations or not, that music schools are riddled with sexual predators.
Mind you, show business, the Catholic church and the scouting movement aren’t far behind.
Makes one at times ashamed to be a man.
Highly irritating. “Alleged” means he is accused by someone but it’s not proven. If in the US there were a rule of law, it would mean “innocent until proven guilty” but apparently that’s not the case and we have in fact a tyranny, where you can accuse someone, and the subject will then be punished before law even deals with the issue and his reputation and future destroyed is destroyed.
Taking note thar Julliard is acting in a mideveal way, worrying.
“Innocent until proven guilty” (“presumed innocent until proven guilty” is the full phrase) is a legal concept that merely means that in a trial, one starts out by presuming the accused person to be innocent and the prosecution must build a case with evidence to show that is not true. If they can’t do it convincingly, the person is deemed still innocent.
“Innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t create the circular situation where because someone is presumed innocent, they automatically are innocent and no further inquiry is allowed.
“Innocent until proven guilty” is not actually in the US constitution, it is derived from other guarantees in law.
“Innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t grant guarantees of continued employment to anyone and doesn’t mean no one can report or discuss an accusation.
It’s not clear what you are actually trying to say.
And so another victim of the sexual neo-Puritanism sweeping the Anglo-Saxon world and beyond.
The word ‘alleged’ sexual misconduct festers in the prurient imagination of our time with all the connotations of ‘conviction’. The news carries an irreversible stain no matter what the outcome – true or false. Tragic.
I count Choong Mo among my friends and have attended many of his sensitive and brilliant Masterclasses at the International Piano Chopin Festival in Poland at Duszniki Zdroj. No, I too cannot imagine such a thing despite your chorus of disapproval of such a conventional and naive opinion.
I am not at all sure what are only ‘allegations’ at this stage contained in a leaked letter from the Principal of the Juilliard to staff, should have been published on the internet however newsworthy and ‘exclusive’. Smacks of sensationalism and is in nobody’s interest. The internet is a merciless and cruel forum…
I do not see any alternative for any educational institution, in the face of an allegation of sexual misconduct against a faculty member lodged by a student and placed in the hands of the police, but suspension.
If the man is cleared, he will receive back pay and can presumably sue for damages (mental distress, etc.) –if such a settlement is not offered up front. If the man is cleared the student in question deserves the book thrown at her/him. There have been false allegations, their consequences have been disastrous, and they seem to get away with them.
But a student prepared to go to the police…Juilliard had no choice.
I know Choong-Mo (not extremely well), and I cannot believe these allegations – he is a good man. It is not unheard of that a disgruntled student would file a false sexual misconduct claim as retribution for a deservedly bad grade in a course, or some such. The most unfortunate thing about this incident is that even if Choong-Mo is completely exonerated, his name has been unfairly stained for life. I hope he sues Juilliard for millions when the truth comes out,
And let’s not rule out a disgruntled faculty member — that school can be a nasty place…
Sexual harassment and even assault are common, the former very common in a conservatory setting. Even in situations where there’ve been admissions of guilt, settlements, and publicity, the perpetrators in most cases have not found their careers and reputation to be ruined, quite the contrary. Most of the time, the harasser goes right on with his career, life very little changed. On the other hand, it’s quite common for the accuser/victim, even in cases where guilt was admitted, to find themselves tainted and their careers set back. Do you know how much courage it takes to make an allegation of this kind in the face of so much disbelief? How do you personally know what this man’s sexual mores are like, just because you think he’s “a good guy” and you like his playing? A student has NOTHING to gain and much to lose in this intolerable situation. It’s reasonable to withhold judgment in the absence of more information, but not reasonable to assume the student is lying for personal gain.
You are contradicting yourself.
Not convincing. Be reasonable.
This unfortunate situation begs a bigger question. Now, let me state up front that I know Mr. Kang to be a good teacher, HOWEVER: Here follows a list of internationally acknowledged master-pianist/ performer-teachers who live within a 1-mile radius of the Juilliard School, NONE of whom have ever been invited to teach there: Ruth Slenczynska, Jeffrey Swann, Evelyne Crochet, Jerome Rose, & Nina Lelchuk. Their work represents a continuation of the greatest piano traditions of the 20th Century: they were pupils of Rachmaninoff, Cortot, Schnabel, Hoffman, Serkin, Flier, & Petri. They’ve all performed a vast repertoire worldwide, they’ve all appeared with the world’s greatest orchestras & conductors, they’ve attracted major talents to study with them, and have produced major performers & competition winners. It must be said that Mr. Kang’s overall qualifications are no match when compared to those of the afore-mentioned names. Their close proximity to Juilliard — and the fact that they’ve never been invited to teach there — demonstrates Juilliard administration’s sad inability to discern “good” from “great”. With such a rich pool of pedagogical talent residing a stone’s throw from Juilliard, there was no need to import the relatively obscure Mr. Kang from Korea to join Juilliard’s piano faculty.
However justified your statement might be, it is irrelevant to the situation at hand. Unless… there is a conspiracy to get rid of him by any means…
Ok, Etudeplayer. And your comment is relevant to this article because……?
I get it: She’s referring to Juilliard’s inept management of important matters, such as sexual misconduct allegations, and appointing unknown professors from Korea to the Juilliard piano faculty – even though there are super-qualified professors in their own back-yard.
And you seriously state here, that how far a potential faculty member of Julliard lives to the school, should be a factor in the selection of prospective faculty member’s qualifications? That’s provincial nonsense by mental midgets.
No need to get your knickers in a twist, Anon. What is stated here is that Juilliard reached half way around the world to hire a faculty member of mediocre qualifications, while ignoring professors of superior qualifications right here in NYC. And the reason is obvious: Mr. Kang’s less-than-stellar qualifications posed no threat to the person doing the hiring (whose qualifications are also less than stellar). However, it appears that Juilliard is now trying to up their game: Their 3 most recent piano-faculty appointments are pianist-pedagogues of international standing.
Remember: everything is “alleged”.
Innocent until proven guilty.
Internet is a forum that is a lot more accessible than the newspapers were; and there is freedom of speech in this country–and this website tells whatever dirt it can in the classical music world. it’s like PEOPLE magazine for classical musicians.
BUT! it is NOT People Magazine; so not that many people will read this in any case.
what can we do to help? pray that it is not true (for the student). and don’t spread wrong information in the meantime. it is alleged.
“The School does not tolerate inappropriate or illegal conduct, investigates all allegations thereof and takes definitive and corrective actions based on the results of those investigations…”
Julliard is saying one thing, doing another… it’s called hypocrisy.
What they do is instead of waiting for the “results of those investigations” they name and shame a faculty member simply based on the allegations of one person. This is not a reasonable way of conduct. There are many cases, where people were accused wrongly.
They should prohibit any contact with the accusing person and inform him of the ongoing investigations. After proven guilty they can do as they see fit. Until then, the rule of law is the rule of law. “Innocent until proven guilty”.
You are 100 percent right. Innocent until proven guilty: simple law that everyone knows.
No educational institution will let a faculty member continue to teach once a pending investigation has begun, which is what a lot of you are condemning Juilliard for.
Sometimes someone leaks the info, often the info is not leaked. Obviously, a faculty member leaked this to Norman. Sometimes law enforcement chooses to leak something, but if that were the case, it would have gone to a bigger media outlet.
These types of things have been leaked and smeared a person many times, BEFORE an investigation was completed. Look at Penn State football.
Sexual misconduct could mean so many different things, that it’s not even worth speculating on what this might be.
And yes, of course it’s possible the guy didn’t do anything wrong.
I am one of the student in Juilliard and school sent this message to EVERYONE including all the students. That is terrible.
Whereas in the UK – and other countries – people prefer to wait for an individual to die before starting to investigate allegations of sexual abuse. Much fairer.
In that case it is likely, the the head of the school is part of a conspiracy to get rid of him in lack of legal means.
I have never ever heard about a case where a whole school is notified about ALLEGED sexual misconduct, unless the evidence is so overwhelming that the official investigation becomes a mere formality. Yet the school letter does not sound like they know for sure. Strange…
The school cannot say in a letter that it knows the allegations are true until their truth is proven in a court of law. (That’s the whole innocent-until-proven-guilty thing.)
For the school to say “the evidence is so overwhelming that the official investigation becomes a mere formality” before the investigation and trial (if any) are over would be defamation.
However, note that Juilliard reported the matter to law enforcement, not the other way around. For the school to turn this over to the police and then tell the entire community about it (in a format almost certain to leak to the press) – and to name the accused in the letter – well, to me that suggests that the administration thinks that whatever evidence it has is serious.
As many others have said, it is normal procedure to suspend a faculty while an investigation is going on into this type of allegation. Legally, the School is liable in a complaint like this, and they can’t allow the accused to teach until the investigation is finished. He is still employed by the School and still paid his salary. At this point, we don’t know if the allegation is true or not, but I feel that this is really an internal matter for the School and the police, unless he is actually charged.
I’m sure allegations like this happen often, and they may or may not be true, and they may not lead anywhere. It is very surprising that Julliard would email the students and all of the faculty to notify them of the allegation, I think that is very unusual, and I would have assumed that there are privacy laws in a normal investigation at the School. But it is even worse that it appears publicly on this site, although I’m not surprised, given that it was already widely distributed. With all of this, more damage is done to his reputation than necessary, at this early stage.
Sexual misconduct can be anything like a disgruntled student, an actual relationship with a student, or inappropriate advances or actions towards a student. It could be anything along those lines, and only the closed investigation will find a result.
I hope that we don’t get carried away with conclusions, given that we are without any of the background in the case…
Apparently Mr. Kang left the United States last week. Enough said.
He’s a professor who worked really hard for his 3-4 years at the Juilliard School. EVERY STUDENT knows that. Students are even fighting against the school with this case. He didn’t have any break for three years, he was always the best professor for his students, we all admit. If I were him, I would get so disgusted of this matter, disgusted at school and absolutely leave the US. Give him a break. Seriously.
The media has been operating exactly this way for a long time.
Someone leaks a story to a media member, and the media member publishes it.
So someone leaked the letter of suspension for an alleged offense, and it made it on to a (this) news website.
The exact same thing happened with Kobe Bryant, Penn State, Mike Tyson, Michael Jackson, and countless more. They were all reported as ‘alleged’ or ‘accused’ at first.
People keep going on about how unfair it is. Maybe it is, but that’s how it’s always been.
I have known professor Kang for long enough to say that i know him quite well. I cannot believe that it happened to him. He is such a well mannered, sweet, dedicated musician and a father of children. I am quite disappointed that school has decided to send this email to all students and members of school. Even before they prove that he is guilty or not, school has already sent the email regarding such a sensitive issue to so many people. I will support professor Kang and his family as much as i can. Juilliard, once again, I am very disappointed. School community will regret for what they did to professor Kang. Please keep me updated or share if any one hears about anything.
Strongly agree. The value and credibility of Juilliard will plummet eventually. They need to stop abusing authority, believing they do have the privilege to do like that. When he gets sentence of being not guilty, I hope they don’t say “Oh, we didn’t do anything wrong so we don’t have to compensate anything!”
You can certainly take a student’s word for what happened.
If it’s not a true, she will need to be responsible for everything that happened to him. This happening is gonna be a lose lose game.
Mr. Lebrecht, actually Juilliard is not a “public” institution. It is a private school. As for everyone else who wonders what, why, and how, you can all be assured that whatever the J-Yard president, provost, and board are doing has been approved by the legal counsel.
“been approved by the legal counsel” very well, doesn’t mean it’s without malicious intent.
As a current member of the Juilliard community, I defend the School’s actions in suspending Mr Kang and acknowledging all students and their families of the situation and investigation. Anyone without knowledge of the law should make him/herself familiar with Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, which covers sexual violence and misconduct, before foolishly making groundless and uninformed remarks. The law does not care what a ‘well mannered, sweet, dedicated’ man Mr Kang is (which he is not); the law only takes into account the facts. Those of you who baselessly criticise the school’s administration, stop making imbeciles of yourselves and instead become acquainted with the criminal justice system and the laws that govern it.
I agree that school had to protect itself under the law system. But Mr. or Ms. HK, you seem you’re involved with this situation against Mr.Kang or trying to be negative. If you do care about how law system works, please respect people who are on Mr.Kang’s side. Do not disregard his students(who are also members of a juilliard community), his friends, and even people who DON’T know mr.Kang well but at least know how great man he is. Do not disregard freedom of speech which is very the first amendment, just because you are angry. “which he is not”? Please don’t dig in your grave…
You should know what the Title IX is before you insist something against him. As a current member of Juilliard Community, if you don’t know who the Mr. Kang is, you have no right to speak something like: “which he is not.” I bet you are envious of him and his students so much. If I’m right, what I want to suggest you is to go and “practice”.
Okay dude, so you are employed by Juilliard to protect them whatever they do unacceptable thing?
Your comment has many flaws, and I’d like to show those flaws.
First of all, Title IX you mention is not a “law”, but it is simply a guideline for the schools to follow when allegations of sexual nature occur.
Secondly, I’ve been in the music business for decades, and I know Mr. Kang was in the US only for his own education, and then only sporadically for concerts, masterclasses, etc. I am also certain that this is the very first time he was involved in legal proceedings — this would mean that he would not have an arrest/criminal record of any kind in the US. Therefore, if the “external law enforcement” is indeed involved with this case, Mr. Kang was most likely ROR-ed. Of course, with this kind of sexual case, an order of protection would have been issued, but the court, recognizing that Mr. Kang is a PROFESSOR at the school, would most certainly have issued a restrictive order of protection, which would not prohibit him from being at the same school as the complainant. With this most probable scenario, Juilliard has no real excuse to prohibit Mr. Kang from being on its premises.
Thirdly, you sound so vehemently against Mr. Kang. Everyone in the music business who actually know Mr. Kang, or at least have spoken to him for a mere few minutes, would agree that he is a gentleman. Your comment is so antagonistic that it seems obvious that you are one of the Juilliard admins who are trying to speak for the school. I can tell you, it’s not working, sir/madam.
Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972 covers sex discrimination.
How is that relevant to Mr. Kang’s case?
Did he discrimiate students on the basis of sex?
It seems like they are advertising this unproven issue to achieve another purpose. Very interesting.
The honest truth is that as much as you might think it’s fair or not, the procedure in the USA requires the institution to notify its employers/students about criminal activities that might pertain to the entire community, lest they find themselves liable to lawsuits. This, as has been pointed out before, is done on a regular basis. I do understand people’s indignation at the fact that his name was leaked but, once again, this is normal procedure. If you feel like this procedure is wrong and believe that the suspect’s name should not be disclosed, you should be petitioning to congress and senate, and not because he is your “teacher” or “friend,” or because you have “known him for a long time,” but because you believe this procedure is fundamentally wrong and should be changed FOR EVERYBODY. That would include suspects in rape, murder, and you name it.
I would also like to divert your attention to the fact the school has turned the case over to the police, and has not dealt with it as an internal matter. This means that this case is not about a teacher having an affair with a student, an illicit yet non-criminal act, but something which is purported to carry real criminal allegations. Regardless of the outcome of this investigation, this is not something that the school can ignore and just run its normal course. This is NOT to say that the alleged perpetrator is guilty, but just that the accusations are of too serious a nature. As people have pointed out before, if this is indeed a false accusation, the consequences will be severe to the accusing side, so that the stakes are high.
As a post scriptum, I do have to add that the fact that the professor has left the States before even notifying anybody about it does seem… odd.
For all of you who state how this “gentleman” and “sweet man” could not have possibly done something like this, I say to wait just a few more days. I do believe there is a surprise coming your way, and that you might end up eating your proverbial hats.
We shall wait for that, Mr. Mafi… I mean Mr. Juilliard.
You mean, Mr. Somebody who, unlike you, actually knows something about what happened. Go back to your den, sycophant.
Very foolish. If you actually know what happened, you’d be quietly helping the innocent person, or keep the mouth shut to not get in a trouble..
You are trolling other commenters. Stop it.
As a current Juilliard student, though not a student of Mr. Kang, I couldn’t help but to tear when I received the Email, because he truly, is a sweet professor. It’s a big lost for the school.
and yeah, many people know who the victim is. Let’s just put it this way, she ain’t someone easy to mess with. Mr. Kang’s bad decision for taking her as a student.
I truly agree with you. Thanks for sharing your opinion.
These days, everyone knows who the victim (actually assiliant) is. Of course, the real victim is mr. Kang. Even in Germany, Japan, Korea, China, Poland, etc everyone knows how innocent he is but how awful “SHE” is. Only Juilliard tries to keep it as secret but it is not working well. Someday in the future, school will encounter a situation where they will have to say the real truth. Did they report to police? Have they done any investigation? I would not say yes. This incident should not be forgotten and all of us will have to wait until truth comes out. If anyone feels bad about this comment, please leave a comment with an EVIDENCE.
Get your facts straight before assuming ANYTHING. Mr. Kang is innocent. PERIOD.