Pianist claims UCLA music professor gave A grade for sex

A not-uncommon transaction, seldom brought to court.

A Hungarian pianist who won a Fulbright Scholarship to do post-graduate studies at UCLA is suing the regents of the University of California, alleging one of her professors lured her into a sexual relationship and increased the grade he was giving her after their initial intimate encounter.

Tunde Krasznai’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, filed Tuesday, alleges harassment and failure to prevent harassment. The complaint also names as a defendant Robert Winter, a UCLA Department of Music professor.

…. “After being pressured to and having had sex with Winter, Winter retroactively changed the grade that Krasznai received in his course from B+ to an A,” the suit alleges.

Read on here.

 

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  • between adults…
    It usually – not always – takes two to this kind of Tango.
    The proper way to go is to report the alleged assault.
    Was the sex consensual or not is the relevant question after the fact now.
    Too late after having consensual sex, now it looks just like someone needs the money.

    • In the US, it’s not considered true consent if one partner has power over the other. Professor/student, boss/employee, etc. — “say yes or I’ll damage your career” is all too possible. All a professor (or employer, or whatever) has to do is drop a hint that there could be consequences, and the underling realizes that the choice is not just “sex or no sex;” it may be “sex or no career.”

      Professional ethics in the teaching profession prohibit this kind of thing in any case. The professor most likely violated his school’s professional conduct policy by having sex with a student, consensual or not.

      • Ethically I agree fully. As a professor you just don’t do it.
        Legally it’s more complex.
        I believe equally often than the superior – usually a male professor – suggesting sex for good grades, it goes the other way around. The inferior – usually a young attractive woman – using “all she has” in her arsenal to advance her career. It takes two to Tango and it is bigot to claim that women are always and only the victims.

        There is also the very rare exceptional case, where two made for each other find each other in a teacher-student setting. As always for almost anything, exceptions apply.

  • If you feel you’ve been violated, coerced, harassed, assaulted, etc., go to the police. They, and not universities, are equipped to investigate these situations with impartiality and thoroughness, and without financial incentives. Courts are held accountable to legal precedent and procedure, and are equipped to judiciously punish those convicted of a crime. Courts also protect due process for a defendent, and presume innocence until proof to the contrary.

    • The police are the proper venue if you have been raped or assaulted. But sexual harassment is a civil issue and not under police responsibility.

  • I don’t know the extent of Ms. Krasznai’s consent, but Mr. Winter has a history of having relations with students; at least one other graduate student as far as I know. Having known this man for quite a while, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if these allegations aren’t false. The current head of the music department, Neal Stulberg, is quite aware of all of this, but refused to take any sort of action before. Not quite sure if he will be able to turn a blind eye this time.

    • I’m not sure how you’ve come to your conclusions about “who knew what”. I have never met a more ethical, rational and considerate man than the current chair of the music department and I’ve known him since before he became chair. To suggest that he or any other faculty member would turn a blind eye to a very serious issue like this is puzzling to me.

      • Hi Neal.

        All kidding aside, most former students I know did NOT have or sing praises about the current chair, so your comment suggests to me some ulterior motives. If anything, many students would say he’s one of the least fair and least transparent professors in the music department. The comment above seems much more in line with the culture of the music department at UCLA, and I say this as a relatively recent graduate.

      • Hi Neal.

        All jokes aside, my and many other students’ experiences don’t measure up to your indications of his greatness. If anything, many students (if they don’t feel coerced) would say they had less than positive experiences with Stulberg and many others at the music department. In fact, experiences with him say that he is possibly one of the least transparent, considerate or fair instructors at UCLA music department. It is not surprising to me that his colleagues would think highly of him–he is the type of person to behave wonderfully to his colleagues and superiors, but the opposite to those he views as beneath him.

        • Exactly; you can’t measure a man by his behavior towards his equals. This kind of thing (i.e. turning a blind eye to potential scandals) is standard fare at any university because there’s so much money at stake; it’s detrimental to the university’s reputation (as well as the reputations of those involved) when this sort of information is released to the public. Whether Mr. Stulberg chose not to take action because he is friends with Mr. Winter or because of some other reason like that which I described, I don’t know nor do I particularly care, but it is, nevertheless, incredibly naive to assume these any of these people are ethical in any way, especially since Mr. Winter was in a relationship with another M.M. student (who later became a D.M.A. student at the same school) several years ago. Their relationship was common knowledge among faculty members and students, so I’m certain Mr. Stulberg (who was only faculty at the time) was also well aware.

          • Thank you for your additional perspective.

            I was not referring to Mr. Stulberg’s “behavior towards his equals,” which is none of my business, but his behavior toward and treatment of students. I stand by what I wrote on 6 June.

          • Both Stulberg and Winter have been tarnishing UCLA’s reputation for years. They both scratch each others backs and cover each other’s wrong doing. Winter is a brilliant man but a terrible teacher. He fails to teach even the fundamental aspects of music history and instead just tries to sell you his book. Stulberg has taken part in several “questionable” events, such as illegal recording sessions utilitizing and abusing students for commercial profit, where the students are not compensated for their time. The school of music would benefit immensely with the removal of these two “professors”.

  • With regards to Anonymous at 6/24, you must have been one of the students who had to take part in the recording session. I was also part of the recording and would definitely agree that the professors seem to be more exploitative rather than educational. I also agree that UCLA would have a stronger music department and attract greater talent if there were some faculty changes. It’s too bad the bureaucracy of it all, as well as fear of retaliation, ensure that it will never happen.

    • Unfortunately, the UC system itself is so incredibly corrupt and bureaucratic that the only way to effectively fix the music department (and/or virtually any department at UCLA) is to start from scratch. Never have I seen a school with so many goddamn administrators. And they’re constantly hiring new administrators, as though they need that many people to do the job of two (maybe three). And, of course, after hiring all these people the department is always looking for any excuse to cut students’ scholarships or to charge students some additional fee. To the people running this place, the students are expendable, but their paychecks aren’t. Isn’t it rather telling, that a good number of UCLA students are homeless because they can’t even afford on-campus housing in addition to tuition costs, while the chancellor enjoys a nice seven-figure salary, living comfortably in his gated mansion on Sunset Boulevard?

  • To Anonymous from 6/6 and 6/23: I thought I might give you the benefit of the doubt, because if you were actually referring to Stulberg’s treatment of STUDENTS and not his peers you would be an even bigger fool than if you were referring to how he treats his peers, but since you insist…

  • I don’t know why everyone is anonymous in this matter. I am Paul Reale, who taught at UCLA from 1969 to 2004, and I have known Robert Winter since 1974. When he first arrived, he was full of principles and risked his own reputation to defend me when I came up for tenure, a hard fought battle. Unfortunately, in the years at UCLA he was corrupted to the point that I was not surprised by this story. Part of the problem was that he was rewarded and encouraged beyond his relatively meager abilities as a musician and scholar (not to mention dreadful piano playing). Although so many of the anonymous replies take the opportunity to assault UCLA, it is a great institution with a wonderful diverse student population. This is about a single professor who started out playing fast and loose with the truth and ultimately used his position to prey on the unsuspecting. I hope the Department hurries his exit in retirement.

    • Hi Paul,

      The reason why majority of the comments are anonymous is because most of us are students and don’t want to have our identities exposed in fear of retaliation. We have personally seen faculty retaliate against dissenters in the department and just don’t want to be one of them. But thank you for stepping up as a former faculty member and speaking out against this. It is very brave and admirable!

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