USU releases report detailing allegations of sexual assault, discrimination in music department

LOGAN, Utah — Utah State University officials held a news conference Friday after the release of a report detailing an investigation into allegations of sexual assault, sexual harassment, gender discrimination and verbal assault by teachers in the university's music department.

According to a report by the Salt Lake City firm Snell & Wilmer, students reported that Professor Gary Amano displayed attitudes and behavior showing gender discrimination.

"Students told us that Professor Amano tells his classes that men should get more opportunities because they are likely to become 'breadwinners,' whereas female students are likely to become nothing more than housewives and neighborhood piano teachers," the report from Snell & Wilmer stated. "He seems consistently to have told his students that males are more likely to become great performers because they have greater upper body strength and larger hands."

In a news conference Friday, USU president Noelle E. Cockett confirmed Amano, who had been on sabbatical, has officially retired.

Investigators talked with students who told them about alleged sexual improprieties by four members of the music department faculty.

One of the accused, a former faculty member of the Piano Program, has admitted to having repeated sexual relations with at least three female students in the Piano Program during the late 2000s, but he claims that all of them were consensual, the report states.

Students also reported being humiliated, or watching others being humiliated, and witnessing faculty members, particularly Amano, becoming "impatient and caustic with students for having failed to grasp concepts or comply with expectations – concepts and expectations the faculty never clearly explained in the first place," the report said.

Cockett said Friday that the university will be reorganizing its Title IX office, expanding the expectations of faculty conduct, placing camera or observation windows in all of the one-on-one instruction rooms, and making other changes.