Pennsylvania college agrees to readmit student after previous harassment charge

The Associated Press

SWARTHMORE, Pa. A Swarthmore College student who was paid by the school to go to college elsewhere after a classmate accused him of harassing her will be readmitted, Vice President Harry Gotwals said.

Ewart Yearwood hasn't decided if he'll attend, his attorney said, even though classes started Thursday.

But Alexis Clinansmith, 19, who sued to block him from being readmitted, will stay enrolled, said her attorney, Carolyn P. Short.

"We are highly disappointed that the school did not live up to its obligation to enforce its policy in the handbook and to keep the school free of a sexually harassing environment," Short said Thursday.

"Alexis is going to continue to go to Swarthmore and fight to keep the environment safe."

Clinansmith alleged last fall that Yearwood, who was at Swarthmore on full scholarship, stalked and intimidated her after she repeatedly refused to date him. Yearwood denied the allegations. Both were freshmen at the time.

A disciplinary committee couldn't decide whether Yearwood had harassed Clinansmith, but said he had violated a school order to stay away from her. Thus, the committee recommended that he be suspended from Swarthmore.

Meanwhile, the college paid his tuition to attend Boston University, where he spent the spring semester.

Yearwood had a two-hour interview Monday with a special committee at Swarthmore appointed to review his case. It found that he had fulfilled all the requirements imposed on him by the college, said Gotwals.

"He has been evaluated by counselors at Boston and Swarthmore and found to have made substantial progress," Gotwals said. "He said he is prepared to maintain decorum and that he respects Alexis' rights and will meet the college's expectations."

Gotwals also said Swarthmore is committed to making life secure for Clinansmith "on a campus we consider very secure."

Yearwood will decide by Monday if he will return, said his attorney, Harvey Silverglate. "He has a large number of schools he can go to," he said.

Clinansmith recently filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block Yearwood's return, seeking more than $100,000 for emotional distress. She said she refused an opportunity to transfer to Harvard University because several Swarthmore officials assured her Yearwood would not return.

Neither Gotwals nor Yearwood would comment on the lawsuit.

Clinansmith "feels the school has utterly failed her," Short said. "She is very upset and scared."

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