Student sues UT, professor for $25,000


A Chinese student has filed a lawsuit against the University of Toledo and a UT professor she accused of harassing her because of her ethnicity.

In a complaint filed in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, Wanyun Zhong of Broadview Heights, Ohio, alleged Vijay Devabhaktuni, a professor of electrical engineering, harassed, humiliated, and frightened her Sept. 4, 2012, when he mocked her for not understanding English well enough and said if “she still did not understand what he was saying, he would use a gun to shoot” her.

The harassment continued, she said, until Ms. Zhong withdrew from the class and complained to the university. She is seeking damages in excess of $25,000 and attorney fees.

UT Spokesman Meghan Cunningham said Mr. Devabhaktuni was placed on paid leave Sept. 14, 2012, while the complaint was investigated and on Nov, 27, 2012 was suspended for three and a half weeks. When he returned, he was required to work with the dean on his teaching methods.