Rudy Chestang, a former Alcorn State University (ASU) Braves basketball player, has filed a lawsuit against the university and Dr. Alvin T. Simpson, a psychology professor, for sexual harassment, according to WJTV.com.
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Chicago-native Chestang arrived in Lorman, Miss., in 2005, after accepting an athletic scholarship to what is affectionately known as the “reservation.” Confident that he was finally on the road to providing financially for his family back in the Windy City, Chestang was living his “dream”:
I felt basketball was my way to the American dream to help my family, Chestang said. It was the grown-up brotherhood thing that I was looking for.
According to Chestang, the dream became a nightmare when a basketball game forced him to miss a psychology exam in 2008. Enter, Dr. Simpson, a tenured professor at Alcorn State and adored by students for his unique and innovative approach to psychology and his willingness to serve as mentor to students in his program.
Chestang is now accusing Dr. Simpson of sexually propositioning him in exchange for the opportunity to retake the test.
If I wanted to take the test, I [could], but it had to be at his house, Chestang said.
According to the 6’8″ ball player, what he discovered when he went to Simpson’s house with a friend shocked him to his core:
He comes to the door with a gown on. He lets us in, but then he lays across the couch, Chestang said. He knew I was trying to get eligible, but he kept holding it over my head.
Chestang claims that he didn’t accept Simpson’s alleged sexual advances, and in retaliation, the professor refused to change his grade. From that point, Chestang began reportedly recording conversations with Simpson.
On the tape, a man alleged to be the psych professor can be heard trying to “entice” Chestang, according to WAPT. The man alleged to be Simpson can also be heard sharing how he had helped other students earn college credit. These tapes were presented in court, but a judge ruled that it was not enough to claim sexual harassment. (See court documents here.)
Chestang claims that he reported the incident to school officials, but they didn’t respond. He also claims that after he filed the lawsuit, he received death threats and threatening phone calls from Alcorn State students in support of Simpson.
An anonymous source, currently a junior at the nation’s oldest historically black land-grant institution, says that he doesn’t believe Chestang’s claims:
Doc is a good dude and one of the best professors on the Yard. I think it’s a case of a spoiled basketball player retaliating because a professor wouldn’t let him slide academically.
Dr. Simpson told WAPT’s Travell Eiland that the allegations were false and referred him to his attorney. NewsOne’s calls to Dr. Simpson had not been returned at press time.
Chestang claims that he was not trying to vilify Simpson but just wanted to fulfill his hoop dreams:
All I wanted was to be eligible for ball and he was stopping me.
While ASU President Dr. M Christopher Brown II claims that he is not “familiar” with the case, he says that he will make an official statement once he looks into it.
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