The chair of the electrical and computer engineering department, In Soo Ahn, announced his resignation Friday after a student petition asking for his termination gained over 700 supporters.
Ahn was convicted of felony aggravated criminal sexual abuse in 2007.
Since then, he has completed four years of probation and is required to annually update his address and photo on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry.
The petition was created by an anonymous student on Change.org in late October after the director of the speech team, Ken Young, resigned from the university.
“It happened so fast in a couple of days and, thus, there is not much time to think,” Ahn said in an email. “It seemed unfair to me but I do not want this to be dragged, hurting the university. Some students and colleagues have offered me kind words about my teaching and leadership. That’s a small comfort.”
The university has been aware of his conviction and maintains that it has taken action to preserve campus safety, according to university spokesperson, Renee Charles.
“When Bradley’s leadership first became aware of the issue involving Profesor In Soo Ahn more than 10 years ago, it fully informed itself of all of the relevant facts and circumstances as well as all relevant legal obligations, including professor Ahn’s contractual rights,” Charles said. “All decisions made at that time and since relating to Professor Ahn have been mindful of all of these facts, circumstances and obligations.”
Students shared mixed opinions online regarding whether or not the professor should maintain his position.
“He shouldn’t have been allowed to continue teaching after being arrested and pleading guilty to sexual assault charges,” Keeghan Burkhardt, sophomore television arts major, wrote on a Facebook post.
Deyanira Ochoa, a sophomore computer science major, wrote in a Facebook post that she believes most students have been aware of the conviction and that “he doesn’t deserve to be punished again”.
“He wouldn’t have the job at our school without extensive letters of recommendation vouching for his character,” Ochoa said. “This man has earned this job, so seeing all the posts about him having to lose it for something that he’s paid the price for several years ago just seems like people trying to cause more drama at our school.”
Ahn will remain in his position until the end of the semester.