U of Manitoba was warned about former jazz prof’s behaviour years before he left – Manitoba

The University of Manitoba was warned repeatedly about concerns over the harassing behaviour of its star jazz professor, Steve Kirby, during a period stretching back many years.

CBC has spoken with nearly a dozen former students and members of the university community. They say even though the concerns regarding Kirby’s behaviour were well known and reported to the university for nearly a decade, the university failed to stop his offending behaviour.

The University of Manitoba said Steve Kirby was on leave from the university for six months before retiring this past June. He’s since taken a job with Berklee College of Music in Boston, but that school has placed him on leave while it conducts its own investigation.

CBC has now seen two internal reports written by the University of Manitoba’s own investigator in June 2017 which concluded that Kirby’s conduct constituted “sexual harassment” and would have created an “intimidating, humiliating or offensive work or learning environment” for female students.

A former jazz program student CBC is calling “Holly” says sexual harassment was a daily occurrence with Kirby. CBC is protecting her identity because of the nature of the allegations.

“Anything from catching him staring and feeling that he was undressing me with his eyes, to him giving me a hug and having to move my head away quickly to the side so that his lips would land on my neck and not my mouth,” she said.

“I remember waking up in the morning knowing that I had a lesson with him and trying to dress accordingly in a way that wouldn’t show off my body and warrant unwanted attention from him, but it never worked, no matter what I wore.”

She said once in a private lesson, she and Kirby were sitting on a couch and Kirby put his hand on her thigh.

“If someone hadn’t knocked on the door I don’t know how much farther things would have gone,” she said.

Angry with outcome of investigation

In an internal University of Manitoba report, she made…

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