Former student speaks

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Woman says former professor raped, abused, and tried to kill her

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– One of the students who filed a complaint against a former U of I professor wants others to know she won’t stay silent. Gary Xu was head of the East Asian Languages and Culture Department. He resigned from the university in 2018.

A lawsuit filed last week accuses him of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, including rape, forced labor, and beatings. The university was investigating Xu in 2016. He resigned last year. The students listed in the lawsuit say he beat them and forced them into sex and used his power as head of the department to keep them quiet. Vina Sun is one of those women. She says Xu abused her for 2 years and used her international student status against her. Sun says she was beaten and raped by the professor, and she says Xu also tried to kill her. Sun says he attempted to run her over in his car.

She says she reported the professor 3 times to the university, but she felt they wanted to sweep it under the rug. The complaint says the U of I put him on a paid sabbatical. He was paid his full salary of more than $85,000 for two school years. When he resigned in 2018, he was given a $10,000 bonus. He then went on to teach at other universities.

A U of I spokesperson said in a statement it’s aware of the complaint and is reviewing it. They also say it “investigates and takes appropriate action whenever conduct is reported that may jeopardize or impact the safety or security of our students or others.”

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