Beforehand, Christian Baldini was briefly eliminated with out pay after substantiated allegations of sexual harassment towards an undergraduate scholar
By JENNIFER MA — [email protected]
Content material Warning: This text accommodates descriptions of sexual harassment which some readers could discover disturbing.
In September 2017, a college investigation was performed and located that Christian Baldini, the UC Davis symphony orchestra conductor, sexually harassed a feminine undergraduate scholar. Baldini was briefly eliminated with out pay for 4 months earlier than returning to campus, and the undergraduate scholar left the college after the incident, in accordance with an article in The California Aggie from 2018.
In December 2021, a petition was created calling for Baldini’s removing. The petition states that the college mustn’t await future misconduct to pursue dismissal. As of Jan. 21, 5,888 individuals have signed.
“Baldini creates an unsafe and uncomfortable surroundings for UC Davis college students, inflicting many to keep away from becoming a member of orchestra,” the petition states.
Alumna Alana Joldersma shared her expertise as a member of the orchestra previous to the allegations and the college investigation in 2017.
“I joined the UC Davis symphony orchestra my freshman yr,” Joldersma stated. “After I competed [in the concerto competition] after which earlier than a live performance in spring quarter, we had a couple of hours of downtime from rehearsal till efficiency. Baldini got here as much as me and was like ‘Hey, you probably did an excellent job performing on the concerto competitors, and I simply need to commend you on doing that as a freshman. Would you want to speak about your outcomes, would you like all suggestions?’”
As an alternative of speaking backstage, Baldini took her to his dressing room and closed the door however didn’t lock it.
“In the course of the 20 minutes I used to be there, we didn’t speak about my efficiency,” Joldersma stated. “He was simply asking me a bunch of bizarre, private questions that didn’t pertain to my efficiency in any respect. Like the place I’m from, what ethnicity I’m, do I’ve a boyfriend, what does this tattoo on my arm imply. Undoubtedly made me really feel uncomfortable. I do bear in mind him taking my arm to level at a tattoo.”
Joldersma ended up not becoming a member of the symphony orchestra the next yr; she attributes it to a number of components, together with a busy schedule and this expertise.
“Possibly what he did was not intentional, possibly he can blame it on no matter he needs accountable it on, however, on the finish of the day, him being right here, if it creates an surroundings the place college students are uncomfortable and don’t need to be part of the orchestra or drop out of UC Davis, that’s not honest,” she stated.
A primary-year undeclared main, who was granted anonymity to guard her id, additionally shared her expertise, which occurred after the college investigation. She beforehand auditioned for orchestra however afterward determined to not be part of due to money and time constraints.
“I advised [Baldini] that I didn’t need to do [orchestra] and my causes,” she stated. “I discovered it actually unusual that he nonetheless got here to me after and stated ‘Regardless that you’re not taking part in proficiently but at a university stage, we are able to take you in and develop your self afterward.’ I advised him no on that, however I gave him my musical background info, simply mainly stated my mother’s already put in a lot cash and energy into musical schooling. And he began to say, ‘You’re so proficient, I don’t need to lose you.’”
In accordance with the coed, she discovered it odd that he stated she was proficient, as he had beforehand advised her she was not taking part in proficiently.
“That’s when he advised me he would sponsor my classes, like pay $100 out of the $300 required for 10 half-hour classes,” she stated. “I additionally advised my household and pals. There was this one lady who I knew, she was within the college orchestra and she or he felt scared for me. She stated it was like he was making an attempt to get a deal with on me, so I didn’t [accept the offer]. I simply didn’t need the rest to do with him; I didn’t reply to his emails after that.”
The coed stated she signed the petition as a result of many music majors are required to take lessons that he teaches, and she or he doesn’t need different college students to really feel uncomfortable like she did.
Whereas Baldini declined The Aggie’s interview request, he directed The Aggie to Melissa Lutz Blouin, the director of stories and media relations, who emailed a letter written by the college to ASUCD on Jan. 3.
“Reopening the investigation with out new info wouldn’t end in a modified end result, nor had been there any deficiencies within the unique investigation that may advantage reopening it,” the letter states. “Furthermore, as a public establishment, we’re not legally permitted to self-discipline an worker twice for a similar conduct. Nonetheless, we’re firmly dedicated to making sure an surroundings freed from sexual harassment and can promptly tackle new allegations of sexual harassment involving Professor Baldini, together with commencing an investigation if acceptable.”
Dana Topousis, the chief advertising and communications officer at UC Davis, shared the identical letter with The Aggie when approached for remark.
Written by: Jennifer Ma — [email protected]
College students can contact the UC Davis Harassment & Discrimination Assistance and Prevention Program (HDAPP) to report incidents of sexual harrassment and sexual violence.
Moreover, the Center for Advocacy, Resources, and Education (CARE) supplies free, confidential disaster intervention, advocacy and accompaniment companies for all UC Davis scholar, workers, school and others who expertise sexual violence within the context of a college program.