ASU Professor's Soured Affair with Grad Student Still Grinding Through Court

Categories: Love Stories

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Pratt and his wife met with Decker, the criminology school's director, right after she discovered the affair, the report states. Decker soon met with with Kunzi in his office, where he informed her she had the right to file a grievance. She was taking one course from Pratt at the time, and Decker told her that Pratt had chosen to teach the remainder of the course online so he wouldn't have contact with her or any other student in the course. Decker also told Kunzi that he'd take over for Pratt in helping her with her research assistant job. She didn't say a word about harassment, Decker alleges.

Then, in May 2010, another instructor discovered that Kunzi had plagiarized part of her final paper in a "Topic in Quantitative Methods" class. He gave her an "XE" for the semester, representing "failure for academic dishonesty." The instructor didn't know about her affair with Pratt at the time, according to ASU.

ASU didn't drop Kunzi from its doctorate program -- and even accepted Kunzi's application to continue as research assistant and teach two courses scheduled for the spring of 2011. Decker gave Kunzi a "glowing recommendation" after she applied with the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections as a research analyst. Kunzi asked Pratt if she could list him as a reference for the job -- for which she was later hired -- and he agreed.

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Scott Decker
Kunzi could not be reached for this article, and neither Pratt nor Decker returned phone messages.

Pratt's still employed by ASU, but his ASU bio shows that he hasn't taught classes since this past spring. Family court records indicate he and his wife, who have one child, were divorced this year.

Kunzi married her boyfriend, who she claims also was harassed by Pratt and Decker while he was a fellow doctoral student at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. They now have two kids, says Kunzi's lawyer, Stephen Montoya.

Kunzi is seeking a monetary award in the case, Montoya says. But she and Montoya want to highlight the underlying problem -- how ASU deals with the issue of professors dating their own students.

The power imbalance in such a relationship inevitably causes problems, Montoya says. Students who want to do well in a class may find it difficult to rebuff a professor's advances. Once a relationship begins, ending it could be problematic depending on the timing of an important final or dissertation, he points out. ASU should have some sort of policy that discourages student-teacher affairs, he says.

"It's not a punitive regime we're advocating," Montoya says. "If you feel passionately for your student, then your student can drop the class."

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8 comments
All_American_Teacher
All_American_Teacher

Unbelievable - and unbelievably immature - for all of them. 

The price of immorality is often high - or very funny.

All of them should have known better.

sangrevale
sangrevale

A tenured professor thinking with his wiener, a spouse scorned but hating on the interloper, both from within "hallowed halls" of academic, the home wrecking, passionate lover freely sharing pheromones, then the dispassionate ex not is the funny part to me. I'm disgusted with the students apparent plagiarizing though, a simple salutation is all it takes to acknowledge.

logicman
logicman

Hopefully she learned that she should have kept suckin until graduation

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Arizona's criminal justice system is flat out broken. Meaningful reform should be led by the ASU Criminal Justice School and the AG's office, instead they're muddled in their personal problems at taxpayers' expense.  Who has any credibility in Arizona's "leadership" positions? 

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

It seems like Pratt's ex was the beeatch here. Pratt stood by his ex in the menage a trois but was still looking for nuk-nuk from the "victim." A cautionary tale all around. The obvious take-away is for students to keep it professional. If the prof wants to take things further than that, then you have little choice but to withdraw from the program and find another school to get your advanced degree.

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