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Sexual harassment, misconduct behind medicine professor’s dismissal

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Violations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct were among the reasons for the recent firing of former Stanford Medical Center professor Jose Montoya, according to a former member of the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Initiative which Montoya previously led.

Montoya’s termination comes on the heels of an investigation led by an outside attorney and unknown Stanford faculty member that found him in violation of numerous University conduct policies, including those related to sexual harassment, misconduct and assault.

A group of those affected by Montoya’s actions — including the former ME/CFS Initiative member — wrote a joint anonymous statement in response to his termination.

“This past March, a large group of women who have worked under Dr. Montoya came forward with extensive allegations of sexual misconduct, assault and harassment,” they wrote. “The allegations included multiple instances of Dr. Montoya attempting unsolicited sexual acts with his female employees, among many other instances of harassment and misconduct, and were confirmed in an investigation.”

Montoya first began teaching at Stanford in 1990, though the timeline of his University conduct violations remains unclear. He did not immediately respond to request for comment, and his email auto-response indicated that he is “currently on research leave.”

Montoya has the right to appeal the investigation’s decision, according to Stanford Medicine spokesperson Stephanie Bruzzese.

The former ME/CFS Initiative member was notified of the investigation’s outcome in an email sent on May 30, the same day Montoya’s termination was shared in a May 30 email from Stanford Medicine’s Infectious Diseases Division chief Upinder Singh to all division employees. Singh’s email did not specify the nature of Montoya’s conduct violations.

Bruzzese and Singh did not immediately respond to The Daily’s request for comment regarding the sexual misconduct violations.  

Contact Julia Ingram at jmingram ‘at’ stanford.edu and Claire Wang clwang32 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

This article has been updated to indicate that the joint anonymous statement was provided by the former ME/CFS employee.

Julia Ingram ’21 The Daily's Volume 256 editor-in-chief. She is a New York City native majoring in English literature and working toward a career in news reporting. Contact her at jmingram ‘at’ stanford.edu.
Claire Wang is The Daily's Vol. 254 magazine editor, and previously served as Vol. 253's managing editor of news. She's a fan of anything with tomatoes in it, and her favorite poet is Ocean Vuong. When she's not biking, her second-favorite mode of transportation is by rollerblade. Contact Claire at clwang32 'at' stanford.edu.