Former professor struck by train, faced harassment complaint

Photo courtesy of Linked In.

Photo courtesy of Linked In.

Frantz Merisier, the 34 year old former Seton Hall adjunct professor and graduate student who was fatally hit by a train in South Orange on April 14, was dismissed last semester after a student filed a sexual harassment complaint against him, according to his attorney Nathaniel Davis.

Davis said that when Merisier came to him a few days before his death, he seemed depressed, explaining that he had been falsely accused of sexual harassment and then dismissed by the University after a hearing was held. There were no criminal charges against him, Davis said.

Dr. Joan Guetti, associate senior provost, would not comment on the situation involving Merisier except to confirm that he had been an adjunct professor in the College of Arts and Sciences who taught French, as well as a graduate student in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations.

“It is not our policy to comment on personnel or student issues,” Guetti said in an e-mail.

However, a University administrator who did not want to be named but who is knowledgeable about the situation confirmed that Merisier had been dismissed because of a complaint made by a student.

According to Davis, the sexual harassment complaint came from a Seton Hall student Merisier had tutored who recorded the incident on an audiotape. Davis said he had reason to believe, based on what Merisier told him, that the student had doctored the tape before bringing it to University officials.

As a result, he said, Merisier “did not receive a fair and just hearing by the school.”

The student’s identity has not been disclosed.

Davis said he would have represented Merisier in a case charging the University with slander and libel, even though the professor did not have the finances to cover the costs of his representation. When the lawyer tried reaching out to Merisier a few days ago, he received no response and did not know the professor’s whereabouts until after learning of his death. The circumstances surrounding Merisier’s death have left the campus searching for answers.

Msgr. Dennis Mahon, an associate professor in the Department of Communication and the Arts, said he taught Merisier in his graduate Communication Research class for a brief time at the start of the spring semester last January.

“He was a mature, responsive student,” Mahon said.

Merisier was pursuing a dual master’s degree in the Department of Communication and at the School of Diplomacy, and was removed from class a few days into the semester, according to Mahon. Mahon said he received no explanation from the University as to why the student had been removed from his class. When Merisier asked him for a letter of recommendation for a Ph.D. program at Rutgers, Mahon said he complied. He said he was saddened by the news of Merisier’s death.

“Our hearts go out to his family and our prayers go out for him,” Mahon said.

Stephanie Powers, a junior diplomacy major, said she had taken a class on 18th Century French with Merisier last semester, but she said he left a few weeks before the semester ended and never returned.

Powers said Professor Mary Olsen took over the class, but no explanation was ever given as to why Merisier had left. Olsen did not respond to The Setonian’s request for comment.

On April 14, train traffic on the Morris/Essex Line from New York City was disrupted for a time after a man, later identified as Merisier, was struck by a westbound train at 5:20 p.m. Nancy Snyder, a spokeswoman for NJTransit, told that the investigation into Merisier’s death is continuing, but she said he had “positioned himself in front of the train” and “made no attempt to move” as it approached.

NJTransit Police would not confirm that Mesirier’s death was a suicide. Merisier lived in Irvington, N.J. with his wife and daughter, whose names are not yet known. Dean Michael Zavada said he occasionally had conversations with Merisier about Haiti, where he said Merisier was from.

Davis, the lawyer who was going to represent Merisier, said that he had offered to help Merisier’s wife and daughter in the future if they need assistance moving forward.

Lindsay Rittenhouse can be reached at

Author: Lindsay Rittenhouse

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  1. Unfortunately the climate in US schools is getting more unjust by the year. Males thrown into kangaroo courts, lives destroyed, and futures ruined all because some female wanted him to pay for the sins of every male that made her feel less in the past. A man would never do to a woman what she did to him because they don’t think the same. Males have more of an honor code among each other (like fighter fighters or sports team players do) just as females have more of a social sophistication men can’t match. It’s the tsunami of evil feminism. Accusers have more civil rights. If that wasn’t so, the country wouldn’t have so many instances of disregard for due process designed in the aforesaid kangaroo court to turn the man into a statistic that no one loves. People don’t hurt over the statistic, they hurt over the individual. Since the accuser is likely to be self-centered and immature, she will make you a statistic because there is no empathy in a statistic.

    I, myself, had been falsely accused like this man. Only, in my case I wasn’t allowed to know the identity of my accusers because my school did not have any respect for due process. To be thrown into a kangaroo court under the complaint of “flirting” was absolutely terrifying as your mind scrambles for theories of how that could be. It was like being raped by a masked assailant and the vertigo of not knowing who your accuser is walking among you that could keep reoffending you until you realize who not to bump into to further aggravate the situation.

    Though this man had a different situation, nothing is more scary than to be falsely accused or misunderstood and then strangled with it until there’s no life force left. To be falsely accused is so much more scarier than the women doing the accusing think. They clearly don’t understand how a man thinks when he’s accused –even if he made a minor slight through a social blunder. In my case friending too many girls on Facebook and a compliment sent to one of them presumably was being watched by the school and then approached the girls in regards to me. I really never knew in what order the events were. There was this impression that they were primed as in “Is that man that talks to you bothering you” without just cause –a meddling of sorts. I was right away called into an office and reprimanded when two emails were sent to the dean. I was treated like complete garbage and spent many months afterwards with anxiety, fear, disappointment in the justice system, even had a few bouts of uncontrollable crying as the school turned me into a pariah.

    Another mistake I made was trying to fix the situation. These situations can’t be fixed for in there very nature they are unjust. The school will just try to get rid of you so they don’t get sued. I stayed a second semester and my shadowy accusers did not like that. Since I didn’t know who my accusers were every girl I talked to was questioned or because I was stigmatized, joined the band-wagon. I really never knew and still don’t years later. Though after I was expelled I received mocking crank calls by the girls from the school. It was a joke to them. They might have been associates to my accusers.

    So I have some advise for any male that finds themselves in a sexual harassment situation where they either were falsely accused or made a social blunder and feministic cruelness took advantage of that to get attention. If you are new to the school, leave immediately. If you do not leave, the accuser(s) will seek your punishment even if you are innocent. When I was expelled, that final day in the dean’s office, I threw out some protests that it was not legal and this and that. They informed me that “this is not a court of law.” So to throw back legal ideas of justice was fruitless.

    You must leave the school no later than the close of that semester. Do not appear again. I know it’s running, but there’s cruelness involved in these accusations. Women bully through relational aggression and your world view isn’t going to make sense of their behavior. You will be stunned that the girl complained about you or how thin the harassment had been –one text, a simple comment, an impulsive remark…whatever. Cut them off and don’t let them know anything about your life, in any way, because they will act as a kind of predator like that woman carrying around that mattress.

    Do not attempt to fix things by contacting the accuser to try and mend things. They don’t care about you as a person. You are just the summation of many things that the accuser could not transcend in her life. You’re going to pay for those sins of her past if you do not leave! The accuser will not be satisfied until you have been punished. If you can drop your classes without penalty, that will be the time. If the semester is almost over, then leave then. When you leave, do so while leaving the largest black hole of knowledge about your life as possible–no Facebook, no tweets, no nothing. Move out of the dorms and change schools. You should not continue with the dorms anyways because roommate conflicts cause the school to start documenting you.

    Do not drink alcohol or do drugs. You’ll need a clear mind. The reason why I give this warning is because I cursed those factors that lead to attending the school where I found myself with so many troubles. I concluded that the school had reframed what sexual harassment was just like the campus rape criteria had changed to include alcohol as a determining factor that the girl was raped. They told me at my hearing “your definition of sexual harassment…”. Only after I left the school did I find out that mere unwanted “attentions” was enough to get me in trouble. That all a girl had to do is say I threw on her “attentions” which the dean told me was partly connected to Facebook. So please, leave the school before it gets worse. You will not be able to anticipate the accusing because you won’t think you stepped over the line. Read the student handbook carefully for redefinitions of sexual harassment. It varies by school.
    And hopefully, you don’t end up not wanting to live.

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    • Wow…that is so sad. and I am so sorry for you…and for the young man that lost his life…and even feel more sorry for his family.

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