NEW: Gee’s Wife Alleges Sexual Harassment by Gregorian in New Book
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Brown University President Gordon Gee says former Brown President Vartan Gregorian "stuck his tongue into her mouth" when he accosted her and attempted to French kiss her on the dance floor at a university function.
Constance Bumgarner Gee describes the incident in Higher Education: Marijuana at the Mansion, her memoir of life as the wife of Gordon Gee, who has also served as president of Ohio State University and as the Chancellor of Vanderbilt University.
Gregorian, who was a much beloved president of Brown before the Gee tenure, is currently the President of the Carnegie Corporation in New York. The Gees are now divorced.
The Gregorian incident
"I have my own special memory of Vartan," Bumgarner Gee writes in the self-published memoir.
"The dinner bell had rung when, as guests filed slowly into the ballroom where the tables were set, I made a quick detour into the ladies' room," she writes. "A few people were still conversing on the dance floor when I entered the ballroom, although most had taken their seats, including Gordon. Vartan came toward me smiling as I walked across the softly lit dance floor.
"'Ah, Constanz!'" he exclaimed in his courtly manner. I reached my hand to his, but instead he pulled me to him for the trademark bear hug. He then gave me a kiss on the lips, which was no huge surprise, but just as the quick kiss should have ended, he jammed his tongue into my mouth."
Bumgarner Gee writes that she was stunned. "I pushed him away and literally staggered backward toward the table," she writes. "I plunked down in my chair and sat in silence, trying to absorb what had just happened."
When her husband turned to her after a few minutes, Bumgarner Gee says she told him, blankly, "'Vartan just stuck his tongue into my mouth.'
"Gordon looked at me quizzically," she writes.
"'I'm serious, Gordon, he just accosted me on the dance floor. I ought to go throw this glass of wine in his face.'"
"'Don't make a scene,' he warned."
For Bumgarner Gee, the shame and humiliation of the incident cut both ways. "This was a dog raising his leg on another dog's territory," she writes. "It hurt me to learn that my dog didn't much care."
Bumgarner Gee's memoir dishes more dirt at the Gregorians, who stole the spotlight, she says for months following the transition to her husband's brief and controversial tenure at Brown. Overall, Higher Education's view of Brown is colorful and damning in all directions. For more on Higher Education, go here.