JEFFREY PARSONS, the Hunter College psychology professor and founder of the Center for HIV Educational Studies & Training (CHEST), who quit in disgrace after the New York Post reported on a sex and drug scandal that not only took advantage of students and colleagues, but also involved hiring his husband for “$600,000-plus worth of taxpayer-funded photo gigs.”
#GayNrd attempted to investigate rumors of Parson’s indiscretions–which a source said involved parties with undergraduate and graduate students involving cocaine and alcohol, as well as sex parties that some of the students felt they were coerced into. The latest allegation was, according to our source, from a trans man who was one of Parson’s graduate students. Parsons was known, after snorting copious amounts of cocaine, to “check under everyone skirts” as our source put it, at which point he would grope the students genitals.
When we called Hunter College about the allegations last fall, a graduate student told us that Dr. Parsons was currently on leave. When asked directly about the groping and cocaine allegations, the student simply said that there were others that could answer that question more directly, “you should do some digging.”
Jeffrey Parsons — the youngest-ever “distinguished” professor at the public college and one of the CUNY system’s highest paid professors — quit July 3 following a school probe that substantiated May 2018 complaints by employees.
The May 4, 2018, soirée was held at the iconic Stonewall Inn in the West Village, where Parsons rented out the bar’s second floor. The theme: rebellion.
Every year he’d host a party he claimed he paid for out of his expense account known as the CHEST fest, a former employee said. Last year’s bash is when his alleged bad behavior came to a head.
As he did at past events, Parsons encouraged attendees to imbibe.“If felt like a hazing frat party sometimes,” a former employee said. “I almost always felt uncomfortable at the office parties by the coaxing to drink.”
The party included a lip-sync contest, and Parsons told two male employees to take off their shirts. He then approached “the sexier of one of the two” and undid the button on his pants, the ex-worker said.
But the evening really went off the rails when Parsons allegedly pressured two people to keep drinking and then lifted the shirt of a worker without permission, exposing the person’s chest and humiliating the employee.
“It was as if the host of a dinner party came down and had taken a pee on a pot roast,” the former worker said. “That’s how shocking it was.”
He said Parsons tried to apologize but to no avail.
After the party, the CUNY Research Foundation hired a former federal Department of Education official to investigate, said Frank Sobrino, a CUNY spokesman.
The $539,312 investigation included more than 70 witness interviews, he said.
Parsons was on paid leave until the disgraceful allegations led to his ouster. In another snub to his career, a visit to the CHEST website found that Hunter has renamed CHEST and it is now known as PRIDE for Promoting Resilience, Intersectionality, Diversity and Equity.
“He was in a great position of power to the many students who looked up to him, and his behavior was disgraceful—especially when you consider that many of the students who chose to follow his foot steps were already from marginalized communities and who felt as though they had done something to deserve the sexual assaults—it’s very sad,” says our source.
Hietikko’s Mindful Designs company was paid an average $82,000 a year — or a total of $656,000 — from 2011 to 2018, according to a CUNY spokesman who said the work was cleared by a conflict of interest panel.
Hietikko, though not a CUNY employee, also collected big bucks in grant dollars working for Parsons’ Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training, known as CHEST.
He is no longer working for CUNY.