FSU students ‘not surprised’ by misconduct allegations involving faculty

The Westcott Building is FSU’s primary administrative building. Photo courtesy: fsu.edu

Florida State University discreetly took action earlier this semester in response to allegations of sexual misconduct involving three faculty members.

One professor was terminated, one was suspended and a third professor was allowed to keep his job, according to disciplinary records that were made public last month.

FSU fired Ross May, 38, an associate director of the university’s Family Institute, which studies how parents can develop healthy environments for their children, over allegations that he pressured a student to get drunk, hugged her “in a forceful way” in a photograph and bet another student $50 he could have sex with her by the end of the semester.

David Gilbert, 62, is another professor who was held accountable. He was suspended without pay for two weeks and later resigned after a graduate student accused him of sending her a sexually explicit email in January 2020. In the email, Gilbert described an erotic dream that included the student, and said he hoped something like that would happen in the future.

The third investigation involved John “Read” Gainsford, a music professor still working in the College of Music. After the investigation was completed in July the university stated that Gainsford had improper sexual relationships with at least three students, even though he did not instruct or supervise them.

During the investigation, Gainsford described one relationship as “friends with benefits” — meaning a sexual relationship without serious commitment — with a College of Music student he met on Grindr, the online dating app. He said he also had a relationship with another student who he later married.

Several female students at FSU said the reports made them feel uncomfortable.

Jaylynn Pierre, a senior pre-med family and child sciences major at FSU, said claims of sexual assault on campus are almost common.

“As a Black woman on a white campus, I’ve always been in fear of being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Pierre said. “The amount of sexual assault cases I’ve heard about are disheartening but I’m truly not surprised.”

“It really frustrates me that I have to protect myself from students and teachers. That just adds to the list of reasons why i’d rather not be on campus,” she added.

Bria Renna, a junior pre-med family and child sciences major at FSU, was not surprised by the reports involving faculty members.

“Honestly I’m not surprised because I have heard many things of this going on since my freshman year and I am now a junior and I feel now it is more out there to the public and is becoming common,” Reanna said.

“Knowing that these are professors who teach at the university I attend does not make me want to even continue classes in person. It actually makes me uncomfortable, but I did miss being on campus because of COVID but now this has caused me to be very disturbed,” she added.

More about the story can be found on Former FSU Professor Faces Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct, Allowed To Retire Amid Investigation | WFSU News .