Ryerson professor had teacher’s license revoked after ‘sexually abusing’ student, OCT decision says

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By Thea Gribilas, Heidi Lee and Edward Djan

Content warning: This article includes mentions of sexual harassment and sexual and emotional abuse.

A 2012 report from the Ontario College of Teachers’ (OCT) discipline committee revealed that Jan Matejovic, an assistant professor of science at Ryerson, lost his OCT license after engaging in the “sexual abuse” of a student in 2010. 

According to the decision, from March to September 2010 Matejovic “exchanged emails of a personal and/or sexual nature with a female student,” which violates the Ontario College Teachers Act. At the time, Matejovic was working at a Toronto private school.

A sexual relationship also occurred from the time the student graduated until approximately September 2010 when the student left for university, according to the OCT decision.

The decision also found Matejovic guilty of professional misconduct where he “abused a student, physically or emotionally.”

As a result of his actions Matejovic’s Certificate of Qualification and Registration—the annual license required to teach in Ontario—which he obtained in 2003, was revoked. 

Matejovic was subsequently hired at Durham College where he worked from 2013 to 2014. He then taught at Ontario Tech University from 2011 to 2018 and then the University of Toronto where he has been since 2013. 

He was hired as a contract lecturer at the Chang School of Continuing Education in May 2016. Matejovic now works as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Science and is teaching at least one class this semester.

In response to an email to The Eyeopener in which The Eye asked whether Ryerson was aware of the OCT decision when Matejovic was hired, the university said it cannot comment on human resource matters or decisions regarding individual employees “for confidentiality and privacy reasons.”

“As such, we are unable to provide further information or clarification regarding the particulars of the issue raised,” the email reads. 

The email added that “we expect all employees to comply with their obligations to respect the dignity, integrity and human rights of the entire Ryerson community and follow all university policies. We take adherence to these obligations very seriously.”

In an email to The Eye, the dean of the Faculty of Science reiterated that the university is unable to give out information on specific employee matters.

Matejovic characterized the relationship between him and the student as a “mutual loving relationship” and a “source of joy” in an interview with The Eye.

He also said that the relationship was “wrong” and that he needed “to account for [his] actions.” 

The former student Matejovic engaged in a relationship with said the relationship was “a consensual mistake,” but added that no abuse was involved. 

The school where the incident is alleged to have taken place between Matejovic and the student also did not comment on the report, but in an email to The Eye said “Members of the OCT are in a position of trust and must demonstrate responsibility in their relationship with students. Professional misconduct is a clear violation of professional boundaries.”

At the time the relationship was brought to the school’s attention, the Toronto Police Service carried out an investigation. No signs of sexual abuse were found and no criminal charges were ever laid, according to Matejovic.  

Ryerson’s hiring process for limited-term faculty is carried out by the Department Hiring Committees (DHC) in each department or school, according to a statement from Ryerson.

The DHC screens applicants based on a review of their applications and by carrying out reference checks.

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