A college professor who has accused Virginia’s lieutenant governor of sexual assault will appear Tuesday at a long-planned Stanford University academic symposium on that topic.
Stanford officials said she won’t discuss the incident during the sold-out event at the school’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Vanessa Tyson was the first of two women who alleged last week that Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax sexually assaulted them, prompting calls for his resignation. Fairfax has denied the allegations and said he won’t resign.
The event was planned several weeks ago before Tyson aired her accusation and is titled, “Betrayal and Courage in the Age of #MeToo.” It will be live-streamed at casbs.stanford.edu .
Tyson will be joined on stage by a fellow center researcher Jennifer Freyd and moderated by law school professor Paul Brest to discuss “the underlying dynamics of sexual violence and institutional betrayal” according to symposium literature. Tyson is an associate politic science professor at Scripps College about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Los Angeles. She is spending the year at Stanford in part researching “the political discourse surrounding sexual assault,” according the center’s Web site.
Tyson’s accusation was made public last week when a friend shared a private Facebook message sent by Tyson that alluded to the possibility of Fairfax becoming governor if the current Gov. Ralph Northam one was forced to resign because of a racism scandal. That message was posted on a conservative political Web site that follows Virginia politics.
The Associated Press typically does not identify those who say they were sexually assaulted, but Tyson issued a statement in her name last week.
In the statement, Tyson said Fairfax held her head down and forced her to perform oral sex in his hotel room at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004. Fairfax says the encounter was consensual. Tyson has not otherwise commented publically and hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment from The AP.
Stanford officials said in a statement Tuesday that Tyson will not take questions related to Fairfax. Questions from the audience will be screened in advance.