Professor Removed Due to Past Misconduct Allegations


Due to student concerns arising from his past teaching accusations, a Mercy adjunct has left and is no longer employed at Mercy College.

Prof. Thomas Sangiorgi was a chemistry professor who used to teach at a high school in Queens where he was accused of sexual misconduct towards his female students and retired from the DOE to settle charges, according to the NY Post. 

Sangiorgi’s past came to light to Mercy students after an individual named Jonas Miller created a petition to have the professor removed from Mercy College. The petition stated, “Mercy College has hired him to teach for a chemistry class, he has begun to show sexual advancements to the women in his class.”

However, the petition was shortly deleted after its posting. Mercy’s Student Government also reached out to President Tim Hall and Vice President of Student Affairs Kevin Joyce regarding students’ newfound awareness of Sangiorgi’s past shortly before his leaving.     

A student from his Chemistry I Lab who identifies as “Tracy” told The Impact, “When I went up to him to ask him if I had done the equation right, he got really close to me and was whispering in my ear to respond to my question. I felt uncomfortable so I stepped away so I wouldn’t feel his breath on my skin but he would only get closer.”

“Tracy” became more uncomfortable after discovering his past. The student added, “Especially because he would be too close to all of his female students when going around the classroom.” Her experience was similar to another student who recalled in the NY Post, “He stood so close ‘she could smell the coffee and cigarettes on his breath and it made her want to vomit.’”

I felt uncomfortable so I stepped away so I wouldn’t feel his breath on my skin but he would only get closer.

Mercy College’s General Counsel, Kristen Bowes, said, “I think in this case that the students did a really great job in utilizing our process which is they believed there was potentially a sex harassment environment, and they reported through our Title IX process.”

Title IX is a U.S. federal civil rights law that protects against sexual discrimination in education. According to the Mercy’s website, their Title IX policy states, “Conduct prohibited by Title IX includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, sexual misconduct, domestic/dating violence, and discrimination on the basis of sex. Title IX also prohibits retaliation against individuals who, in good faith, file a complaint or otherwise assert their rights under Title IX.” Students concerned about Professor Sangiorgi utilized the Title IX email Mercy provides, [email protected]

Students expressed concern regarding Mercy’s background check on Sangiorgi. However, Bowes clarified that a background check is conducted on all employees and anything found is taken up with HR and the legal team. Mercy uses a company that looks into educational verification, employment verification, criminal records, and sex offender records. In regard to googling employees, Bowes stated, “That’s not a practice that we employ here because it can lead to discriminatory decisions in hiring and admitting students.”

Without Googling Professor Sangiorgi, his past allegations in the NY Post would not be a factor in his hiring since his mention in the newspaper article may not indicate a criminal record. In addition, an employer has to take into account a person’s qualifications and conditionally offer the job before inquiring about criminal history, according to New York law.

Moreover, according to Executive Director of Human Resources, Madeline Martinez, “Mercy College has an introductory period for new employees during which time work performance and suitability for employment are evaluated.”

Mercy’s Background Checks Policy is available for viewing. 

 Sangiorgi was no longer employed at Mercy as of Feb. 14, 2023, according to an email sent out to his Chemistry I Lab class by Dean Kathleen Golisz. Dr. Lee Warren worked on easing the transition for Sangiorgi’s students. He did not respond to emails asking for a statement regarding the situation.