Dan Welcher, a longtime University of Texas Butler School of Music composition professor, is leaving the university following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct that arose last week, several news agencies have reported.
In an email sent to Butler students Mary Ellen Poole, director of the Butler School, said that Welcher “will not be returning to the Butler School except to clean out his office,” The Daily Texan reported.
Welcher is prohibited from any contact with students, according to a UT spokesperson. And UT’s Office of Inclusion and Equity is launching a full investigation. A Feb. 9 concert of his music at the Butler School has been cancelled.
Welcher, who is in a phased retirement plan this year, is not teaching any classes at UT this semester. He is due to retire in Spring 2020.
After meeting with the Butler School’s composition department, Poole said in her email to students that she was “sick to her stomach.”
“What I learned… has added many layers to my understanding of the ways Dan Welcher’s behavior has interfered with students’ learning, with their professional confidence, with the integrity of their physical selves, and with their pride in saying they have studied at the Butler School,” Poole said in the email to music students. “I believe everyone who has spoken up. It has broken my heart. And now I must figure out a way for us to move forward.”
On Sept. 26 VAN.com, an online classical music magazine, posted an article titled “Music’s Perpetually Open Secret.” According to the VAN.com article, a former student said Welcher often made inappropriate sexual comments and that he was “uncomfortably affectionate” in written and verbal communications.
Welcher, a composer who directs UT’s New Music Ensemble, is a prominent member of the Butler School and in the local classical scene and the recipient of a slew of honors. His music has been performed by multiple ensembles and orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony and the Austin Symphony Orchestra.