I wrote about Ricardo Romo previously here. He was placed on leave from his position as president of the University of Texas at San Antonio. When he was first placed on leave, he pledged to clear his name. Now, he has decided to retire. He does not explain the entire situation but suggests he was the subject of a sexual harassment complaint because he engaged in an abrazo at work with female employees. His chief of staff, Sonia Martinez was also placed on leave at the same time. See San Antonio Express News report.
I am not Hispanic, but my experience with the abrazo is: 1) it is voluntary. The participants are not required to engage in an abrazo. Persons wishing to show mutual affection can choose to simply shake hands. And, 2) the abrazo is basically a hug. Hugs come in degrees of closeness.
Mr. Romo’s story sounds fishy to me. No sexual harassment claim is based simply on hugs. Words are required to make a case. Hugs are capable of subjective interpretation. Hugs alone are not enough. And, when the alleged perpetrator is a president of a public university, the quality of proof must be stronger than normal. The case against this former president surely involved more than simple hugs.