Minnesota Carlson Associate Dean Accused Of Misconduct In High-Profile Sex Assault Case

Liu Qiangdong, also known as Richard Liu, the founder of the Beijing-based e-commerce site JD.com, is accused of sexually assaulting a Minnesota student in 2018. Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office

An associate dean and long-time professor at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management is accused of helping a Chinese billionaire who was accused of raping a Carlson undergraduate student in 2018.

Haitao (Tony) Cui, deputy associate dean for the Global DBA Program and the Ecolab-Pierson M. Grieve chair in international marketing at the Carlson School, was accused last month by the student’s attorneys of actively working to undermine the student after she was sexually assaulted.

The student, whose name has not been released to protect her identity, alleges that Liu Qiandong, the founder of China’s equivalent to Amazon, JD.com, coerced her into drinking alcohol at a school event, then raped her in her apartment after giving her a ride home in his limousine. She was 21 at the time; he was 46. She is suing him for $50,000 and punitive damages, which are allowed under Minnesota law in civil actions when evidence clearly shows a defendant’s deliberate disregard for the rights or safety of others.


Tony Cui

Liu, known as Richard Liu, was attending the residency portion of the Global DBA program, a degree the Carlson School offers in partnership with the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in China, when the incident occurred in Minneapolis. The 57-credit program is “tailored for top-level executives working full-time in China and the surrounding region,” according to the Carlson School website; it “prepares successful business leaders to strategically envision multinational corporations, critically review business challenges and technology transformation, and innovatively pursue corporate entrepreneurship in a complex global market.”

Liu’s net worth in 2018, when he attended the program, was an estimated $7 billion. He stooped down from JD>com in April of this year. His trial is expected to begin in September or early October, according to a June 28 article in the student newspaper Minnesota Daily.

Tony Cui, who has been a member of the Carlson faculty since 2005, was accused in a memorandum by the student’s legal team released June 16 of acting in concert with Liu’s legal team and against the interests of the student. According to the Daily report, Cui acted as a liaison between Liu and his legal team and recorded a series of phone conversations between the alleged victim and Liu’s lawyers without the student knowing he was on the call.


“Cui’s conduct in the aftermath of the alleged assault led university corporate law Professor Richard Painter to question whether Cui violated university policy on sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking and relationship violence through acting against his student’s best interests after she claimed to have been raped by a participant in the Global DBA program,” the Daily reports.

“The university can do what the university thinks is appropriate,” Painter tells the paper. “The university has had two years to conduct an EOAA [Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action] investigation. We have not heard anything about it.”

In an email to the Daily, Minnesota Director of Public Relations Jake Ricker says that the university “fully and appropriately responded to this situation when it arose in 2018, and we disagree with any allegations to the contrary. The university’s response was consistent with the rights of victim-survivors, due process and all applicable university policies.”

Cui’s attorney, David Wallace-Jackson, told the Daily that Cui is “constrained” in what he can state publicly but that much of the information offered in the memorandum is “significantly disputed.”

“Once he was alerted to the situation, Dr. Cui joined others at the university who did their exhausted best to work tirelessly that night and the next day to support the plaintiff and the defendant as they followed university policies while trying to safeguard the respective rights of both parties,” Wallace-Jackson says. “Dr. Cui has cooperated fully in answering questions … And he is not aware of any finding that his actions violated the law or any university policy.”


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