Could Sexual Harassment Revelations Rock Academia?

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

This year, so many corroborated sexual harassment claims have, indeed, claimed the careers of big names in entertainment, the media and politics. It appears that the Ivory Tower is not immune as observers place bets on who will be the next big shot to fall in what could be called The Pig Pool.

“One in 10 female graduate students at major research institutions report being sexually harassed by a faculty member, according to a study by the Association of American Universities,” Katherine Mangan reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education on December 1, 2017. “Some offenders are serial harassers who, if found out, resign and quietly move on to another campus.”

“They may never be stopped, because their victims, who sometimes suffer for years from self-doubt and shame, don’t speak out.” Until now, anyway.

“Often these incidents are kept secret,” Nell Gluckman reported in that same issue of the Chronicle. “That’s been the case at colleges such as the Berklee College of Music, whose president said in November that 11 faculty members had been quietly fired for sexual misconduct in the past 13 years.”

“Students at the University of Southern California’s school of social work are trying to change that. In October, after Karissa Fenwick, a sixth-year Ph. D. student, sued the university and her dissertation adviser, claiming he had made unwanted sexual advances toward her, dozens of students formed a coalition that has been putting pressure on the university to change how it handles cases of sexual harassment.”