Our depressing progress on sexual harassment in academia.

Lenny Teytelman Mar 09, 2016

Not at all surprising, but so terribly depressing to read that similarly to Geoff Marcy, UC Berkeley found the Law School Dean guilty of sexual harassment in an investigation, and then did essentially nothing to punish him. Reading the following made me sick.

It's disturbing and upsetting that our progress on sexual harassment is essentially:

1. 20-30 years back, most investigations of people like Marcy or Choudhry probably returned "not guilty" to protect the perpetrators.

2. More recently, some investigations have started to return "guilty" with either no real consequences or the end result that the harasser switches to another university. Still all quiet.

3. Over the past year, journalists have made it harder to keep the harassment and investigations quiet. Journalists like Azeen Ghorayshi (Marcy), Amy Harmon (Lieb), Miriam Kramer and Sergio Hernandez (Slater), Michael Balter (Richmond), Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks and Katy Abbott and Suhauna Hussain (Choudhry) - you are amazing.

4. The study from Kathryn Clancy, Robin Nelson, Julienne Rutherford, and Katie Hinde has made it crystal clear that we are not talking about outliers and a few rotten apples: Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE): Trainees Report Harassment and Assault.

5. Representative Jackie Speier and Miriam Goldstein are taking on harassment in academia on Congressional level.

6. The are countless activists and victims who have spoken up and have done everything in their power to stop the harassers.

We still have a system that is massively stacked against the victims. More often than not, it's the harasser who is protected. Hopefully, all of the above is moving us towards a point where the stories for the journalists will be rare. And hopefully, journalists don't have to be the best resource for addressing sexual harassment.