What? Vice Provosts and Presidents and Chancellors commit sexual harassment?

Complete as of March 16, 2018. For the most up-to-date list of cases and to see additional cases across institutions and disciplines, visit NOT A FLUKE.

It has been two years since I began compiling cases of academic sexual misconduct perpetrated by faculty, staff, and administrators. This seems like a good time to post about individual groups and disciplines.

(1) 1991: David McIntire, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, University of Missouri-Columbia. RESIGNED POST, REMAINED ON FACULTY. http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1991/University-Official-Accused-of-Sexual-Harassment-Denied-$84-000-Leave/id-a3749efcea6a74199b044a6c031b11f1

(2) 1993: J. Floyd Tyler, Senior Vice-President for Business Affairs, College of Charleston. RETIRED/INSURANCE FUND PAYMENT TO STUDENT. http://chronicle.com/article/Student-Gets-75000-in/70603

(3) 1993: Mark Urban, Deputy Vice President of University Development and Alumni Relations, Columbia University. RESIGNED AFTER UNIVERSITY INVESTIGATION. http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/812/413/1761741/

(4) 2005: Keith Parker, Associate Provost for Institutional Diversity, University of Georgia. DEMOTED. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/08/01/uga

(5) 2008: Isaac Sanders, Vice President of Advancement, East Stroudsburg University. SUSPENDED THEN FIRED. http://www.poconorecord.com/article/20140416/NEWS/404160321

(6) 2008: Greg Sandoval, Vice President for Student Affair, Southwestern College. RESIGNED. http://legacy.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/metro/20080607-9999-1m7resign.html

(7) 2008: Robert Shindell, Associate Vice President for Recruiting and Admissions, Texas Tech University. CHARGES “SUBSTANTIATED”, RESIGNED. http://lubbockonline.com/stories/061208/cri_289491671.shtml#.VuAxvymlpDl

(8) 2012: Diane Leite, Assistant Vice Chancellor, University of California-Berkeley. REASSIGNED TO NEW POSITION. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_20183348/uc-berkeley-professors-condemn-light-punishment-administrator

(9) 2014: Graham Fleming, Vice Chancellor for Research, UC Berkeley. RESIGNED. http://www.dailycal.org/2015/04/12/uc-berkeley-vice-chancellor-for-research-resigns-after-sexual-harassment-allegations/

(10) 2014: Marvin Roberts, Assistant Vice President of Student Engagement and Diversity, Utah State University. FIRED. http://www.sltrib.com/news/1794027-155/roberts-student-police-university-alleged-usu

(11) 2015: Jesse Acosta, Vice President of Administration and Chief Business Officer, University of Texas – Tyler. RESIGNED. http://www.tylerpaper.com/TP-News+Local/221240/ut-tyler-vp-resigns-after-investigation

(12) 2015: Jeffrey Luftig, Associate Vice Chancellor for Process Innovation, University of Colorado. RETIRED AND LAWSUIT SETTLED. http://www.campussafetymagazine.com/article/univ_of_colo_paying_80k_to_settle_sexual_harassment_lawsuit/Lawsuits#

(13) 2015: Han Reichgelt, Regional Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, University of South Florida – St. Petersburg. FOUND IN VIOLATION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY. RESIGNED POST AND JOINED FACULTY AS ONLINE INSTRUCTOR. See link for details and documents: http://crowsneststpete.com/2016/11/21/sexual-harassment-incident-led-to-ouster-of-top-academic-officer/

(14) 2016: T.W. Cauthen, Associate Vice President for Academic, Campus and Community Partnerships in the Division of Student Affairs, University of Georgia. RESIGNED OVER INAPPROPRIATE RELATIONSHIPS. http://flagpole.com/news/in-the-loop/uga-administrator-resigns-after-reports-of-inappropriate-relationships

(15) 2017: David Carrera, Vice President of Advancement and Health Sciences Development, University of Southern California. “LEFT JOB” IN MIDST OF ONGOING SEXUAL HARASSMENT INVESTIGATION. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-usc-fundraising-harassment-20171011-story.html

Provosts and Chancellors commit sexual harassment too…

Complete as of March 16, 2018. For the most up-to-date list of cases and to see additional cases across institutions and disciplines, visit NOT A FLUKE.

It has been two years since I began compiling cases of academic sexual misconduct perpetrated by faculty, staff, and administrators. This seems like a good time to post about individual groups and disciplines.

(1) 1987: H. Daniel Cohen, Chancellor, Indiana University South Bend. RESIGNED FROM POSITION – RETAINED POSITION AS TENURED PHYSICS PROFESSOR – AND LOST CIVIL LAWSUIT. (Note – he did it again – see PHYSICS FACULTY, below). http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2009/08/ind_decisions_r_31.html

(2) 1997: Chernoh Sesay, Provost. RESIGNED TO BECOME PROVOST AT PATERSON COLLEGE. JURY AWARD OF $200,000 TO ACCUSER. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-12-17/news/9712170272_1_provost-tenured-professor-awarded

(3) 2003: Fred Gaskin, Chancellor, Maricopa Community College District. FIRED. http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/local/education/article_3ae669e9-8556-5b39-b651-7b12ce7f8139.html

(4) 2011: Garland Anderson, Provost, University of Texas Medical Branch. RESIGNED (SORT OF – READ ARTICLE). http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/health/article/After-harassment-claims-UTMB-officials-got-new-5398415.php

(5) 2012: Roy Flores, Chancellor, Pima Community College. RETIRED AND LAWSUIT SETTLED. http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/20221749/pima-college-settled-sexual-harrassment-claim

(6) 2013: Rosalyn Templeton, Provost, Montana State University-Northern. FIRED, HEARING OFFICER AWARDS DAMAGES TO COMPLAINANT IN 2016. http://flatheadbeacon.com/2016/04/26/hearing-officer-awards-175k-harassed-msu-northern-dean/

Did you know at least 29 college presidents have been found in violation of sexual misconduct or harassment policies?

Complete as of March 16, 2018. For the most up-to-date list of cases and to see additional cases across institutions and disciplines, visit NOT A FLUKE.

It has been two years since I began compiling cases of academic sexual misconduct perpetrated by faculty, staff, and administrators. This seems like a good time to post about individual groups and disciplines.

(1) 1982: Ambrose Garner, President, Hillsborough Community College. SUSPENDED FOR THREE MONTHS. https://casetext.com/case/garner-v-state-comn-of-ethics

(2) 1984: Geoffrey Peters, President and Dean, William Mitchell College of Law. RESIGNED http://www.nytimes.com/1984/03/23/us/minnesota-law-school-sued-in-a-sexual-harassment-case.html AND LAWSUIT SETTLED. http://tinyurl.com/hrxz9lp

(3) 1986: Francis J. Pilecki, President, Westfield State College. SUSPENSION RECOMMENDED, RESIGNED. http://www.nytimes.com/1986/07/02/us/college-sexual-assault-case-stirs-massachusetts.html

(4) 1987: William S. Gaither, President, Drexel University. RESIGNED. http://articles.philly.com/1987-10-25/news/26212499_1_college-presidents-leadership-style-gaither

(5) 1992: James B. Holderman, President, University of South Carolina. RESIGNED, IMPRISONED FOR UNRELATED CHARGES. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1991-12-08/news/9112080586_1_holderman-usc-president-tenured AND http://www.thestate.com/news/special-reports/state-125/article52824590.html

(6) 1993: Leon Howard, President, Alabama State University. JURY FINDING OF FACT http://chronicle.com/article/Jury-Determines-Ex-President/70533 AND LAWSUIT SETTLED. http://chronicle.com/article/Alabama-State-to-Pay-575000/72829

(7) 1994: John N. Mangieri, President, Arkansas State University. FIRED/STRIPPED OF TENURE. http://chronicle.com/article/Ex-President-of-Arkansas-State/84403

(8) 1995: J. Gilbert Leal, President, Texas State Technical College. SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY FOR THREE MONTHS FOR “INAPPROPRIATE” RELATIONSHIP. http://chronicle.com/article/Texas-President-Suspended-for/83867

(9) 1995: Donald Bronsard, President, Luzerne County Community College. RESIGNED. http://archives.timesleader.com/1995/1995_16/1995_11_01_BRONSARD_AT_COLLEGE_IN_FLORIDA_HE_WAS_FORCED_TO_RESIGN_AS_LCCC_P.html AND http://archive.timesleader.com/1995/1995_05/1995_03_24_ACCUSERS__LAWYER_WANTS_LCCC_REPORT_PUBLIC_THE_DOCUMENT_REPORTEDL.html

(10) 1999: Gilbert M. Dominguez, President, Imperial Valley College. LAWSUIT SETTLED. http://chronicle.com/article/College-Agrees-to-Settle/23153

(11) 2000: Charles D. Hays, President, Century College. RESIGNED. http://chronicle.com/article/College-President-Resigns/105074

(12) 2000: David Rubino, President, Gannon University. RESIGNED. http://www.leagle.com/decision/20041016350FSupp2d666_1960/PETRUSKA%20v.%20GANNON%20UNIVERSITY

(13) 2001: Owen Cargol, President, Northern Arizona University. RESIGNED http://wc.arizona.edu/papers/95/62/01_5.html AND WAS HIRED IN 2007 AS CHANCELLOR FOR AMERICAN UNIVERSITY-IRAQ. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/06/11/not-our-best-and-brightest

(14) 2002: Arthur R. Taylor, President, Muhlenberg College. RESIGNED. http://chronicle.com/article/Muhlenberg-President-Quits/12618

(15) 2002: Arnold J. Levine, President, Rockefeller University. RESIGNED. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/11/nyregion/amid-inquiry-president-of-rockefeller-u-resigns.html

(16) 2004 (and in 1995): Lee E. Monroe, President, Paul Quinn College in 1995 (http://chronicle.com/article/5-Million-Lawsuit-Accuses/97333) and Voorhees College in 2004. LEGAL FINDING OF FACT IN 2004. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/05/02/voorhees

(17) 2006: Leroy Sanchez, President, Luna Community College. RETIRED, U.S. DEPT. OF JUSTICE FILED LAWSUIT AGAINST SCHOOL. http://chronicle.com/article/Federal-Lawsuit-Accuses/42220

(18) 2006: Philip M. Ringle, President, Truckee Meadows Community College. LEGAL FINDING OF FACT. Read summary and comments: http://nv.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.20051222_0000028.DNV.htm/qx AND http://chronicle.com/article/College-Settles-Sex-Harassment/36950

(19) 2006: Charles Carlsen, President, Johnson County Community College. RETIRED. http://cjonline.com/stories/102106/kan_carlsen.shtml#.Vt7j_ymlpDk

(20) 2006: Craig J. Franz, President, Saint Mary’s College of California. RESIGNED FROM POSITION AT SAINT MARY’S UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA (WHERE HE WENT AFTER LEAVING POST IN CALIFORNIA). https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/12/21/franz

(21) 2007: Sidney A. McPhee, President, Middle Tennessee State University. ONE YEAR SALARY REDUCTION, REQUIRED SEXUAL HARASSMENT TRAINING. http://www.murfreesboropost.com/news.php?viewStory=3868

(22) 2007: William Merwin, President, Florida Gulf Coast University. RESIGNED OVER INAPPROPRIATE RELATIONSHIP WITH FACULTY MEMBER. http://archive.naplesnews.com/news/local/fgcu-president-merwin-resigns-after-inappropriate-relationship-ep-405013798-345700912.html

(23) 2011: Roy J. Nirschel, President, Roger Williams University. RESIGNED. http://chronicle.com/article/Complaint-Reveals-That-Roger/128591

(24) 2013: John Ellis Price, President, University of North Texas-Dallas. STEPPED DOWN AS PRESIDENT/RESIGNED FACULTY POSITION WHEN HARASSMENT BECAME PUBLIC. http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/denton/headlines/20150618-former-unt-dallas-leader-resigns-amid-investigation-into-relationship-with-former-employee.ece

(25) 2014: Johnson Bia, President, Pima Community College – Desert Vista Campus. RESIGNED. http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/local/report/050114_pcc_bia/pccs-bia-resigns-over-sexual-harassment-allegations/

(26) 2014: Patrick Lanning, President, Chemeketa Community College – Yamhill Valley Campus. FIRED. http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/education/2014/11/09/fired-ccc-official-accused-sexual-harassment/18758999/

(27) 2015: David Alexander, President, Northwest Nazarene University. RESIGNED BECAUSE OF EARLIER INAPPROPRIATE RELATIONSHIP AS PROFESSOR. http://www.idahopress.com/news/local/education/nnu-former-president-resigned-over-inappropriate-relationship/article_60fe1284-281e-11e5-89a6-3346ab104b89.html

(28) 2017: Ricardo Romo, President, University of Texas – San Antonio. PLACED ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE, THEN RESIGNED. http://diverseeducation.com/article/93984/

(29) 2018 (for harassment and resignation in 1917): William F. Slocum, President, Colorado College. INVESTIGATED AND ASKED TO LEAVE BY BOARD FOR HARASSMENT, RESIGNED, NAMES REMOVED FROM BUILDINGS IN 2018. https://www.chronicle.com/article/Colorado-College-Removes/242818?cid=wcontentlist_hp_latest AND https://libraryweb.coloradocollege.edu/library/specialcollections/Manuscript/Slocum.html


Complete as of March 16, 2018. For the most up-to-date list of cases and to see additional cases across institutions and disciplines, visit NOT A FLUKE.

It has been two years since I began compiling cases of academic sexual misconduct perpetrated by faculty, staff, and administrators. This seems like a good time to post about individual groups and disciplines.


(1) 1983: Anatomy Department, University of Iowa. LEGAL FINDING OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT. http://www.leagle.com/decision/19901695749FSupp946_11540/JEW%20v.%20UNIVERSITY%20OF%20IOWA AND http://www.nytimes.com/1990/09/02/style/campus-life-iowa-judge-finds-university-liable-in-harassment.html

(2) 1991: Literature Section of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. PROVOST SUSPENDED SECTION’S RIGHT TO MAKE PERSONNEL DECISIONS. LAWSUIT FILED. http://chronicle.com/article/Literature-Professor-Sues-MIT/82118 AND LAWSUIT SETTLED. http://chronicle.com/article/MIT-Professor-Reach/73326

(3) 2000: Engineering School, University of Rhode Island. PUBLIC ACKNOWLEDGEMENT BY UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT. http://chronicle.com/article/U-of-Rhode-Island-Admits-That/30446

(4) 2005: Communications Department, University of Pittsburgh. REVIEW BY OUTSIDE FACULTY FOUND DEPARTMENT TO BE UNHEALTHY PLACE FOR WOMEN FACULTY AND GRADUATE STUDENTS. http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/communication-breakdown/Content?oid=1338247

(5) 2006: Political Science Department, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. LAWSUIT FILED, COMMITTEE FINDING THAT DEPARTMENT TOLERATES SEXUAL HARASSMENT. http://www.dailynebraskan.com/political-science-professor-alleges-sexual-harassment/article_99548bfb-7003-51d2-bcee-532fb5f7fcfa.html and http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp2/112/908/2521407/

(6) 2014: Philosophy Department, University of Colorado-Boulder. CHAIR REMOVED, GRADUATE ADMISSIONS SUSPENDED. http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_25035043 AND LAWSUIT SETTLED. http://www.kmblegal.com/news/kmb-client-settles-title-ix-lawsuit-against-cu-boulder

(7) 2017: Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Wisconsin – Madison. FACULTY REVIEW COMMITTEE FOUND PERSISTENT SEXISM, INCLUDING SEXUAL HARASSMENT; DEPARTMENT MERGED WITH ANOTHER UNIT. http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/university/legacy-of-sexism-and-allegations-of-sexual-harassment-mar-uw/article_220cc4f3-3b0a-575a-898d-9c63711659c8.html

Recurring Damage from Sexual Assault and Harassment

I work at Michigan State University, have seen how the Title IX reporting process works from the inside, and have watched the Larry Nassar case unfold from close up. I am not sure most people understand how traumatic simply reading or watching the news can be for those of us who have experienced sexual assault and harassment. The Nassar case brought up my own history of sexual violence, and I found myself struggling to do even the most mundane tasks. I laid on the couch for a weekend, trying to escape into books or television to avoid the internal trauma I was experiencing. The trauma of assault is ever present, even after years of therapy.

The Nassar case was an assault that went far beyond his victims. The whirlwind of emotions this case triggered can relate to both the initial violation and the pain associated with reporting the misconduct and the bureaucracy of the Title IX system. I have spoken with several students who were so triggered by the Nassar case that they were unable to do simple tasks.  For some, the act of getting out of bed was difficult, let alone going to class. Some victims of sexual assault or harassment are able to seek out counseling to address the effects of their assaults. Seeking help takes energy and effort (and money), and the depression that can set in after a triggering event can often get in the way of seeking help. Sexual assault is a vicious, recurring event that revisits us in our minds and bodies. I know my own health and well-being were and continue to be affected.

For over two years I have been tracking academic sexual misconduct. The documenting of these events can in itself be triggering, and I recently had to take a two week break to preserve my own sanity. This is necessary labor, but it can be more draining than I initially realized. I have resources, privilege attendant to my position, and a supportive network of friends, family, and pets (unconditional love is amazing!). I can only imagine how difficult triggering events must be for student, many of whom have fewer resources than I do.

What can faculty do? I strongly encourage faculty to recognize that students can be negatively affected by all sorts of events, from national news about sexual assault to school shootings. We all have personal histories, and those histories affect us differently. Try to put yourself in your students’ shoes, and imagine what you would need from your professors. You can reach out to students without invading anyone’s privacy – there is no need to ask for details. Instead, look into the resources offered by your university and create a short list of the best resources. I created two sheets of institutional resources (MSUresources) to post on my door and upload to course websites – perhaps you can create something similar for your own spaces.



Graduate Student Patricia Jaimes Wins Leadership Award

The Geocognition Research Lab is at it again! Graduate student Patricia Jaimes has been awarded the COGS Disciplinary Leadership Award. Paty’s award was given in honor of her work with the MSU Chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicano/Hispanic and Native American Students in Science (SACNAS) and the MSU Upward Bound program. Well done, Paty, and congratulations on this honor. Your work to increase diversity in academia and science is amazing!

Why Sexual Misconduct in Academia Needs to Be Made Public

I have spent two-plus years documenting sexual harassment and misconduct in academia. Many universities go to great lengths to ensure that these cases are downplayed – while I have uncovered 614 cases of faculty/administrator sexual misconduct, undoubtedly there are many more cases that remain hidden from public view. In addition, in many of these cases: 1) the perpetrators resigned or retired and investigations ended without any findings, and/or 2) publicly available reports are anonymized with respect to perpetrator names and departments. Many institutions claim that they cannot release the names of individuals found to have committed sexual misconduct by claiming that “personnel matters” are private, or because resolutions were reached through negotiations that included non-disclosure agreements.

Recent high-profile cases illustrate the importance of disclosing the names of sexual misconduct perpetrators to protect communities. In one case, a professor and doctor (Nassar) at Michigan State University was sentenced to a lifetime in prison for assaulting AT LEAST 250 young women. In a second case, a Harvard University government professor (Domínguez) has announced his retirement after over twenty women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment.

In the Michigan State case, questions remain about how the university handled multiple complaints about Nassar – at least FOURTEEN people at MSU were aware of complaints against him over two decades. The fact that Nassar was a sexual predator would have remained a secret save for the bravery of one woman – Rachel Denhollander – and her publicizing the abuse she suffered. This one woman started an avalanche of similar stories from hundreds of women. If she had not come forward, how many more atrocities would Nassar have been able to commit with impunity?

In the Harvard case, the campus newspaper reported Domínguez’s sexual harassment in the 80s. I was unable to find reports on this case outside of the institution. Terry Karl, the woman who was brave enough to speak openly about Domínguez’s abuse, appeared in a 1991 Stanford newspaper article about her experience reporting her harassment. However, it wasn’t until a Chronicle of Higher Education story in February 2018 that Dr. Karl’s story became national news. Within a few weeks, so many women had come forward to also report their abuse that Harvard opened a new investigation and Domínguez announced his retirement.

These two cases are not isolated. Cantalupo and Kidder (2017) reviewed cases of faculty harassment of students and found that MORE THAN HALF of perpetrators were serial harassers. Here are a few more examples from my list of cases:

What can we learn from these cases? Cantalupo and Kidder (2017) have clearly documented that serial harassment is common, and my own read of documented cases supports their conclusion. Given that most cases of harassment never see the light of day, we should question if the number of serial harassers would be higher if victims/survivors* were able to publicly tell their stories. How many more cases are hiding behind institutional legalese, and how many more harassers are able to walk the halls, unimpeded? Enough is enough. Let us own the behavior of our colleagues, call them out, and make sure our colleges and universities are safe spaces for everyone.

*We are both victims and survivors. I honor the experience of being harassed and assaulted as complicated, and something that can be survived even as we continue to be victimized.



Slogging Through 600 Cases of Academic Sexual Misconduct

Slogging Through 600 Cases of Academic Sexual Misconduct

Julie Libarkin (2/18/18)

I wrote the piece thinking that Chronicle of Higher Education or other venue would publish it. I decided to post to my blog instead.

In early 2016, another case of professor sexual misconduct made national headlines. This case was especially egregious as the perpetrator moved from one institution to another, avoiding consequences each time. This plus other highly publicized cases (e.g., at Berkeley, or Northwestern), raised the question of how common sexual misconduct is in academia. Being a researcher, I developed a search rubric and set out to identify verifiable cases. Within one week, I had compiled 143 documented cases dating back to the late 1970s. Almost two years later, the list sits at nearly 600, grows weekly, and includes entire departments, university presidents, deans, Title IX officers, and faculty. Identifying and verifying these cases requires several hours of effort each week.

Title IX became law in 1972. Three years later, “sexual harassment” was coined. In the forty subsequent years, 600 academic sexual misconduct cases hardly seem surprising. Personally, I have experienced sexism and sexual harassment throughout my career, including a physical assault that affected my ability to work and for which I eventually filed a complaint. However, as with sexual assault on campus, most sexual harassment likely goes unreported. Even when complaints are filed, the scale of the problem may be masked behind fears of violating student or employee privacy. Confidentiality agreements and the decade or longer it may take to resolve a legal case can also hide misconduct from public scrutiny. Cantalupo and Kidder recently published a study of faculty sexual harassment towards students and noted that documented cases are but the “tip of the iceberg”. When expanded to consider other forms of sexual misconduct, including harassment of colleagues and by administrators, the problem of sexual misconduct in academia seems insurmountable.

My nearly two-year slog through academic sexual misconduct cases revealed a dark side to academia. Reading the documents associated with these cases has revealed commonalities as well as steps universities can take to ensure justice for people affected by sexual misconduct.

  1. Sexual misconduct in academia mirrors sexual misconduct in society at large. Faculty and administrators have committed verbal sexual harassment, physical non-penetrative assault, rape, and murder. One faculty even hired a hitman to kill the woman who accused him of sexual harassment!
  2. Institutions are loath to release information about sexual harassment. Lawsuits can cost universities millions of dollars. As it stands, many people who have been harassed are denied knowledge of prior instances of sexual harassment (necessary for identifying serial predators) or information about how, or even if, consequences have been meted out to harassers. In some cases, student-run or independent student newspapers are the only conduits for publicizing these cases
  3. Institutional responses to complaints of sexual misconduct vary widely, as do requirements for training. While some institutions investigate swiftly, others brush sexual misconduct findings under the rug and essentially allow sexual misconduct to continue unabated for decades. Similarly, some institutions require that all community members – from students to staff – complete sexual harassment training, while other institutions have no training available at all.
  4. The academy needs to address the negative impacts sexual misconduct can have on its victims. Perhaps the most difficult outcome of this experience has been the dozens of people who have reached out to me to tell me about their own experiences. I have heard from students who dropped out of college because of the trauma of sexual harassment and from junior faculty who lost jobs or quit in the face of misconduct. Sexual misconduct can have lasting negative consequences for education and career, as well as mental and physical health, and universities need to be at the forefront of limiting those negative outcomes.
  5. At the same time, the academy needs to come to a consensus about the consequences of sexual misconduct. The fact that someone is a leading researcher should have nothing to do with how sexual misconduct is handled. Decades of sexually harassing behavior might be avoided if real consequences are faced the first time harassment is reported. Additionally, imagine a professor who is a member of the National Academies or an endowed chair. Should that membership or chair be rescinded because of a finding of sexual misconduct? Sexual misconduct of any nature has a chilling and dehumanizing effect on students and colleagues. What are the trade-offs between allowing for redemption and protecting society?

Finally, my colleagues interested in modifying existing structures often ask two questions:

  1. What should sexual misconduct training look like? Research into the most effective forms of sexual misconduct training is certainly needed. That said – we can not train misconduct out of predators. Remember, academia is simply a microcosm of society, and some academics will simply be predators. What we can do is equip potential victims with information and support so they are wiling and able to report sexual misconduct if it occurs.
  2. How should institutions respond to a claim of sexual misconduct?
    1. While institutional and legal investigations are ongoing, individuals accused of sexual misconduct can be placed on paid leave – this protects the accused, the accuser, and the community. Firing the accused before an investigation is complete may punish the innocent and forcing victims to continue working in spaces with perpetrators may punish those who have already been victimized. That said, investigations should not end simply because an accused harasser retires or resigns.
    2. Institutions need to modify processes for how academic sexual misconduct consequences are determined and meted out. While student sexual misconduct is often adjudicated by independent committees, very few institutions seat independent voices to review sexual misconduct perpetrated by faculty and staff. Rather, consequences are often determined by chairs or deans. Bias is unavoidable when the perpetrator and victim are housed in the same unit. In my case, institutional policies required the head of my unit – who essentially oversaw me and my harasser – to decide on the penalty once a sexual harassment finding had been made. While I was mostly satisfied with the outcome of my case, it is not unreasonable to recognize that an independent third party is needed for justice to occur.
    3. Institutions should encourage, but not force, victims to consult law enforcement. Victims should determine if and how misconduct is reported. At the same time, institutions should not try to shield perpetrators from legal consequences, and should actively work with victims and law enforcement to make sure society at large – as well as members of college communities – are protected.

Given this moment in history, many universities are rethinking how they process, investigate, and address claims of sexual misconduct. This rethinking would be most effective if institutions worked together to identify principles that the academy should follow. Governing bodies, such as the Association of American Universities, would do well to establish normative practices based on existing federal guidance on anti-harassment policies. This would have the added effect of acknowledging other forms of harassment, such as those based on ethnicity or age, while simultaneously addressing deficiencies in how sexual misconduct is dealt with across higher education.

Academia is full of smart, hardworking people. Certainly, we can find a better way to deal with sexual misconduct and to support those people brave enough to tell us their stories.


How (and When) to Write the Background Section of a Manuscript

The related posts: How to Review a Manuscript, How to Write a Manuscript, How (and When) to Write the Background Section of a Manuscript.

The background of a paper may have different names depending on your field. It might be called the introduction, or the literature review, or the theoretical framework. Certainly, you should be familiar enough with existing research BEFORE you start a study to know that your work aligns with accepted studies and offers something new. However, WRITING the background should be your LAST step in writing a paper.

  1. As always, look at example papers from the journal you are targeting.
    • How many paragraphs are typical for backgrounds in this journal?
    • What is the purpose of each paragraph?
    • How many sentences are each paragraph?
    • Do backgrounds have subsections?
    • What is the purpose of each subsection? How long? ETC.
  2. Write the literature review backwards. Many people recommend the hourglass method for writing articles. I recommend it for the literature review and discussion. The hourglass starts broad, becomes narrow, and then broadens again. For the literature review, you are writing a broad and narrow piece. For the discussion you are writing narrow and then getting broad.
    • Write the narrowest part of the introduction first. What is your research question? This is the last paragraph of your background (or a separate section depending on the journal)
    • Who in your community cares about this specific research question and your specific findings? Focus in on work that speaks to your specific findings. Someone WITHIN your community has done something similar. Discuss that similar work. This is towards the end of your background.
      • For example, imagine you studied the role that the availability of LEGOS plays in shaping girls’ notions of gender roles. Someone in your community (the TOY-GENDER community) has likely studied LEGOS, or other types of toys, and their impact on gender role notions among girls and boys.
    • What other communities might care about this specific research question and findings? Focus in on work that speaks to your question and findings. Someone OUTSIDE OF your community has done something similar. Discuss that similar work. This is in the middle of your background.
      • Someone outside of your community (in the CAR-GENDER community or the TOY-ETHNICITY community) has likely studied different types of objects (e.g., cars) and their impact on gender role notions among girls and boys; or, the impact of toys on societal role notions among different ethnic groups.
    • In your discussion points, you should have thought beyond your specific question and findings to discuss the broader implications of your work. Other communities studying other concepts related to your work will be interested in the implications of your work. This is near the beginning of your background.
      • People who study TOYS or GENDER (but not necessarily both) or WORKFORCE or PLAY or IDENTITY-BASED PERCEPTIONS (but not necessarily of gender) would be interested in your TOY-GENDER findings in a broad sense. Describe this prior work.
    • The very first paragraph of your paper should set up why your work is so vital. This should be written like this: FACT, FACT, FACT, PROBLEM, HEY – I CAN SOLVE THAT PROBLEM! Like this (I am totally making this up, but in real life there would be references. And don’t judge me – again, I made this up as an example of a first paragragph): Many careers are outside of the reach of young girls, not because of ability, but because of societal expectations. Often, these expectations are transmitted when we are quite young, in the objects we encounter. For example, the toys we play with can instill a sense of how we – as gendered individuals – are expected to engage with the world as we age and begin to work. In the western world, toys are often labeled by the gender group we expect to use them, up to and including use of specific colors (pink, purple) for toys deemed appropriate for girls. This labeling can encourage unconscious bias among parents and children alike, and can shape how young girls view themselves as workers. Reshaping how children play, and what they play with, can have far reaching implications for women in the workforce.

How to Write a Manuscript

The related posts: How to Review a Manuscript, How to Write a Manuscript, How (and When) to Write the Background Section of a Manuscript.

My personal opinion is that writing – especially technical writing – hinges on planning. Set very specific goals. Here is what I would do for an empirical paper; this can be adapted for theory/argument. Let’s say you need to write a journal article. Set a daily goal. Take about a week to dig into article structure and make your blueprint, and each subsequent day do one paragraph/table/figure. You’ll be submitting in 3 months.

  • Pick a journal.
    • Review all of the possible journals.
    • Check to make sure they are legitimate publication venues.
    • Look at metrics that other people might care about (impact factor, who is the publisher).
    • PICK ONE.
  • Examine the structure of articles in that journal.
    • Pick three example articles that you really like and which are similar to the kind of work you will be presenting.
    • Tear each article apart
      • How many sections?
      • How many paragraphs in each section?
        • What is the form and function of each paragraph?
        • How many sentences in each paragraph? ETC.
        • Tear the articles apart down to sentence structure if needed.
  • Based on what you have learned about articles published in this journal, develop a blueprint for the components of your paper. You can model the blueprint in as much detail based on example articles as you are comfortable with. Notice – this should be generic. You are going to drop the story of your research into this blueprint.
  • Once you have that blueprint, I recommend writing in this order:
    • Research question/hypotheses
    • Methods
    • Figures/tables.
    • Bullet points for each figure/table that articulate the information in the figures/table. If a figure/table is in the results section, also write bullet points for the SO WHAT? of each figure/table.
    • Write out bullet points for results not shown in figures/tables.
    • Bullet point discussion themes – these should convey the SO WHAT? of your research and connect to the literature (which you haven’t written up yet). Nail down discussion points – this is the hardest part.
    • The content of the background should be aligned with your discussion. The discussion should consist of:
      • 2-4 very specific findings linked to the work that most closely aligns with your study.
      • 1-3 broader implications that align with work that is linked with some, but not all aspects of your work.
      • 1-3 very broad implications that align with the most general community.
      • Then, and only then, do you write the background (this is the introduction or literature review or theoretical framework or whatever your field calls the background). As you write the background, your discussion points might adjust to accommodate any new literature that you discover. See this post for suggestions about how to write the background.
    • After finish your background, flesh out the discussion by weaving the literature you have cited into the discussion.
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