Thursday, January 23, 2020

Third Hand

On effbee, one of my colleagues posted a link to a student blog where a student at NWU says she was sexually harassed by a male prof at NWU, a prof who teaches in her major; she says she reported it a trusted professor who reported it to the department chair, who had a chat with said prof.  And said prof made it about his sad situation.

So this is, at best, third hand information.  What does one do?

Not my department?  Not my monkeys, not my circus?

Or is there still some responsibility?

I emailed the campus Title IX officer/legal eagle with the link and asked.  They've contacted me and are aware of the situation and reaching out to the student.  The fact that they're reaching out now makes me think they heard it from either effbee or someone who saw it on effbee or me...  and it seems like one of the campus publicity and marketing folks contacted them;   I'm guessing one of the people who's responsible for monitoring those web search things that aggregate anything and everything that mentions specific words you target.  Good on them!

And now the student has filed a more official report.  Good for her!


I think what I find frustrating at this point, separate from being pissed off at that stupid professor hanging out at a student bar bugging young women (bugging any women is inappropriate), is that the female faculty who are responding feel ineffectual and seem to actually BE ineffectual.

It reminds me of the sexual harasser who was grad program chair in my graduate department; reportedly, numerous women talked to a female professor (untenured), who supposedly told them that they needed to talk to the department chair.  But everyone was too afraid.  (Including me.)  It felt like it would be the end of any graduate funding, any support from any of the male faculty (who we all felt had to already be aware of the grad director's behavior, since he did it at every gathering where there were faculty and grad students).

And so, nothing happened.  For years.

The woman whose post I originally saw asked in general if other colleges have policies, seemingly unaware of ours.  Then someone posted ours (which I went and read), which covers the situation reasonably well.  Then someone posted more about the current policy, and how it didn't seem to actually work, given what had happened.

But none of them said, hey, I'm reaching out to our Title IX person.  (And I didn't post on the threads at all, just reached out to the Title IX person.)  And they all KNOW the Title IX person.

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