Wednesday, July 26, 2017

New Study On Sexual Harassment Of Graduate Students

Via Leiter, this is interesting.
   As I've said before, I know for a fact that some jaw-droppingly blatant and egregious instances of sexual harassment happen to graduate students in philosophy. (Though, come to think of it, I also know of some cases of female students being pretty aggressive in their pursuit of male professors and grad students...) I also know for a fact that there are repeat offenders, and other faculty are in a position to know who they are, but fail to do anything about it. It really is just about the god-damndest thing you every saw in your life, and I can barely write about it without getting extremely angry.
   However, I also know for a fact that there are patently false--and often politically-motivated--accusations of sexual harassment in philosophy, in particular of the "hostile environment" kind. I've seen hostile environment claims used against people simply for criticizing philosophical feminism in the ordinary, philosophical ways (and I've seen such claims taken to university offices, and promulgated nationally). I've also seen utterly frivolous hostile environment claims made about individuals (not me, incidentally). It's just about the second god-damndest thing you ever saw.
   Here's the situation, in philosophy, anyway: sexual harassment is real, and real problem. However, PC/feminist ideology is also rampant, and it has the effect of promoting exaggeration of the problem and false accusations.
   In the middle are a lot of people of good will who aim to do the right thing. Good luck with that, everybody!
   Finally: I'm on a hair-trigger with respect to such things, but the IHE story seems a little slanted to me--not that I'm so objective about such things these days. The comment about Kipnis seems like a dig--my guess would be that she likely said something more like: I can't comment on a 90-page report that just came out; I haven't had time to read and digest it yet. Also, finding that 53% of the claims involve serial harassers doesn't show that there's little truth to the idea that single, false, career-ending accusations aren't a significant threat. A left lean with respect to this issue is common in academia, so I wouldn't be surprised if there's one here. But I also wouldn't be surprised if I were imagining things.

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