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Today’s discussion topic

What would you do if you discovered that a person who had sexually harassed a young woman you knew and loved, and was quietly driven out of a university post for a pattern of similar activity, was now ensconced in a new university post and still involved with a website for teen/tween girls?

And what would you do if you suddenly realized that this person was now someone you were likely to run into at conferences, because you’ve become a scholar in this person’s field? And if this person was working with another noted scholar in the field whose work and ideas you greatly respect?

I’m really not sure what to do, so I thought I’d open this up for public discussion.


  1. Roger wrote:

    Jeez, you couldn’t have started off with an easier question? My personal instinct would be to do nothing too high-profile or likely to cause others to react strongly to *you*, but still to quietly mention what you know to others in the field in off-the-record ways as often as possible. It’s far too easy to get tagged as a complainer or axe-grinder for pushing these kinds of things too hard, but you shouldn’t let that worry silence you, and you should still try, subtly and without incurring personal risk, to spread word about this person’s misdeeds.

    I don’t know if “a website for teen/tween girls” is the important part of your worry about this person — both the nature of the website in question and the reason one should be concerned about that are too vague to me — so I’d focus your whispering on the history, which you seem to know well.

    Maybe you should send this on to Ms. Mentor at the Chronicle of Higher Ed ( ). This sort of thing is grist for her slightly obnoxiously smarmy but sometimes still entertaining mill.

    Wednesday, June 8, 2005 at 12:35 am | Permalink
  2. Jesus, Gus. Wish I knew what to tell you. Actually, I wish I knew who this was as it is probably someone I know (of?) as well and would like to steer myself but more so any of my students clear away from. No idea what to do, but somehow am not surprised to find out this person is still working with girls.

    Wednesday, June 8, 2005 at 3:48 pm | Permalink
  3. Catherine wrote:

    I agree with the first post, but I’d caution you to only mention quietly that stuff that you know _firsthand_, not anything that you have not verified yourself. “I saw him put his hand on her butt” is fair game, “my friend Susie told me that Jaime said that he had his hand on her butt” is not. Also, was this guy ever arrested or convicted of said transgressions?

    (Oh, and I’d call my dear old friends back to let them know when I’ll be in town in July. hint, hint.)

    Thursday, June 9, 2005 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
  4. gus wrote:

    Yes, I was cautioned by my advisor not to spread rumors. But this isn’t one individual case of harrassment, it was apparently multiple ones coupled with some other questionable activity at this person’s former institution; he was actually presented with evidence of his misdeeds and asked to resign, and I trust the three people who have vouched about this to me. They were privy to the case against him; they thus have more information than their own personal experiences, and I believe it was presented formally.

    anyway, I’m back in LA July 29-August 2… I had some good reason for not returning your call… oh right, I was on a bus when I listened to the message and hadn’t the foggiest idea what you were saying because I couldn’t hear!

    Friday, June 10, 2005 at 12:44 am | Permalink
  5. sly wrote:

    I know what I’d do, I’d drive out to his house and piss in his half-his-age former-research-assistant/new wifey’s riding boots!

    And then I’d present a paper about sciency bastard types using their own research to justify their misogynist behavior at the next conference we’d both attend 😀

    Saturday, June 25, 2005 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

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