Sunday, March 6, 2016

Institutional Sexism

The NYT has a very sharp op-ed on sexism in science, but, of course, it ain't science alone.  I have addressed this before, including here.  The author of the op-ed makes clear her frustration with universities that fail to act.

My basic complaint for the past x years has been that universities insist on confidentiality to protect the victim, but it really protects the perpetrator and, of course, the university.  Most students will learn who was the target, but the faculty may be left out of the loop since the university prohibits the various folks in the know to share the info.  So, the serial harasser gets a slap on the wrist and then what?  Eventually, the penalty and perhaps restrictions (such as not being allowed to supervise students) eventually fade, and new students get to be harassed. 

Institutions protect themselves rather than their students again and again.  I do think the various federal lawsuits may ultimately cause universities to be more responsible--so that they don't face a federal lawsuit, but it should not be this slow and reactive.

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