Sunday, March 6, 2016

McGill's Shame Continues

Really?  Back at it again? I have repeated referred to a particular serial sexual harasser in McGill's Political Science department, but obliquely so.  Why obliquely so?  Because I am not sure what the consequences are for me of violating the confidentiality agreements of a place I used to work and because I didn't want people to speculate about who received this guy's unwanted attention. 

Well, I just learned as a result of this post this morning that the same guy is back at it.  When he was caught during my time there, only a few faculty knew.  They may have wondered why he got moved out of his office in a remote location and put next to my office.  I apparently was supposed to babysit/monitor him (which was strange since I only learned of his behavior informally, not through the administration).  But that was temporary, apparently, as I left and the next guy in that office probably didn't know that oversight of this guy came with the office (and I think the harasser moved back to his remote location where he can predate without oversight). His ban of supervising grad students apparently has lapsed as well.  When I was on grad admissions, I tried to keep students who wanted to do Mideast or peacebuilding from coming to McGill because I had little confidence that they would stay away from him.

Yes, most of the students knew because word gets around, but there was no guarantee that the word would keep being shared over time and all it takes is for a new student to have a few interactions with a serial harasser to have their trust in the institution and in academia irrevocably broken ... especially when the institution knows but does little.

The confidentiality that is thrown over the situation means that the prof in question appears to get away with it--those who know he commits these acts again and again do not see any consequences and those who don't know think nothing of it, perhaps even referring students to him if they develop an interest in Mideast politics and/or peacebuilding.

There, alas, is no internet trail to follow (there was once a post on Rate my prof about him but it disappeared) ....

Anyhow, as I have said before, if you have students or are a student thinking of going to McGill's political science program, I'd be willing to be more specific.  It is a great school and a great program with mostly great people, but there is poison within and it continues to remain and it remains under-identified and under-sanctioned.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice one, Steve! Much respect. This is how we make safe spaces. This is the antidote to the silence and cowardice. You have earned my admiration with this one. And believe me, I know the details all too well.

Madison said...

If the person in question is who I think it is (and it seems pretty obvious given the information you've shared), then I admit I am both surprised and not surprised.
On the one hand, I thought he was one of the most brilliant professors I had in poli sci at McGill. But even brilliant, seemingly nice professors perpetuate sexual harassment.
On the other hand, it reinforces what I learned about the McGill administration while I worked to change the policy on harassment, sexual harassment, and discrimination as part of my role in SACOMSS. Repeat offenders often only face real consequences when they become a PR nightmare for the university.

Steve Saideman said...

Repeat offenders face real consequences? That would be a surprise unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting, Steve!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this, as a current McGill undergrad student in the polisci department I had heard nothing but glowing reviews for this professor ... Sad that's he's still teaching at all

Anonymous said...

FYI:
There's a FB group for a re-haul about McGill sexual harassment policy.

https://www.facebook.com/Sexual-Assault-Policy-Proposal-at-McGill-901518743300704/?fref=ts

http://sexualassaultpolicyatmcgill.com/

Anonymous said...

If someone decides to look into McGill professors sleeping with their students, the Medical Physics unit is a good place to start. I know for a fact that McGill HR is aware of one or two of these incidences but has deliberately looked the other way. In fact, I believe one individual was promoted following such a relationship.
I still feel sick thinking of my time at McGill. Years later.

Anonymous said...

I too feel sick when I think of my time at McGill and a particular prof in poli sci who continues to get away with his shenanigans from what I understand. In fact McGill trot him out constantly for PR purposes because of his purported good looks (barf...)
There are some REALLY duplicitous creeps running around that place...

Anonymous said...

To the last comment of Oct. 30, 2016, if it is about who I think it is, I agree. He's a full on narcissist and a creeper too. He's a narcissistic predator and he used female students as supply. I don't know if he still does this since he's getting older but in the 1990s and early 2000s, he would target specific girls. He had a new group every year.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. The professor in question went out on a serious limb for me when no one else would, and saved not only my academic life.

That just makes this all the worse, that he would demonstrate such empathy towards one vulnerable student, then turn around and prey on the next.