How Universities Deal With Sexual Harassment Needs Sweeping Change, Panel Says

Current policies and programs have failed overwhelmingly to address and prevent the problem, said a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.


Comments: 116

  1. {gender harassment, “verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion or second-class status,” was by far the most common type (of sexual harassment) women in these fields experienced.}

    Since even a claim of sexual harassment can derail a man's career, of those four categories, professional women can expect a rise in "exclusion." Sad but true. Men who are unsure where the lines of 'conveying' are drawn will simply distance themselves from any interaction that isn't absolutely necessary - all to detriment of their female team members.

  2. Always meet in public, like a lunchroom. Perhaps in a corner, for hearing purposes .. and always in public.

  3. All to the detriment of their female team members?
    nooooo
    predicting what will happen is a mistake.
    Attention all men: simply treat all people with respect.
    If you can't do that, get help to figure out how.
    It's pretty simple if you are willing to think about it for a few minutes.

  4. Um, excluding female colleagues and refusing to interact with them on the basis of their gender, and your gender-related fears of women, is also illegal, especially if it results in "detriment" to co-workers.

  5. This says it all: "The report did not look at the process of investigating allegations, imposing discipline or the rights of accused harassers, except to say procedures and disciplines should be fair to all sides." It says: "Think about the ways we can change the climate." OK, so what, exactly, is the value of this report? An appeal to our better angels, without more concrete recommendations, seems trivial and would make me think, if I paid for this report, that I should get my money back.

  6. Exactly. While they are at it, they should look at the ways in which some universities have linked their student disciplinary procedures to their sexual harassment procedures: students who file complaints are accused of violating a professor's right to express his opinion, thereby violating university policy. If the student files a formal complaint with the Dept of Education, the Dean of Student's office threatens the student with expulsion. Great way to force the student to drop that Dept of Ed complaint. Then the university destroys the student's records because ... the student decided to drop the complaint. No record for the Dept of Ed to find when the university comes under investigation for its handling of student complaints! Quite a convenient system.

  7. Thank you, I just faulted the report with less force than you -- with some courage -- for its faint call for "fair" due process for the accused. 24 female lawyers from prestigious universities objected to the total of the due process for the accused. Also, I found the commission report devoid of facts, with statements using words like, "can" as a substitute for proven. Thanks for post.

  8. If they were serious rather than merely posturing, they'd zero in on "sexual harassment" before introducing "gender harassment." I hope the report was free volunteer work, not using taxpayer money or some well-meaning donations.

  9. Others will likely note this, but any intelligent man who values his job and career will likely take the path of less interaction with female counterparts, rather than risk everything they have over what may just be ham-fisted attempts at socialization.

  10. I'm a female scientist. I have supervised many younger male researchers and have never been accused of sexual harassment or inappropriateness.

    Do you know why?

    Because I use COMMON SENSE!!

    Try it

  11. puleeese. Any intelligent man can figure out how to treat women with respect in less than a minute. There is no excuse for bad behavior.
    Sorry fellas.
    You are going to have to stop being arrogant and dominating women and spend that long minute rethinking your bad behavior and how it affects people. All people deserve courtesy and respect.
    It is going to be better for everyone if you practice courtesy.
    No excuses!
    Get with the program.

  12. An "intelligent" man knows how to distinguish what is appropriate from what is not. As a woman who has has almost all male mentors, a number of male colleagues and friends, and a brother, I can say there are many men out there who DO know how to treat a woman as a human being without any "ham-fisted attempts."

    I think a key is most of these men have sisters, wives, other female relatives, or mothers they are close to. My advice is if you have problems or concerns about what you say or how you act being potentially offensive, imagine yourself as a woman on the receiving end of the behavior or ask a woman to give you her honest opinion. A few rounds of this and most 'intelligent" men will have learned what's appropriate.

    If not, you might have book or street-smarts but no emotional-smarts.

  13. At the university that I worked at in China--a British satellite university--there are no bars on campus, students aren't allowed to buy booze on campus, and parties are strictly limited. No fraternities, sororities, and so on. You wanna stop sexual harassment? Limit the booze.

  14. Good God, that sounds awful.

  15. That works for undergrads only, not the grad student / grant professor-advisor model.

  16. This was done at my undergrad- immediately reports of sexual assault and date rape skyrocketed as kids started having private quiet parties behind the closed doors of dorm rooms instead of the large frat parties where people watched out for one another. It's easy to blame alcohol but sexual harassment persists in professional workspaces where nobody is intoxicated. It's a culture, not a one time issue.

  17. The relationship between a research professor and his or her graduate student researchers resembles that of a traditional master and apprentice. For the 5-7 years of a PhD, that student's career is in the hands of that professor; he or she can lift up or destroy the student; there are few checks or balances. Leaving a professor's lab will mean throwing out years of work, possibly with a tainted reputation. It is the unequal power relationship that opens the door to sexual harassment. When underlings can walk out the door to another high paying job, there is far less scope for harassment. A grad student with her supervising professor is not unlike a young actress with a producer. The man holds all of the power. To reduce sexual harassment in academia, the traditional model of a professor being lord and master of a research lab, paymaster, taskmaster, and final arbiter of all decisions, that must change. That is where the resistance will come. Professors love their autonomy above all else, and that autonomy leads to the imbalance of power that leads to the opportunity for harassment.

  18. Excuse me -- how much simpler does this have to be?

    My neighbor works for a major media company, with a quaint, old-fashioned "Dutch uncle" local boss. Rules are very simple and to the point -- zero tolerance for any less than "Downton Abbey" manners. Period.

    Also: a very big CEO was fired, STAT, for breaking such rules.

    https://www.nytimes.com/topic/person/mark-v-hurd

    Now .. what is it about academia that makes many academics think, they are above such rules? Why should taxpayers keep funding such blatant insanity, legal costs, and damage awards? I mean, really ..

  19. The problem is profoundly structural and it is hard to see how the underlying dynamics could change sufficiently to alter the hierarchical relationship. Granting agencies, whether public or private, fund the individual professor (or the team). The universities live off the overhead collected, and the prestige of hosting successful big-buck grant-getters. Especially in the sciences, prospective graduate students often apply to programs to work with professor so-and-so.

    It's hard to see how this could be brought to an end. A university (or faculty, or department) might be able to exercise some sort of oversight or regulatory function, but the highly asymmetrical power relation would be unaltered, and the really high-powered money-raisers could take their lab, etc. elsewhere. As I said at the outset, it's a profoundly structural problem.

  20. In 30+ years as a STEM professor at a major research university (one public, one private), I can attest that, yes, one can find professors that match Tom's analysis. But they are few: Tom presents the extreme case in a continuum. Far more professors are coaches for--and colleagues with--graduate students than they are "masters." We're not stupid: we understand power dynamics and actually work at transferring autonomy to students. That's what being an educator is all about. I deeply appreciate freedom of thought and action, but that is not the centerpiece of my professional life. Rather, it is nurturing ideas and people, making real discoveries now and then, doing the work necessary to sustain a functioning academic community. My good relationships with my current and former Ph.D. students (and also with the undergraduates whom I teach--in all cases, many women among them) mean far more to me than professional research accolades...and I've enjoyed my share of the latter. While it's true that there are very few checks and balances in the graduate research education system, it works far better, on average, than Tom would have you believe.

  21. I see that of the 21 members on the Committee that produced the report only 6 were male. There's your commitment to fairness, inclusiveness and gender equality right there.

  22. I'm not saying this is as common here, but the age-old problem of power dynamics and the stuff women put up with is not best adjudicated by men, who have always chosen to be in power. "Lee Paiva, an artist from San Francisco, was working in Korogocho, a Nairobi slum, in a program to help families taking care of AIDS orphans. Her translator began telling her about the people on the street: “This girl was raped at knife point, this child is a rape baby, this girl is HIV-positive from rape by her father, this is where a grandmother died after being gang-raped, this woman’s baby was raped ….”" https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/12/opinion/a-worldwide-teaching-program-...

    You think men are the best judges of whether women have rights or should be treated with respect after centuries of being treated as chattels and put down?

    I'm not saying you do these things, only that women's voices should not be silenced, particularly when dealing with women's issues.

  23. Chris M, I doubt that this was your intent, but your comment aptly illustrates the need for more women than men on this committee. The first reason is that men immediately intrude and make it about themselves, as you did with your comment. Self centered drama kings are not problem solvers. You must contribute something of value to participate. Reason 2 is that women suffer sexual harassment more than men. We do not need men like you to define the problem for us, especially when many of you dismiss it & don’t believe it exists. Reason 3 is that millennia of male leadership shows a proven record of failure to listen to and protect women. You had plenty of time & power to lead change, and chose not to. Change happens when WE & our make allies make it happen despite your dead weight. Finally, read all the comments here from men such as yourself. You’re here to whine, troll, bloviate, insult the author and demean us and our causes. You have zero constructive ideas, and zero interest in solving the problems you create. Having men like these on a panel would waste everyone’s time.

    Men & women working toward equality understand you much better than you understand yourself. Your speech and behavior is the best justification for your exclusion. Only you can fix that.

  24. @Chris - How about this argument, then - instead of merely sexual harassment, advocate passing laws enabling people to file lawsuits of 'all civil rights violations by individuals', and not just a university.

    Please go through my comments for details.

  25. "The report did not look at the process of investigating allegations, imposing discipline or the rights of accused harassers, except to say procedures and disciplines should be fair to all sides." In light of recent articles, and the objections of female lawyers from prestigious universities, that "accused" harassers are not given due process rights, I might voice caution about a report that otherwise seems well-intentions but pity in its documentation.

  26. Universities are scams anyway, good-riddance.

  27. You prefer a world that does not strive to knowledge? You're working on a computer, right? You have electricity and hot and cold running water. You benefit from a wide range of the problems of curiosity and learning.

    If you think the things that surround you appear by magic, think again. Knowledge and understanding are of great value.

  28. I'm surprised these numbers aren't higher. They're built on the perceptions of young females, and harassment here is being defined to include even non-verbal cues.

    What a garbage study. If women want to grab the ring in STEM, and earn the respect and higher wages that such a career comes with, I have three words of advice - "toughen up, buttercups."

    Science, tech, engineering and medicine aren't for the faint of heart. If you lack the mental chops, you're done. If you lack an ability to relate to down-market patients facing extreme stress because a family member is ill, with authority, step out. If you make a mistake and a patient suffers or a bridge collapses, or a plan comes in over budget and late, you'll be held accountable. Basically, if you're fragile, you'll get crushed.

    My advice to those of fainter heart is to stick to jobs in education, HR, and the lower rungs of STEM like lab work and elder-care, or maybe in an admin or finance role with a healthcare provider. All of these are perfectly good fields, with short hours, decent pay, and a lack of confrontation, stress, and individual accountability. But they also lack the astronomic pay that comes with working at a higher level in STEM.

    Look, people can't have it all. There's no such thing as a free lunch. You want higher pay, expect harder work and a harsher work environment. If you do succeed in changing the rules of the game to suit your weaknesses, all you'll do is reduce the size of the trophy.

  29. I am a female scientist and physician and your comments are insulting to the many, many women who take care of patients (yes, in life-and-death situations) and research medical conditions, not to mention those who build bridges, program computers (my mom), fly airplanes, and much, much more. This isn't about the usual stresses of the workplace that apply to both men and women but extra pressures women place which have nothing to do with the actual work they do. Just wait until you are sick (you will be someday) and then perhaps you will respect the work of the many women who take care of you.

  30. Ah, Bill. Such a long and arduous run for a pathetically short slide.

    I'll take the faint-hearted - whatever that really means - any day over macho STEM sciencists whose only manageable skill is creating opioids and nicotine.

  31. Men will take women seriously in the work place when they can compete with them as pure equals.

    The way a man can speak over another man, humiliate another man, and overall be as nasty as they want to be; they have to be able to act the same way towards women.

    You pretty much cannot interrupt a woman in a meeting these days without everyone in the room wondering if what you're doing is misogynistic, whereas you interrupt a man and people practically start clapping if you say something useful.

  32. How far do Universities have to go ?

    "National hiring experiments reveal 2:1 faculty preference for women on STEM tenure track

    Wendy M. Williams and Stephen J. Ceci
    PNAS April 13, 2015. 201418878;

    The underrepresentation of women in academic science is typically attributed, both in scientific literature and in the media, to sexist hiring. Here we report five hiring experiments in which faculty evaluated hypothetical female and male applicants, using systematically varied profiles disguising identical scholarship, for assistant professorships in biology, engineering, economics, and psychology. Contrary to prevailing assumptions, men and women faculty members from all four fields preferred female applicants 2:1 over identically qualified males with matching lifestyles (single, married, divorced), with the exception of male economists, who showed no gender preference."

  33. Did the report that was cited saying that the military had more sexual harassment than academia have anything to say about why, or what situations correlated with more or less harassment?

  34. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Also, fewer opportunities for men who regard their needs as more important than treating women like equals.

  35. Perhaps universities could take a page from Petaluma High School, in California, whose valedictorian’s mic was cut off mid-speech for reporting an instance of sexual assault. So much for a “teachable moment”.

  36. When a supervisor in academia is well-funded they are often protected and emboldened to belittle their staff because it is unlikely the institution will reprimand or dismiss someone who is bringing in $$. It can be hard to establish a pattern with some because they chose certain underlings to harass, while others, especially those willing to subordinate, do not complain. If a principal investigator (PI) dislikes being challenged or you are insubordinate they can cut you off of a grant with no explanation without repercussion even if you were instrumental in getting that grant.

  37. Can't agree more. Please read my comments. I've brought up this point.

  38. Two cases Duke and UVA There are plenty more but enough said. No consequence for false accusations!!!

  39. Very true, especially in the case of Jackie, who has apparently never faced any consequences for her false rape allegations. A former colleague of mine is now involved in a sexual harassment lawsuit against Google, and I just learned that she made similar allegations against other coworkers of mine many years ago. I worked with these people for decades, as did many other women, and I am confident that they did nothing wrong. I wholeheartedly support the MeToo movement, but there need to be consequences for false allegations. Judging from the comments here, there is already a significant backlash against that movement. This will worsen if there isn't a perception of fairness, and that would be a great loss for all.

  40. The sweeping change isn't only needed at the college level. Municipalities and prosecutors need to prosecute. They are proud of their near 100% conviction rate, but fail us when they only prosecute those slam dunk cases. The colleges and universities should not be used in lieu of the criminal process.

  41. Kimbo you are right they should prosecute. That would entail going public and not hiding. I applaud people who do that

  42. Part of the problem in academia is a creeping definition of what exactly constitutes "harassment". At some institutions, Title IX is increasingly used as a weapon by women who are frustrated in their careers, largely due to mistakes and missteps of their own making. As part of a recent investigation in my own institution, men were grilled as to whether they had ever cut a women off in a meeting, or used the term "guys" to mixed groups of colleagues, as in, "Hey, do you guys want to get lunch after this meeting?" Meeting etiquette and gender neutral terms are fine, but these are hardly harassment issues.

  43. Sources, please? Or is this more MRA lies?

  44. Oh dear me! The poor men who worry that their careers will be derailed by false accusations. Or the absurd idea that this will lead men to distance themselves from women at work out of self-preservation.

    Such claptrap! I'm a 71 year-old man and worked with women since I was 22, including as an academic supervisor. Having been privileged to be married to a feminist, and gladly absorbing gender equity issues early in life, I had no difficulty discerning when intimacy was appropriate and when it was not. I had women colleagues I hugged with and others - not so much. Among the keys, which is also true in relationships with girls and women in schools and colleges, is to never be the one to initiate a hug or other gesture of intimacy.

    Any reasonably astute man can work with women, treat them with professional and personal respect, and have close, enduring, sometimes intimate, friendships.

    Men who are worried about their behavior being misinterpreted ought to reexamine their behavior, preferably guided by a strong woman who will tell them the truth.

  45. Thank you!!!

    You sound like my husband, who has always treated his female coworkers with the utmost respect. (He treats males with respect as well.)

  46. Or so you think. 'I had women colleagues I hugged with and others - not so much.' That 'innocent' hug of the past in retrospect, when viewed through the lens of today's morality could be considered sexual assault. Times are a changing.

  47. Several immediate observations: there was no hard data as the reporting of sexual harassment is problematic at best; the article did not bother to give us the composition of this committee but that it was alarmist, exaggerated the issue and its effects, and made no attempt to consider false accusations as an issue reinforces the suspicion that its co-chairs being women had an effect on its objectivity. It is no wonder people are losing faith in the NYT's ability to report news instead of propaganda.

  48. When a prof is passed through 5 universities in 5 years and each uni had to sign non-disclosures, that’s a problem. Fortunately at uni 5 he lost tenure, and never got it again. But wouldn’t it have been better for all if there had been no non-disclosure? What a patriarchal system we have built. Protecting so many male human primates to do as they wish and then cover things up. And they say women are to be protected from predators. Not w non-disclosure agreements they aren’t.

  49. Some of these replies!

    'Increasingly used as weapon by women who are frustrated...!'
    'TWO cases of false accusers left unpunished -- enough said!'
    'Intelligent men who value their jobs and career will have less interaction with females'
    'University are scams -- good riddance'

    A personal favorite (thank YOU, talesofgenji) is the link supporting the 2:1 women to men hiring of STEM tenure track positions.

    Yes--- to those of you who posted the above:

    Stay out of the universities, for whatever reason you need to tell yourself; limit your interactions with women, sounds like a smart choice for all of you.

  50. Girls are under siege by males from the minute they are born . In India they drowned them or suffocate them because they want boys. In China they kill them. In Africa they subject them to live excruciating female circumcision otherwise known as mutilation. , because they too want boys. I am not aware of similar practices in other cultures but I am sure they do exist as well.

    If they are willing to kill them at birth. It Is not difficult to understand that males feel that they can do anything they want. They abuse girls, young women, married women, grandmothers and their own siblings. What makes you believe that educated, talented, genius men are going to be a any different?

    What they have in common is an unfounded belief that they are superior in every conceivable way. They are living in a perpetual fraternity haze, patriarchy, as a divine right that is a big, lie. I have been harassed by my teachers my professors and married men you name it.

    They simply don't want women to be their equal because they want them as their servants.The genie is out of the bottle and growing bigger. They would have to kill them to put them back in the bottle. They have to face their eternal broken record. They want more men so they can kill them in useless wars, to prove to the females that they need them to protect then from all the bad man. We won't settle for less then equal rights, equal report opportunities , equal pay and equal respect in the workplace. No more submission.

  51. Time to go back to separate colleges for men and women.

  52. And what separate workplaces will employ them?

  53. Hopefully U.C. Berkeley no longer has their famous sociology professor emeritus meet with victims to convince them not to file charges against football players.

  54. As is so often the case with articles of this kind, there is an assumption that "sexual harassment" has a universally accepted meaning, when, in fact, there is a broad range of meaning ranging from delusion to trivial to serious, to very serious with many intermediate steps. When I see an article of this type, I ask: "What exactly are we talking about?"

  55. Could it be that the individuals fretting about the likelihood that a male's entire career might collapse as a result of unfounded accusations or poor social skills are missing the point that even egregious, documented serial harassers are experiencing no such restraint on theirs? The report is telling us that offenders are being routinely protected. Don't worry; innocent men making normal blunders are entirely overlooked or laughed off at the grass roots.

  56. What was the male:female composition of the panel? Did it reflect gender parity? Did it reflect male:female breakdown of the members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine? If not, did it represent a special interest group with foregone conclusions?

  57. Sexual harassment is something that happens very often but not for this reason should be acceptable, the dignity not only of women but also of men is in danger and you need to take immediate and necessary measures to end this situation that generates de-balance in our world.

  58. Finally! "Gender harassment", a name for the put downs, assumptions of incompetence, second class status experiences, and academic and professional appraisals where written evaluations and positive performance reviews were either not read or completely discounted! After a 40+ year career in science and engineering, I now have a name for many of my experiences.
    My male colleagues encountered this type of harassment so seldom that they could not imagine that my experiences were not "all in my head" and "wild conspiracy theories".

  59. It would be good to know how many of these behaviors were sexual comments or touching, how many were romantic overtures, how many were explicit disparagement of women's abilities, and how many were inferred attitudes. Labeling all of these "harassment" results in some alarmingly large numbers, but it's not clear whether the large majority were subjective, or simple social misfires.

  60. Mandate "training" of staff and faculty is really just window-dressing that allows the institution to say, "See! We did something to address."

    Having process in place to allow grievances to be filed is needed, but to me, the long term solution, is simply to have a more balanced faculty and staff, rather than one that is heavily dominated by men. The same is true with any corporate cultures. Having women in the mix of senior ranks, staff and faculty really can make a big difference.

  61. That wouldn't make much difference at research universities, where there's too much to lose. So, universities usually make pragmatic decisions, based on the premise that the average Joe/Jill can't probably fight against an entire institute. But, they might be wrong.

  62. The standards for Higher Education employment, as well as Student status, are planned to increase. University is about Brilliance. Sexual Harassment is not brilliant. If the Professor is not on the Brilliant Track, then goodbye. If the Student is not on the Brilliant Track, then University is not suited for you.

  63. Patronage, the relationship between the all-powerful male patron, and his less powerful, long-suffering male supplicatnt is as old as time. Those who think this is a gender issue simply reveal their historical ignorance.

    It's largely because young women are now discovering firsthand the same indignities that have been heaped upon young men for millenia that the matter has become more scrutinised.

    The armed forces, the universities, the arts and humanities, have always practised the ignoble power dynamic known as patronage.

    When few women were in these fields, in the Occidental and in the Orient in the Ancient World, especially in Rome and in China, the custom was at its most virulent. The truly innovative and brilliant had to grit their teeth, to steel themselves to be patronised, literally, by the mediocre and the untalented simply because the patrons held all the cards.

    The literature is full of the complaints of young and not so young men bewailing their servile relationship with their powerful patrons.

    See Wallace-Hadrill, Andrew, ed. Patronage in ancient society. Vol. 1. Routledge, 1989.

  64. Hmm. I see your point.

    Does that make this kind of treatment right?

  65. The article is too vague. There aren't specific examples or categories to help us understand exactly what the experiences are or the distribution of them. For all we know 90% of the problem comes from profs calling on males more and showing them more favor in classroom discussions. This is a well known difference that is about conversation styles and assertiveness. Quiet males with a less pushy style experience the same thing.

    I also notice that the analysis seems to imply that any treatment that is perceived to be different between the sexes is sexual harassment. That is not so. That is discrimination but not sexual harassment. This is simply using a heavy club to intimidate and prove a point with fear not facts.

    Finally are we to assume these university profs emerged fully formed scientific adults out of nowhere? See because when I think of the guys in this field I think "nerd." And then I think about how girls treat nerds in their teen years. And then I hear an adult nerd professor prefers males to females for grad level study and I am not surprised. It's convenient enough to say "hey get over it," but if we're being so sensitive to female students, isn't it unfair to forget what "it" is?

  66. "And then I think how girls treat nerds in their teen years".

    My husband is a nerd, and he is attractive. He was attractive to girls in high school.

    Your point is not valid.

  67. If you are still clinging to teenage memories of how the girls treated you in high school as a university professor, you have a lot more problems than just figuring out how to be sensitive! So yes, get OVER it.

  68. Did it not occur to these scientists that the definition of sexual harassment as “verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion or second-class status" is hopelessly vague and subjective (i.e., unscientific)?

  69. Humans are not elementary particles. We are a highly social species. Social behaviour cannot be handled with the same rigid static objectivity employed at CERN to study the Higgs boson. But it is absolutely crucial that these issues be addressed within science.

  70. '“verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion or second-class status,” was by far the most common type women in these fields experienced.'

    If this is way harassment was defined, the report appears to be meaningless. Frankly, the National Acadamies should have known better and should have done better.

  71. Alex, when women in a classroom raise their hands to answer a question or make a comment and only male respondents are called, is that sexual harassment? You bet it is! You figure it out when you see the mediocre grade given by instructors who don't even know who you are.

  72. The comment by the male committee member, Billy Williams, is telling. The 'fears of retaliation' in academia prevent women from reporting formally the harassment they experience. So, how can universities change to prevent the opportunities for retaliation? They have a lot in common all right with the military because both have a strong 'pecking order' whereby there are many years spent licking boots to get tenure, or a doctorate or as a post-doctorate in someone's lab. Williams basically says Title IX is useless because women are too fearful to record what's going on. As a man, he can recognise this so why can't male academic colleagues admit that there is too much power concentrated in a few generals/deans/full professors? These guys don't even teach, they leave that to their female lecturers and post-grads.

  73. Please go through my comments. I concur with some of your views.

  74. Federal anti-discrimination legislation includes retaliation suffered by anyone who reports discrimination. Retaliation IS a form of discrimination; even white males can file under anti-discrimination laws if they suffer retaliation after, for example, giving evidence of discrimination against women co-workers or fellow students.

    The article should follow up on the quotation from Billy Williams by providing this information. No one should ever be discouraged by fear of retaliation from filing a discrimination case or providing evidence for a filing with the EEOC or other federal agency or federal court.

    Reporters should be better acquainted with the laws they report on.

  75. The most important change would be to end the medieval arrangement which walled off educational institutions from the rest of society. Society's laws should apply without regard for campus boundaries. A rape in a dormitory is no different from a rape in a high-rise apartment; both are crimes, and location should not distinguish them.

  76. Another difference is that campuses are where students both study and live. Unlike employees who separate their work life from their private life, these facets are intermingled for students. While most employees are not romantically involved with their co-workers, usually have only superficial social relationships with each other, and don’t normally get drunk together, college students spend all their time with other students, developing intense relationships and are notorious for drinking and partying. So among students, the normal social boundaries of the working world are much lower. This makes it difficult to apply the norms of the outside world to campuses.

  77. Joshua and Nancy, students live in different situations from most of us, but I fail to see why behavior criminal in other situations is not behavior criminal in educational situations. Just as no person is above the law, not place should be outside it.

  78. I wonder if the transition to co-ed dorms decades ago is a large contributor to sexual misconduct at colleges. Restrictions such as separate men's and women's dorms were considered paternalistic and not in keeping with the students' supposed adult status. Maybe some of the liberalized policies that were implemented in the 1970s and after has proved to be unwise.

  79. What is a nonverbal behavior that conveys hostility? Frowning? Looking angry?

    Is that harassment?

    It would help if there were examples.

  80. From my experiences it was having a professor, upon my first meeting,literally Check me out from head to toe and a smirk on his face, needless to say I was speechless but brushed it off. It progressed to every time I handed him a paper he brushed my hand, then he conveniently walked behind me during a class function with his hands on my back, my coping mechanism was to deny, press on as normal. I didn’t have the emotional energy to confront eventhough it made me very ill at ease and discussed this with a friend. Then when I had to discuss my final project topic in his office, he was my main supervisor, he reached over and caressed my hand as I was writing down notes, I instinctively pulled back, yet his hand caressed mine again, I pulled back again, all the time in those split seconds saying that didn’t happen? 3rd time was the charm. I wrapped up my work and said, to the effect of, ‘ok I think I got all the info I need’ and awkwardly politely thanked him and left. Even weeks later I was cordial and polite to him personally and in emails thanking him for his help andsupport etc.knowing full well if I confronted him it would all get ugly and it did spectacularly! I avoided him as much as I could. He continued to caress my hand when he returned a paper with suggestive grins. I did finally muster courage to politely confront in an email. I was met with his “concern” that I may be “troubled.” My grade was lowered just enough to destroy my 4.0
    I reported to harassment office, etc

  81. Sexual harassment isn't the only problem women face in science and engineering programs. A physics professor once told me that women who get A's on physics exams don't really understand physics. They're just faking an understanding by using rote learning.

    This shocking comment came from a respected educator and researcher who later became department head. It showed me that a meritocracy is only as strong as its weakest link. And there are some very weak links out there in the world of science and engineering education.

  82. Women should go to separate finishing schools. Problem solved.

  83. No, men should just accept that women are as likely to be their intellectual peers or superiors as they accept that other men might be.

  84. Can't wait to see what actions DeVos will take as a result of this report. It won't be good ....

  85. A Congressperson doesn't make such decisions on his/her own. A lot depends on their Legislative Assistants.

  86. [1 / Long comment]

    Dear members of the National Academies,

    I request you to advocate passing laws enabling people to file lawsuits of all civil rights violations by individuals, and not just a university. I’ll explain the rationale behind my request.

    Civil rights violations at research institutes are often swept under the rug. There's a strong reluctance at these institutes to reprimand researchers who bring in federal (or private) research grants worth tens of millions of dollars every year, so they can get by without as much as a slap on the wrist, so that the research ecosystem may remain undisrupted. The Office for Civil Rights may help prevent protracted legal battles, but perpetrators often, if not always, go unpunished. American taxpayers are thus paying for the career advancement of civil-rights offenders, whose nefarious actions may continue unabated. But everyone must be held accountable for their actions, and even Nobel Prize laureates & Turing Award winners shouldn’t be beyond reproach, simply by the virtue of the prestige of their groundbreaking work in their respective fields.

  87. [2 / Long comment]

    The things about civil rights is that barring a few organizations such as ACLU, civil rights advocacy is specific to special interest groups, which advocate for enforcement of some civil rights. I’m not questioning the validity of this approach, but it’s quite natural for the general public to only actively advocate for civil rights issues that’re closely related to their lives, and perhaps, even short-shrift others. For example, for an acquaintance of mine, civil rights mean LGBTQ rights, and she hates a particular subset of disabled individuals! For some, their passion for civil rights enforcement is limited to their resumes – which reminds me of what I’ve heard from several veterans – that for many people, their support for the military is limited to bumper stickers on their vehicles.

  88. [3 / Long comment]

    According to an audit report by the OIG of the US Department of Education, the OCR staff is overworked and might make mistakes, but what’s different about OCR than other government agencies is that the ED OIG doesn’t investigate issues of any mistakes made by OCR officials, and OCR officials aren’t required to rectify their mistakes. Perhaps you can help highlight this oversight on the part of Congress, because advising someone to rely upon the OCR might be equivalent to sending them to the gallows. After all, who’ll guard the guards?

    Talking of the National Science Foundation, its civil rights compliance requirements (except those involving sexual harassment) seem perfunctory – universities are simply given warnings to comply, lest NSF may withdraw funding. This obviously doesn’t ensure deterrence against recurrence. The NSF should consider blacklisting individual civil rights offenders for a few years. However, there doesn’t seem to be strong impetus to implement such radical changes, which brings me to my rationale behind requesting all of you – you’re already in a position to inform, if not influence policy, so I request you to advocate the changes you proposed for all civil rights violations, and not just sexual harassment.

  89. [2 / Long comment] The things about civil rights is that barring a few organizations such as ACLU, civil rights advocacy is specific to special interest groups, which advocate for enforcement of some civil rights. I’m not questioning the validity of this approach, but it’s quite natural for the general public to only actively advocate for civil rights issues that’re closely related to their lives, and perhaps, even short-shrift others. For example, for an acquaintance of mine, civil rights only mean LGBTQ rights, and she hates a particular subset of disabled individuals! For some, their passion for civil rights enforcement is limited to their resumes – which reminds me of what I’ve heard from several veterans – that for many people, their support for the military is limited to bumper stickers on their vehicles!

  90. [3/ Long comment]

    According to an audit report by the OIG of the US Department of Education, the OCR staff is overworked and might make mistakes, but what’s different about OCR than other government agencies is that the ED OIG doesn’t investigate issues of any mistakes made by OCR officials, and OCR officials aren’t required to rectify their mistakes. Perhaps you can highlight this oversight on the part of Congress, because advising someone to rely upon the OCR might be equivalent to sending them to the gallows. After all, 'who’ll guard the guards'?

    Talking of the National Science Foundation, its civil rights compliance requirements (except those involving sexual harassment) seem perfunctory – universities are simply given warnings to comply, lest NSF may withdraw funding. This obviously doesn’t ensure deterrence against recurrence. The NSF should consider blacklisting individual civil rights offenders for a few years. However, there doesn’t seem to be strong impetus to implement such radical changes, which brings me to my rationale behind requesting all of you – you’re already in a position to inform, if not influence policy, so I request you to advocate the changes you proposed for all civil rights violations, and not just sexual harassment.

  91. Wonder what dear old Larry Summers thinks, having considered himself brave and bold for suggesting some years back that maybe just maybe women don't have the appropriate cujones for doing math, science etc. all that well.... Weigh in, big boy--are we to conclude that this latest data is just fake news?

  92. What dear old Larry had the temerity to point out was that there was a significant difference in standardized test scores in math by gender and that more research was required to understand why. Further research might have uncovered what this article is about, that a hostile learning environment makes it unfair and less likely that women will be as successful in the STEM fields as men. Whatever else Larry might have said or done regarding the treatment of women in academia, his observation here was fact based. Making the environment more truly merit based will allow the cream to rise to top regardless of gender, race etc. - some we need to compete globally. We also need to recognize that different learning strategies (perhaps gender based) have the potential to make the STEM fields more inclusive and that's good for everyone.

  93. There is another article on the Times website today about girls' and boys' test scores in math and English, and how the gender gap for boys in affluent families is greater. As far as I can see, the whole discussion there is about "social norms," i.e., nurture rather than nature. It ignores the possibility that Summers was raising, that innate differences could be at work (except to say that the topic is taboo). I don't know what those "earlier sessions" took up, but maybe Summers thought other "relevant issues" were worth emphasis?

  94. Prohibiting non-disclosure agreements as part of the consideration for a cash settlement of a harassment claim sounds good, but one effect will obviously be to reduce the amount of cash paid in settlements. So who benefits? The plaintiffs lawyers who will use the publicity to drum up more business.

  95. Such a directive would primarily help ensure deterrence of recurrence, but as you pointed out, wouldn't compensate a victim as much as he/she may deserve. It's for the greater good.

  96. I thought that sexual harassment was both unlawful and grounds for a civil lawsuit. Given that, having universities policing it with a combination of kangaroo courts and with incentives to cover things up is the heart of the problem. If a crime is committed that's for the real courts and real police and real attorneys to handle. It's not something that the dean of students and two assistant professors of chemistry are qualified to adjudicate. Seems awfully clear.

  97. “verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion or second-class status,”

    I have worked on a research staff at a large university for over 25 years. The aforementioned behavior is most certainly not gender specific. It is a reflection of the arrogance of many tenured research leaders. I am male, and exclusion and second class treatment are very much the norm. It is displayed by both male and female researchers towards both male and female staff.

    I have difficulty categorizing this as sexual harassment. Rather, it is an element of a toxic culture that impacts everyone.

  98. You beat me to it. Every male has experienced this type of behavior from both males and females. It's part of the everyday give and take of working with people. The higher up you go the greater the interplay of egos and Aspergers. If men and women are equal and if a woman can do anything a man can, backward and in high heels, what's the problem? The last thing we need is criminalization and safe-spaces.

  99. How often do your coworkers comment on how you look in a given shirt or pair of pants? How often do they comment on your hair? Do you notice your coworkers looking at your chest during converstations?

  100. @woodyrd: "I am male, and exclusion and second class treatment are very much the norm. It is displayed by both male and female researchers towards both male and female staff."

    You're not supposed to say that, because it puts in question the whole victimhood and oppression hierarchy modern feminists and the social marxists they derive from need to exploit the narrative and advance their agenda.

  101. "It said gender harassment, “verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion or second-class status,” was by far the most common type women experienced."

    Explicit sexual offenses should be prosecuted in our formal legal system. If that prosecution were legally required, the problems would be greatly reduced. However, "Gender Harassment" seems to be too subjective to be codified in law. It is indisputable that harassment is an expression of tyranny, but for an institution to accept an accusation of harassment as unchallengeable, as is done in some academic institutions, invites another kind of tyranny, that of retaliation for non-harassment reasons. In this circumstance, a male or female professor, could lose his/her position due to an exaggerated or falsified claim of harassment.

    Each of the involved parties in any gender harassment claim should be permitted a fair hearing by qualified legal experts and should not be subject to a Kangaroo Court hearing by unqualified panels using their own subjective standards for assessing guilt.

    In America, we all have the legal right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. There does, however, seem to be a growing chorus of those supporting a standard involving the presumption of guilt with a corresponding requirement of proving oneself innocent, the latter of which could lead to great injustices and the degradation of academic standards due to fears of retaliation.

  102. It may be useful, in order to more effectively plan, implement and assess (processes and outcomes) interventions to delineate sexual harassment into three broad categories.It would have been helpful to also, briefly, note that this is just one type of culturally, enabled, daily violating of a selected "the other." By gender/gender identity. Which has been, and is, anchored in traditions and is institutionalized. Even in a semantic surrealism of language: "Boys will be boys." Indeed sexual harassment has even been weaponized in various parts of the world by various documented groups.In addition, it is useful to consider what is the likelihood of any of these
    consensualized recommendations to actually be effectively planned, implemented, assessed and learned from, over necessary time with adequate ongoing available budgets.All of this in a culture, local, regional and national, in which individual and systemic personal accountability is little more than a group of attached letters. Or is a repeated mantra transmitted by agendafied-stakeholders. On a more practical basis, what type of ongoing monitoring (transparent?) would be required? Using what types of criteria to assess: success; failure; irrelevance- which can waste and misuse limited human and nonhuman necessary relevant resources, harms produced by the intervention itself? We also need to consider reality's eve-present uncertainties. Unpredictabilities. Randomness. Lack of total control whatever our doings.

  103. To just get started honestly confronting sexual harassment, assault and rape at the Universities would, as a step 1, require Universities to abandon the cult of revenue protection via total all-out brand defense, with step 2 maybe having the administrations give up those hollow, meaningless buzz phrases they've all memorized to regurgitate in front of parents and the press to obfuscate the problems' existences, step 3 being the rescindment of the (unofficial of course) rules-exempt status given star athletes...to just get started.

  104. Every now and then the lawyers are correct:

    Justice is in the process, not the outcome.

  105. “The system of meritocracy does not account for the declines in productivity and morale as a result of sexual harassment,” says the report. “It can make her question her own scientific worth. Additionally, it can make scientific achievement feel like it is not worth it.”

    Surely they're not suggesting that academia stops operating within a meritocratic paradigm?

  106. Corporate America has been on this for over 30 years. It's not rocket science (sorry, couldn't resist).

    1) Mandatory training- no one can say "I didn't know" or "I didn't realize."
    2) Complaint system outside chain of command. Companies have confidential persons designated to hear and investigate such complaints.
    3) Enforcement: if the charges are substantiated, every dog gets 1 free bite (warning, counseling, etc.). After that, you're fired. Fired. No severance package and no collecting unemployment insurance either.
    4) Support from the CEO on down, regularly reinforced.

    Does it work everywhere? No. Is it light years ahead of academia? You better believe it!

  107. I'm sorry ". . every dog gets one free bite"?? Does that mean that every rapist gets one free rape? If yes, how might that apply to murder? Bank robbery?

  108. Institutions don’t commit crimes, people do. When institutions stop paying settlements and instead perpetrators are marched off in handcuffs things will change.

  109. Universities don't need to overhaul their treatment of sexual offenses. They need to refer them to local law enforcement agencies and then step aside.

    Where is it written that a rape on campus is somehow different from a rape across the street in a neighborhood alley? Why might one result in a suspension and expulsion while the other results in years of prison? Does it really matter where the offense takes place? Really?

    And who gave universities the authority to adjudicate felonies in the first place? If someone robs the university credit union, do they get different treatment than if they rob a local bank? Where's the logic in that?

    Universities should educate and do research. Law enforcement agencies should enforce the law. Their spheres need not overlap.

  110. The article states: "The report did not evaluate investigative processes, imposing discipline or the rights of accused harassers, except to say that procedures and consequences should be fair to all sides."

    This was a "311-page document" that "did not evaluate investigative processes, imposing discipline or the rights of accused harassers, except to say that procedures and consequences should be fair to all sides."

    I guess that if these issues had been addressed by the committee, the report would have exceeded the length of Tolstoy's "War and Peace." (1,225 pages in the first published edition)

  111. These statistics seem to be bogus, since the definition of "sexual harassment" includes "putdowns," a behavior which is entirely in the mind of the "victim." Correcting an error can easily be perceived as a putdown by someone who is insecure.

    To the extent females get their positions, either as staff or student, in medical schools through some kind of diversity process, they are more likely to make errors, and hence are more likely to be corrected.

    In addition, no mention is made of the rate at which males have suffered putdowns, which may well be the same or greater than females. In addition, it is entirely likely that males are less emotionally affected by putdowns and therefore do not even remember them.

    Whether the "report" predates the me too movement is irrelevant, as the radical anti-sexual harassment movement in academia is also much older. One would have to see to what extent this report was created by people who harbored foregone conclusions.

  112. Agree with everything except your second paragraph! Women, same as men, make it in medicine by being smart and hardworking. In most of the last century, women had to be better than the men to get their foot in the door. I graduated in 2000 and my class was half female. There is not and has never been affirmative action to get more women into medical school. Quite the opposite.

    I also wanted to say that when we students started clinical rotations in 1998, we were advised in an actual formal orientation that we were “fresh meat” and that we ought not to date the residents until we had finished that 6 week rotation, and so were no longer in a teacher-student relationship. Great advice!

  113. This report is likely to become an excuse to run roughshod over the rights of men. Men need to get organized: the system is becoming rigged against us.

  114. What I never see is a process for retribution against false accusations, which really are not that uncommon, despite what the crusaders say.

  115. Are we not past the point that our patriarchal society needs more than a 311-page report to educate men that women are indeed half the world's population and that we're claiming our right to it. We don't need male approval to do anything but we do need men to behave as if they too are full human beings.

  116. When I read the title, I thought that perhaps the NYT had come around, and joined the common sense crowd skeptical of the Title IX abuse (male) students have been subjected to since the infamous "dear colleague" letter. But no, it's just another piece doubling down on the same false tropes of rape culture, and stares or "unwanted attention" malignantly misrepresented as sexual assaults. And, as usual, unproven allegations are turned into reports of faculty having "been found to have committed sexual misconduct at their universities". Because "victims" never lie, right? Especially if they've been trained to confuse their feeling uncomfortable around the opposite sex with ACTUALLY being physically assaulted, and to be on the lookout for "nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion or second-class status”, which 100% of the general population can come up with, with the right amount of imagination/paranoia.

    But it gets worse: those who feel "put down", are victims too! Anyone who's ever been in a competitive field has felt inferior at some point, generally when they're up against someone more experienced or better trained. Instead of encouraging to use that negative energy to perform better, victimhood specialists would like underachievers to blame their imaginary oppression on others.

    As a society, we had better shake off this victimhood culture quick, because the rest of the world won't wait up as we argue over who's oppressed the most...