Harvard Suspends Roland Fryer, Star Economist, After Sexual Harassment Claims

The move sidelines the researcher without pay for two years, and closes his lab, in a case that has roiled the profession.

Comments: 226

  1. Men of all races, educational backgrounds, sexual orientation need to learn how to behave in workplace settings without inflicting unwelcome and threatening sexual advances. Institutions need to make the consequences severe while providing due process to alleged offenders. Whatever benefits of Fryer's research are outweighed by the harm he has done in driving talented women from Harvard, deterring others from pursuing scientific careers and traumatizing his victims. He should become an "independent scholar" if he wants to continue in this field.

  2. @Histprof as more women rise to positions of power i wager that they will behave no different. but ‘what boy ever complained if a female teacher asked him for favors’. So you will hear of few complaints from men in the workplace too. Perhaps when the harassment meets at or crosses the hetro-gay boundary will complaints be registered - and there have already been some of gay-gay cases.

  3. It seems Harvard is trying to push him out the door without firing him (due to his tenure). He will probably be hired at a different prominent university within a year.

  4. @Peter Lemonjello He will probably be hired at a different prominent university within a year. i would take that bet he is radioactive - no other academic institution would take him on he is finished and justly so

  5. @Peter Lemonjello Another prominent university won't want to touch this guy. He may be exceptionally talented but he's highly toxic. Senior Human Resources folks would, if they are doing their job, discourage anyone from bringing him aboard. Way too much baggage.

  6. @Peter Lemonjello not if that "different prominent university" has an honor code!

  7. Salary 600k? That shocked me too.

  8. @99Percent That's the market rate.

  9. @99Percent Economics professors are notoriously overpaid, in any university. They are very good at making each other offers and thus triggering retention packages, and at defending their turf with assertions of mathematical prowess. It's particularly funny that they are so overpaid given that the economy is run so poorly; or maybe it's just indicative of who the "experts" on economics are and how they approach the world. It's also no coincidence that this field is the most highly paid and also has the fewest women and worst racial issues.

  10. @José Franco No, it’s not. Just check the salaries of tenured professors in the Chronicles of Higher Education.

  11. This is a thoughtful and balanced article. Bravo to Harvard for taking this action when it involved a star player who can also make race the issue, as Mr Fryer has in his deflection of his egregious conduct. Men who harass women at work always fall back on calling it "a joke". Would it be a joke if the man was on the receiving end of these unwelcome contacts? If a man is in doubt as to whether his remarks to female employees or colleagues are inappropriate--as so many men claim they are--they should imagine whether it would be appropriate to say the same things, or do the same things to another man. That should settle it. Women in the workplace are--gasp!--there to work. Imagine.

  12. @BG Men would hardly be bothered if a woman perpetrated this behavior on them as a "joke"... they would, however, 'blow a gasket' if a gay man did this to them as a joke - and it wouldn't be surprising if they retaliated with violence in that case (which they would justify).

  13. @BG agree. These same men who are so blithe and dismissive about their conduct towards women would freak out if a gay man said or did these things to them.

  14. @BG Through my social contacts with Peabody students, many of which were gay: I never once, in the five years, encountered or heard of a gay man coming on to a straight guy. Never. I am straight. I was invited as the sole guest of a gay couple while my wife was away, and had absolutely no hesitation in accepting, the thought of this being an "encounter" never crossed my mind. My host made a great oyster stew, though. If he's reading this, he'll know who I am. How's it going, friend? I've not heard anything about you in decades.

  15. The punishment suits the "crime". He should not be removed tenure. Everything appears to much less serious than I originally thought. Nothing more than what we see in those 90s movies on a typical office environment salty jokes. Should he have done it? No. Are they really that bad? No.

  16. @Avi A commenter said that in her long career in which she was frequently the only woman she had never seen this kind of conduct and wondered why it was so prevalent now. Maybe its because TV and movies are now incredibly crude so that people think this kind of speech and conduct is normal and acceptable. Not only is it gross, but it is frightening when a man who has financial/professional power over you speaks to you this way.

  17. @JerseyGirl it was prevalent. but, abusers go after junior academics and students. If you want your degree or tenure, you don't do or say things to undermine your own career. you just move on. I know this well because of what I don't say.

  18. @Avi Explicit text messages sent privately are not office banter. Putting one’s crouch in someone else’s face is not acceptable office interaction. You’re trying too hard to excuse sexual harassment by an entitled, overbearing man. Next, you’ll be telling us that Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein were just kidding around, too!

  19. It would be fine if all Harvard emails were scrutinized looking for this kind of harassment. Very likely a few more faculty would be suspended or fired.

  20. @NorCal Girl Most likely, women (and some men) simply tolerated the harassment and did not make a complaint. When I was in grad school at a private institution, I reported to a department chair the egregious sexist behavior by a professor toward me. The chair called the professor an "unregenerate reprobate" in our conversation and agreed that the professor was in the wrong. He then proceeded to do nothing to address the complaint. Oh well.

  21. @Common sense Alas, campuses protect their own. Wonder what HR or a dean would have said. Or, how the campus women’s center or faculty in its Women’s Studies program would have reacted. No, it would be a travesty to do a blanket invasion of faculty members’ emails. However, there should be a safe and confidential way for women to register complaints and, then, with reasonable cause, examine the panoply of text messages and emails of them harrasser to see how widespread his behavior is.

  22. The issue is status and power, not color or talent. Does anyone remember Douglas Hibbs? I cited his excellent work in my own dissertation. His work was as stellar as his behavior was abominable. Maybe Harvard attracts this kind of problem by being Harvard. Less prestigious organizations have problems too, but the power associated with a position at Harvard would make most SEC football coaches envious. It's like being a cardinal in the Catholic Church. Scrutiny of men, and sometimes women, in positions of authority should never be avoided. It's good that Harvard is addressing this, again. Authority should not be a license to harass people. People who minimize this behavior as just poor tastes are typically men who would commit the same offenses if they had the same authority. Don't listen to them. No one should have to put up with a superior who can't manage a professional relationship without harassment.

  23. agreed

  24. @Joe Adams Exactly, especially since power corrupts.

  25. I've been a faculty member and senior administrator at several universities over a 40 year career. In what universe did this faculty member think what he was doing was "a joke"? When I began my career, this kind of harassment would likely have been waved away. I'm glad that the elite universities are taking these transgressions seriously even in the face of the difficulty of doing so.

  26. Plus there are all kinds of human resources training and retraining required at most academic institutions, although sometimes only as lip service. Must think that normal rules of civil behavior dont apply to them.

  27. @Cathy Smithson Maybe in the past "diversity training" would have been considered unnecessary, but today universities are at risk of huge (and very public) lawsuits and big settlements so most administrators are taking allegations far more seriously (esp. between faculty and students where the power dynamic is heavily tilted).

  28. I’m baffled by these men’s behavior. I went to professional school when is was rare for women to do so. I never heard or saw anything like what we see today from men in all walks of life.

  29. @SMS Perhaps because there weren't many women to actually be there to be harassed?

  30. @SMS, perhaps the guys who did this didn’t want witnesses.

  31. "“That Harvard has put Roland’s life on hold, prevented him from using his lab and precluded him from pursuing his life’s work for nearly 18 months may give you a sense of what he thinks of the process.” That tells me what he would think of the result, not the process.

  32. He apparently never learned the riddle of the Sphinx on his erudite journey.

  33. For so many years society and its institutions not only tolerated abusive behavior on the part in f the white male hegemonic community but it effectively enabled it. In this Title IX / post-#metoo era that we live in universities are finding that it is no longer politically or economically to turn a blind eye on sexual harassment. The various shades of censorship that we are experiencing along with this policing of personal conduct in the name of progress is insidious but the exposure of the many Epsteins in our midst is a prize we all need to celebrate. Fortunately it is no longer expedient for schools like Harvard to harvard... I mean harbor wolves who prey on our daughters and friends.

  34. Although I am persuaded that Dr. Fryer's misconduct did happen, I find it impossible to believe that his was a singular case. Black people still face swifter and surer retaliation for the same offenses.

  35. @Fred I don't believe that's the case at a place like Harvard, which casts a wide net for faculty members who aren't white. Having found one -- and paid him $600,000 a year to show its appreciation -- I doubt Harvard would go out of its way to target the guy. That would make no sense.

  36. @John H. Harvard may not "target" non-whites, but law enforcement has shown a pattern of letting whites go for leading an "exemplary life" or just plain favoring the rich e.g., Jeff Epstein

  37. This African American man, a tenured professor in his forties should have known better. He has clearly seen similar behavior in his passage through academia but I am pretty sure that the perpetrators were not African American. Harvard is not famous for its many black male professors. He may not have heard the one about "what do you call a medical doctor with a PhD in Nuclear Science whom also sings at Carnegie Hall? Mr. Fryer got tasered and his offense is on record. He asked for it.

  38. Harvard has tried to recruit black economists, but most of their choices haven't worked out. In addition to Fryer, they had problems with Glenn Loury, a promising industrial organization economist, who was accused of beating his wife and taking drugs. He left Harvard some years ago for Brown University, and is now a re-born Christian. He hasn't been very productive as an economist.

  39. @Diogenes What does his religion have to do with it? Sheesh.

  40. @Cousy, if religion is being used as a cover or excuse for past bad actions it might be relevant.

  41. @Cousy -- For some people, religion helps them deal with their demons. Not me, but I've seen it work for some. I understand the mention here to be a claim that it did for him. Maybe it did. Or maybe not, and it is a smokescreen. It isn't good to be too cynical about it, any more than to be too trusting.

  42. I fear that the desire to attract the best and brightest, in terms of academic achievement or other public achievement, also leaves Harvard (or, really any other similar emploer) susceptible to the kind of behavioral problem that can accompany any ‘successful’ person - traits not discernible on CVs, that require the kind of background checks and interviews few, if any, will make, since it does not involve speaking with their superiors (the usual method), but rather those over whom they have power. After all, it was recently suggested that many CEOs, as an example, exhibit sociopathic tendencies, yet are celebrated for their position.

  43. Often theses best and brightest types are way off the normal distribution curve when it comes to awareness of anything other than there own needs, with their id in command of it.

  44. Good. Harvard has finally gotten serious about disciplining some of its "star" professors and staff. Fryer has been allowed to go unchallenged for at least 5 years. In the recently settled Dominguez case, the harassment went on for decades. Harvard fencing coach Peter Brand, who was fired yesterday for a bribery, had way too much autonomy which paved the way for his misdeeds. Even the Sullivan situation, which had nothing whatsoever to do with harassment but everything to do with arrogance, hubris and institutional responsibility, Harvard has done right by its students and the university community. Wrong-doers are on notice.

  45. @Cousy It seems a tad disproportional to fire a guy for bribery, yet only put this guy on administrative leave for 2 years, after which he can return to his post, not lose his pension, etc. One harassed people for a decade. The other took bribe money that benefited the university. Until Harvard's endowment returns funds obtained from people bribing their way into admission, and actually fires professors who engage in inappropriate activity, nothing will change. They'll just get more clever to cover their tracks.

  46. @Viv Peter Brand took the bribe for himself. A "donor" purchased Brand's home for 50% more than it's value during the same time that the donor's son was applying to Harvard. And make no mistake, Fryer's punishment is tantamount to firing. I predict that he will leave Harvard.

  47. @Viv This article describes why Mr. Fryer hasn't been fired-- his tenure protects him from that, and only the Harvard Corporation can revoke it, and that takes time. By contrast, fencing coaches do not qualify for tenure, so immediately firing the coach was a lot easier. It seems exceedingly unlikely that Mr. Fryer will just "return to his post, not lose his pension, etc." after two years. Make no mistake, this sort of punishment is a de facto firing.

  48. This guy is totally disgusting. Not to mention how dangerous he would be if he were drunk or just plain mad. Amazing that places like Harvard, image conscious and supposedly concerned about human respect and basic rights, keep this degenerate and other similar male offenders on active staff as long as they do. Or maybe it isn’t amazing at all.

  49. @Voter Trainees in the academic are particularly vulnerable to their professors ego and unprofessionalism, They require the guys recommendation to get to the next career level and have any real shot at success. I see this abuse often in the academic setting.

  50. Tough situation.

  51. The academics quoted in this story have PhDs. Why are they listed as Mr. and Ms.?

  52. @Amanada We economists generally don't use the title "Dr."

  53. @Amanada honestly I was thinking the SAME thing.

  54. @Amanada Unless if I am mistaken, I think the protocol is, if you are referring to the person in respect to their expertise, you use the title. If not, it is just Mr. or Ms. I think the same thing works when covering politicians. If referring to an official statement or act, you use the title. If not, they just revert to being a plain old citizen.

  55. $600,000 for doing what?

  56. Of course he questioned whether he was being picked on because of his race. When your only tool is a hammer ...

  57. @Liberty hound Begs the question, was the reason he was hired at such a young and unproven age also because of race? Diversity is a powerful card to play in academia today.

  58. @Liberty hound No one questions his competence as an economist. It was/is his behavior toward others that was the problem.

  59. The knee-jerk response today (AOC, Ilhan Omar, Cosby, R.Kelly, Jussie Smollett, etc etc) by anyone of color accused of anything is "you're accusing me because of my race." Fryer is a Harvard professor, who should know better, and even he grabbed onto that lifeboat. In this case, the woman accusing him was a POC, and specifically, African American, so it didn't fly. But what if the woman complaining had been white? Would Fryer's defense that he was being singled out because of his race have, sadly, been given more credence?

  60. @michelisa Same thing that SC Justice Clarence Thomas said.

  61. @michelisa "The knee-jerk response today (AOC, Ilhan Omar, Cosby, R.Kelly, Jussie Smollett, etc etc) by anyone of color accused of anything is "you're accusing me because of my race."" Typical right-wing baiting.

  62. @Nick Facts are wonderful. Are you really denying that people play the race card?

  63. I hope they nail him really, really well!

  64. Yeah, when someone boasts that they disproportionately fill positions in their sphere with women, watch out. They ain't likely doing it from a pure devotion to the advancement of the fair sex.

  65. @SCA So true, they are trying to manipulate and exert mind games with these women assistants and the like. I bet most of the women were also young and beautiful, otherwise he would have no desire to have them in hid cadre. I am not saying young beautiful women are not also smart, but it just works out that way, look around.

  66. @Eileen Hays And he has been his entire career as a federal judge. Want to know why? Until the past decade or so, women law clerks were like the great white buffalo. The fact that every single one of his prior clerks came to his defense during the sideshow known as his confirmation hearing diminishes whatever twisted lens you have in your brain. I for one applaud that are more women law clerks.

  67. 9 to 1 - Odds Donald Trump doesn't put out a "tweet" defending Mr Fryer.

  68. @José Franco: Trump may need a new Secretary of Labor soon. Fryer might be a perfect fit.

  69. right away,the old familiar canard of racism. instead of accepting responsibility for his actions and trying to change,he takes cover behind that divisive word. as a person who has had to take responsibility for my own actions,though not in this area, I can assure him that the best, easiest way is to admit what one has done ,take the punishment and go about changing one's life. screaming racism will accomplish nothing at all.

  70. Tucked away almost as an aside in this article is the fact that Harvard also consider financial impropriety in the lab. My experience with these academic stars who bring in millions to a university is that they are also stealing half the money in one way or another. Trivial example -- one man that I knew spent $50,000 of his grant money to buy equipment for his wife (then girlfriend) who wanted to start a career in photography and then "hired" her to take a few photos in the lab. No one questioned it. It's a complete racket but no one cares as long as they bring in the money.

  71. @JerseyGirl Right now, it is a mention of an allegation, no more.

  72. Massachusetts is at it again and poor Prof. Fryer has a Sisyphean task ahead. It is virtually impossible to defend yourself from an accusation of “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” just as it was impossible to prove that you were NOT a witch in Salem in 1692, when a complaint by an afflicted person was sufficient to convict the accused (usually a marginalized member of the community.) The magistrate in these proceedings, Prof. Claudine Gay, should clarify the infraction by also defining “welcome conduct of a sexual nature”, such as: the professor sending flowers, listening earnestly to all comments, complimenting style, fashion and hairdo.

  73. @Pary No, it's not a witch trial. I understand your comparison to the witch trial, but it is a bad comparison. Harvard conducted an evidenced based inquiry. There are text messages and third party witnesses. In addition there is a sentence about financial misconduct on a grant (another serious academic offense). An investigation, by his employer, found evidence of wrongdoing and suspended him. And unlike a witch trial, where the guilty are put to death, he's welcome to seek employment at another institution or outside academia.

  74. @Pary Thank you Allison, for explaining to Pary why his (?) comment is so misguided. Also, Pary, sending flowers and comments on physical appearance can absolutely be, in fact are likely to be, sexual harassment.

  75. @Pary Did you miss the part about the emails or texts he wrote that constituted cold, hard evidence of his sexually harassing subordinates? There may have been witnesses, or the the multiple complaints from various victims who don't know each other, may have been so similar that it is evidence that all the related incidents, in fact, occurred. Men have used your "he said/she said" rationale to avoid the consequences of their own inappropriate or threatening or assaultive behavior forever. It's time to accept that it's an illegitimate defense in the vast majority of cases. Professor Gay found that there wasn't enough evidence to prove that some of the reported incidents occurred. That's proof that it's possible to survive an accusation even if the inappropriate behavior occurred. Adult men should not have to be told how to act professionally at work. Start with keeping your sex talk to yourself. Keep your dating life separate from your work life. Don't hit on your subordinates. Are men so stupid that they can't think through the situation on their own?

  76. The fact that he used "ur" vs "you're" is disqualifying enough.

  77. An “economics laboratory”? I minored in economics without setting foot in one, but then I didn’t go to Harvard. White coats?

  78. "His Harvard salary was more than $600,000,.." at that point, it is no longer about race, but power; and he abused it.

  79. Was there a presentation of evidence, witnesses, a presumption of innocence, admission of guilt; you know, the old fashioned stuff before we became "Progressive"? It must have been a shock to Mr.Fryer to learn that his entitlement as a tenured Harvard prof, and the color of his skin did not insulate him from all this. I missed the part in this piece that discussed how the alleged victims' lives were ruined. The suspension without pay for two years and the closing of his lab is the death of Mr. Fryer's career. Wherever he goes for the rest of his life, he will live in fear that someone with whom he interacted on one day, may on the next decide that an accidental jostle in a crowd in another was sexual harassment and intimidation...even if he were in a wheelchair. This rises above the level of kangaroo court justice, it is hysterical retribution for the sake of retribution, pure and simple.

  80. @DEH Fortunately Title IX regulations don't protect only people whose lives are ruined by sexual harassment. They protect those who have been subjected to a hostile working environment based on sex. There is a lot of legal precedent and none of it defines a hostile working environment as receiving an accidental jostle in a crowd.

  81. @DEH I respectfully disagree. Mr Fryer will be alright. This is a man that understands supply and demand more than most. As we speak, he's positioning himself for his next big project. America loves a rags to riches to severance

  82. The article states that at least two investigations had taken place, substantiating more than seven of the claims. It sounds to me like due diligence was performed and the punishments were justified. No kangaroos were involved.

  83. Well, if he thinks that paying students to get good test scores is a good idea, he's probably not so much of a genius anyway.

  84. While I'm generally not a fan of Harvard's "star"-obsessed hiring practices (nor am I a fan of Mr. Fryer), I do not doubt that they have and will continue to investigate these circumstances thoroughly.

  85. I decided not to go with academia because I was told that the salaries were low. It looks like they’ve gotten a lot better since I was thinking about it.

  86. It's probably quite a bit different for untenured (or even senior tenured) faculty in the literature department. And probably lower yet once you aren't at an ivy.

  87. @Paco Harvard and Econ. Not the same in Art History at State U.

  88. I went to Harvard. It was pleasant. I was never asked to be speaker of the House, President of the University, but I enjoyed my time. I went to the museums, some with art. I would sit at the river at night and plunge into dreams of escape and ....

  89. This punishment is very odd. If Harvard has sufficient evidence, from their point of view, to justify closing down his lab and suspending him without pay for two years (thereby bringing his much lauded current research program to a grinding, and apparently permanent, halt), then why not just fire him and be done with it? Any behavior that justifies this type of sanction certainly seems like "grave misconduct or neglect of duty." To fail to fire him sends the message that the Harvard Corporation doesn't think his behavior is all that bad (or at least not all that bad for a prominent academic superstar). Tenure is supposed to protect academic freedom; it is not supposed to protect people from all consequences of their actions.

  90. @Philly Flâneuse He may get fired. The dean cannot do it, i has to go to the board. Some may depend upon what the financial audits show.

  91. @Philly Flâneuse Two reasons - optics & money.

  92. @Philly Flâneuse Paragraph 8. "Under Harvard’s rules, Ms. Gay had sole discretion over Mr. Fryer’s punishment, but could not fire him. Only the Harvard Corporation — the university’s equivalent of a board of trustees — has the authority to revoke tenure, and can do so only for “grave misconduct or neglect of duty.”

  93. Why do men that have seemingly everything--also everything to lose--resort to this kind of conduct? Young,tenured,incredible salary,recipient of the "genius" award,and this will be his legacy?

  94. @Randeep Chauhan Because no woman has ever dared to speak the truth to their faces, particularly in an unequal power situation, such as occurs in the workplace and in educational and many other setting. That woman would be digging her own professional and possibly personal grave. Harvard should just out and out fire him !!

  95. Has it been shown that anyone lost possible advancements in their career because they declined to be in Professor Fryer's presence because of things they alleged he said to them ? What we called "Salty" language may have occurred between Mr. Fryer and some of the assistants in the Lab but is that worthy of such a punishment ?

  96. Yes. Yes, it is.

  97. @John Brown did you read the article? how about the quote about using gloves if giving a hand job? think that's salty? it's not - how would you like your boss to text you while you're out with friends and recommend protection if you engage in sex? he never did this to men did he? only women - and I bet only women who he found sexually appealing

  98. @John Brown "On another occasion, according to several witnesses, Mr. Fryer put his groin near the face of a different female subordinate and began an extended monologue implying that the woman had performed fellatio on an older faculty member. Mr. Fryer told investigators that the actions had been jokes." I've worked in a lot of places and I've never seen such "salty" behavior.

  99. Some time ago, maybe 15 - 20 years ago, Harvard and the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination (MCAD) disciplined Celtic studies professor John T. Koch for sexual impropriety against a Harvard Extension School graduate student who was his teaching assistant (public record - look it up) . He lost his case, but Harvard didn't have to pay - Professor Koch had to pay a tidy some ($25,000 or so) out of his own pocket. The story doesn't end there. Koch landed a plum job for ancient/medieval Celticists at the University of Wales - Aberystwyth. Forced to leave Harvard, where he was a rising star in both the day and night programs, he ended up with an even better job for scholars in his discipline. Don't think the summation of harassment complaints means the end of a career.

  100. I work in a brand-name place where toxic and narcissistic behavior by the high-level, highly paid executives is tolerated every day. What people need to understand is that abusers don't abuse everyone. They select certain people for abuse; it's usually those that threaten them in some way, even if the perceived threat is decades younger or far less powerful. Whenever I see or hear of people standing up for abusers, I think of the classic newspaper interview with the serial killer's neighbors, where they say: "He was a nice guy. He was always nice to me."

  101. Harvard made quite a show about punishing members of single sex organizations merely for associating with others of their gender. Meanwhile a star professor is suspended but not fired for documented sexual harassment. This is the same Harvard administration fighting changes to De Vos' Title IX enforcement that would require staff and faculty to be held to the same process and standards as students. The corruption is deep here.

  102. Dr Fryer’s $600,000 salary is Exhibit One in the corruption and corporatization of “top tier” “ academic institutions” such as Harvard. Harvard has too much money sloshing around, and like any trust fund baby with more money than sense, they squander it on toys and distractions that have no academic value. Harvard today - like other “top tier” universities - is no longer a school. It’s a real estate and investment corporation devoted to its own financial engorgement, in the business of selling status and social networks to the highest bidder. A strong academic sector is vital to American democracy. But Harvard veered from its academic mission years ago, and today is more like a Goldman Sacks or a Black Rock - corrupted, compromised vultures fattening themselves on the bodies and bones of the rest of us.

  103. @Space needle Are you saying Dr. Fryer was/is not brilliant? He has a long list of awards and bona fides. Unfortunately for him, he didn't realize he could not get away with just anything.

  104. Wow professors chasing Ph.D students. Shocking.

  105. @JB Yes, this made me laugh out loud in a public place! Of course professors change Ph.D students - and MBA and undergrads! As one of my colleagues blithely said of a billionaire venture capitalist (obviously does not need the money) who teaches graduate business courses at a major university, “It’s a target-rich environment. Why would he *not* want to teach here?”

  106. @TurandotNeverSleeps Your old boys club is way out of date. Professors who "chase" undergraduates are fired as soon as the "chasing" is reported and substantiated. Likewise, sexual harassment is not tolerated at the graduate levels. There are not many ways to be fired from a tenured position, but"chasing" young women in your lab will do it. Witness the case under discussion.

  107. "He explained his “tackle, bite u or both” message as a “same-race thing” with an assistant who was black. The woman told the investigator that the comment was “not a thing that black people say to one another,” in her experience." What the heck? Saying that this is just a thing that black people say to each other and it's cool? Did he actually expect anyone to buy that?

  108. Why didn't Harvard fire professor Roland G. Fryer. A bad seed is a bad seed no matter the colour.

  109. @AM They can’t. He is tenured.

  110. They can. But the Board has to do it. Obviously, the Board didn’t think this was “grave misconduct or neglect of duty.”

  111. If proven guilty, he committed career suicide. Suspended for 2 years, lab closed, not allowed to advise or teach...is academic code for "you're done here, pal." It is unfortunate that his race is one of the salient facts. He is a brilliant scholar (relevant) at one of America's premier institutions (relevant) and he's black (so?). He also has a PhD in Econ, so I wonder why that honorific was not used?

  112. As Malcolm X said, in any field, if you are black, successful and partial to blondes, they will bring you down. The professor had no institutional allies, perhaps only resentful, jealous colleagues. They are now sipping brandy at the University Club and winking:another one bites the dust! After the Sullivan fiasco, VERITAS really?

  113. @Charles Hmm, this happens to successful white professors at Harvard too .........

  114. I guess sometimes in economics brother: that that thing can get as hard as japanese arithmetic...you be having no control..your mission now is stay away from that first drink, because it is destined to get you drunk.

  115. That some complaints were not substantiated in this context does not mean that the complains weren't legitimate, only that there wasn't enough evidence to prove the allegation. It's to be expected when there are numerous allegations, that some would be not substantiated. How can any man think that sticking his groin in a woman's face, is not sexual harassment. Many women have endured inappropriate statements of a sexual nature, having their shoulders "massaged" with the man's fingers drifting further downward toward her breasts, or hugged really tightly. But the whole groin-to-face move, naked as Kavanaugh did or clothed as Fryer did, seems really stupid. Also, bragging that you've given many women the opportunity to work for you, is no different than a drunk buying a bar.

  116. I worked for the EEOC for over 30 years and prosecuted hundreds of sexual harassment cases. Non of these allegations rise to the level of sexual harassment under Federal Law.

  117. @Ronald Arrington, I beg to differ. Pushing one's groin into the face of an unwilling woman is not allowed and is explicitly sexual in nature. He should end up terminated for this type of unprofessional and sexually directed conduct. Period!

  118. Pushing sexual revolution and "morality " at the same time. Smh!

  119. @Ronald Arrington "put his groin near the face of a different female subordinate and began an extended monologue implying that the woman had performed fellatio on an older faculty member. Mr. Fryer told investigators that the actions had been jokes." I doubt that there is a single woman anywhere who wants to go to work one day and experience this treatment from a boss. Whatever the technical definition of "sexual harassment" that you used may have been, this behavior is inexcusable

  120. What happens to the other staff associated with the lab, which (according to its web site) currently includes three women? Collateral damage? I hope not. I hope the Times will report.

  121. I just read the 2018 nyt article linked in this article which has more details of his conduct. I think he needs emotional help through therapy.

  122. Paying students to get good test scores is a horrible idea. I taught my children to study hard and achieve because learning and knowledge are necessary to a fulfilling and awakened life. No loss having his research shut down.

  123. @W Smith Agreed. Once the money stops flowing, the good grades may not continue...

  124. @W Smith Why? I think it's a illusion of the love of education that clouds the mind. Humans work on incentives, whether it's a approving nod of a proud father that their son or daughter is getting straight A's or earning money to buy a pair of shoes that they couldn't otherwise afford (hopefully they invest their earnings) it's the same thing. A scholarship in and of itself is a form of payment for academic work. In fact many scholarships have continual merit attached to them whereby a students GPA can't fall below a certain threshold. If that's not payment I don't know what is. All of these instances are just carrots to get someone motivated to maximize their potential. I wish we lived in a world where self motivation thrived because of a natural affinity for knowledge, but with countervailing winds there are so many options that lead to distraction ala instagram. Paying students for grades is one of the best investments society can make, I don't care whether a student learned how to code in python because they loved the language or they made 25k to do so. Either way they are better off because they have knowledge that will get them a six figure job. The working world is about skill acquisition. The off time is about inner self improvement. And if you think I'm crass ask any 25 year old humanities student who has a 100k in loans because of their thirst for knowledge, whether they would accept money to learn python or not.

  125. @Johnson "I think it's a illusion of the love of education that clouds the mind." You were cheated. Get a refund.

  126. As an alumna of Harvard Divinity School in the 1970s I was aware of harassing behavior in an era when there was little recourse. I've observed the University develop explicit policies and enforce them, including removing Dean Thiemann in the 1990s from his leadership role. https://www.nytimes.com/1999/05/20/us/pornography-cited-in-ouster-at-harvard.html I am thankful for the policies and implementation which protect the more exploitable from those who wield power for personal gratification.

  127. I think the Harvard Dean is being rather generous in not revoking tenure. I am aware of a case at Harvard where a senior professor "left" to take a job at another institution to avoid public disclosure of their conduct and another case where a graduate student was removed from their PhD thesis lab and placed in another to nip in the bud further misconduct. Harvard usually handles faculty misconduct of this nature in this way ie quietly before it blows up. It is unfortunate that Professor Fryer overstepped professional boundaries - he should have known better.

  128. Harvard is doing the right thing in response to reprehensible and inexcusable behavior. I have been a professional since 1974, inside and outside academia (including Ivy League universities). Neither I nor any of my colleagues would ever do or say anything like these credible allegations. Men and women of all ages, races, and ethnic origins have a right to work in an environment free of such harassment. This is especially true in a prestigious Ivy League institution.

  129. @BrooklineTom You're right that it's reprehensible and inexcusable. But wrong about where and how often it occurs. And I dare say that you're almost certainly wrong that you don't know men who have been guilty. Ask most any woman. Men tend to forget this behavior when it is theirs or that of other men they know, because, to them, it is inconsequential -- "just a joke," as Mr Fryer has tried to excuse some of his. It's not inconsequential for women. They don't forget. There's plenty of this kind of behavior inside and outside the Ivory Tower. Academics are just not that exceptional.

  130. @RRI I have worked with men who are professional, brilliant and gentlemanly. They exist and are much more numerous than the creeps. That said, there is plenty of bad behavior and it crosses all classes and professions.

  131. @RRI: Of course there are creeps, this piece is about one. The point of my comment is to refute the contention that Mr. Fryer was singled out because of his race, with the implication that "everybody does it". Mr. Freyer was "singled" out because several victims made credible accusations that he committed serious crimes.

  132. Couple stories like this with the college admissions scandals, student cheating scandals and other stories that indicate weak or atrophied cultures at supposed elite institutions and the college rankings are exposed for the frauds that they are.

  133. When will people learn the very simple rule that you don't mix work and attempts at romance? Keep your professional setting professional, period. And yes, that will mean missing out on potentially great partners, but on the flip side you don't create a hostile work environment for whoever is on the receiving end of the advances and didn't want them.

  134. @Dave 1. We are told never to date a co-worker. 2. We hear beautiful stories of happy couples who met at work. I'm confused.

  135. Now race can be tossed in, along with religion and patriotism as the last refuge of scoundrels. What is worse is that it casts doubt on victims of true racism. Shame, Mr. Fryer. You betray those whose veracity needs all our support.

  136. Somehow these cases only seem to come against minority, Jewish, or conservative men.

  137. Yeah, white males are never accused of sexual harassment. Never. Really - never.

  138. @Michael Livingston’s That is not true. There are bona fide liberals in the harassment community.

  139. Why the pretext "Afro-American"? Harvard has shown the rare ability to step in it.

  140. Abusers out.

  141. Something doesn’t quite makes sense to a no-genius reader. So let’s see, “it was “improbable” that the economist would grant an interview to The New York Times.” But Mr. Casselman and Mr. Tankersley, two economists, wrote a very comprehensive article defending Mr. Fryer, and published it in the NYT. Smart move, Mr. Fryer gets to claim injustice, keep on teaching while Harvard’s investigation into the matter, on behalf of the victims of Mr. Fryer, are presented to the court of public opinion as flawed. Somewhere the humiliation of victims get lost, and Mr.Fryer becomes the victim of an unfair system, not of his own arrogance and sense of entitlement. I guess it pays to be perceived as a prima donna in your field.

  142. How many times do men who sexually harass or assault women point to the ones they don't assault as evidence of their innocence? Even the president claims that his alleged rape victim couldn't have been his victim. Not because he's innocent, but because "she's not my type." On an unrelated note, that $600,00 salary is why adjuncts making $2,500 a course are teaching over 60% of our students.

  143. Jewish law rules out sexual relations with people other than one's spouse. Christian love includes everyone, no such trifling personal or professional distinctions, or ethical or legal restrictions, allowed. So what's the problem?

  144. @Michael L Hays Is that supposed to be sarcasm? Christian love is Agape, not orgiastic.

  145. @Barbara, yes, sarcastic. But agape does not have much effect, does it? Not sarcastic.

  146. “Mr. Fryer said he was wrong to have allowed off-color jokes in the lab, and apologized ‘if anyone who worked at the lab ever felt alienated, confused or offended by the environment.’” Get the apologies right, forpetesake. It’s not like we haven’t had practice at this. Google can assist you with examples of good apologies. Apologize for your behavior, which is was poor and damaging. Do not qualify it with “if you took offense.” That’s a weasel, denying accountability. As for women succeeding in the lab: women, like other minority populations in a given environment, can be resilient. There is work to do. Harassment makes the environment unfriendly and stressful, but some women and BIPOC can work through it successfully—they’re that good. This fact does not preclude the presence of harassment, pain, fear, rage.

  147. Boundary issues. Dude needs a suspension and counseling. This response seems disproportionate.

  148. Why is he not fired and only suspended? He is a predator.

  149. @Lewis. Apparently only the board can fire him, not his supervisor, who has suspended him. The board can still act and may fire him.

  150. The behavior by Professor Fryer was appalling! This is a very just sentence.

  151. So is Harvard assuming that in 2 years Fryer will be miraculously cured of his sexual predation? On what research are they basing this assumption? Are they creating a special fund to cover the lawsuits should he be welcomed back to predate on the vulnerable once again, with Harvard's full cooperation? Hope they're sitting on a pile of cash. They're going to need it.

  152. @DMS -- yes they do. I don't think people like Fryer can be "fixed". Can they be castrated? Probably not legal but criminals like him need to be put away for good. They only hurt the most vulnerable.

  153. @DMS “sexual predation”? i think the guy should be disciplined, but there is certainly a difference between the epsteins of the world (a real predator) and a professor who makes off color jokes and clumsy passes at his subordinates.

  154. We put Justice Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court after identical behavior. Either impeach him or rescind the suspension.

  155. @Jack It would be harder to get rid of Thomas than Fryer, obviously. However, if we say "gee Clarence Thomas got away with it" (as does Trump), therefore we can never punish anyone, anywhere for sexual harassment. That idea doesn't fly.

  156. @Jack Thomas was accused of sexual harassment, but his accuser was not widely believed. There was no evidence whatsoever against him. God help us if we really reach the point of guilt-by-accusation. Presumption of innocence is integral to a democracy.

  157. With so little information, it’s hard to know what to say, but it seems to me that Harvard overreacted.

  158. @Kevin Cahill You've obviously never experienced a truly hostile work environment. Some bosses are perhaps unaware they are being gross, think they're funny, or don't recognize the effect of a power differential. Co-workers with less status still need their jobs so keep their mouths shut. Those who are harassed never know when the next putdown or sexual innuendo will be lobbed in their direction or towards a co-worker. People have to walk on egg shells in such environments.

  159. Who has so little information, exactly? Those who read the piece have quite a bit.

  160. Our collective worship of "celebrity" goes to people's heads, including academics'. It's telling that Reality TV is little but people made famous for behaving badly, vying to do so in the most childish, self-aggrandizing ways. And in affirmation of the howling emptiness of our own lives and eviscerated sense of community, we've elected one of its stars President. Streaming media is worse, with the flimsy checks of broadcast and cable stripped away. Some men are simply aggressive and predatory from the get go, but if we tamped down our ritual adulation of "being well-known," fewer would be tempted to think the rules don't apply to them.

  161. I am assuming there were many people working at his lab, from administrators, to students, and other faculties. Why are they also being punished?

  162. I realized when I began reading that punishing Fryer results in punishing an entire department which, as Ms. Devi notes, will be closed for four years! Shouldn't there be a better way? Harvard could appoint an interim director to keep the lab open. It seems highly unfair to the other academic personnel.

  163. The salary of over $600k is ridiculously high for someone who is a tenured professor, even at Harvard. And then he engages in this type of behavior? Knowing the economics profession ( - I am one myself), he will probably see it as an opportunity to jump ship and get even more money at MIT or UCLA or somewhere else that is willing to offer him more money, and the problem is that other schools will probably be willing to ignore the problems and hire this guy. It just reflects the sad state of our profession these days.

  164. The fact that he is black has no bearing whatsoever on his alleged conduct.

  165. So it seems maybe another example that a just absolute genius can be stupid dumb. How many years are we into the 21st century now? And he just did not get the memo. Any of them? And an academic no less, not that private sector employees should be considered differently, but I would think harvard employees just might be early adopters of what is ok and what is not ok. Apparently not, at least in this case. The good news here, and it is good news, is front page NYT can be considered a major memo. Lose yr 600k job, yr healthcare, yr career, and be publicly humiliated, and maybe, just maybe, some other idiot will read the article and think, well, gee, I guess next time I just have something oh so clever and funny that a women would really appreciate to hear, and that the women needs to hear it, from me, now, they will just keep their stupid mouth shut. This would be progress. It would be nice if people did not behave this way from some sort of intrinsic base line of humanity, but for those who just don't get it, punishment works.

  166. And maybe (just maybe) that dude will think twice before he hires a woman for that job.

  167. If you can't control your sexual urges you ought to be suspended and avoided. No one likes a sexual predator. Race doesn't matter.

  168. Sex is the wild card in everything.

  169. "He explained his “tackle, bite u or both” message as a “same-race thing” with an assistant who was black. The woman told the investigator that the comment was “not a thing that black people say to one another,” in her experience." Yeah, been black all my life. Never heard that, once. Nice try, dude. But that's not a thing.

  170. @Josie, nice how he wants folks to believe harassing a woman was okay because she was black—and would either “understand” or be cool with it. Ugh.

  171. This is a terrible situation and all self-created. What was he thinking? He may have a point though about emails from other Harvard professors that his attorneys would pursue if he were fired. A few points: "... asking if he was being singled out for his skin color, though some of the accusers were minority women...." Really? What does the race (I have no idea what "minority women" are though) of the accusers have to do with the actions of the accused? I don't know what answer Harvard gave but NYT's analysis of this question makes little sense. Do better NYT. Re the "same race thing," why didn't Harvard just say it is inappropriate language for the workplace regardless of who is party to the conversation? Asking another black person to confirm or deny the clumsy comment is a "black thing" is silly.

  172. I'm sure Harvard delayed action, since this behavior went on for over a decade, because they did not want to be accused of racism...the typical accusation when all others fail! Mr. Fryer's behavior was disgusting and his punishment is just. But, I'm sure he can always get a spot on CNN. They'll hire anyone!

  173. What a generation! Our universities are in some sort incubators of all kinds of sexual vices and deviances. Pushing sexual revolution and "morality" at the same time. At least they were not able to punish your brain.

  174. Just the few texts by Fryer quoted in the article made my skin crawl. One wonders what else was related to the authorities by the women who were harassed. These sorts of unwanted comments and sexual innuendo are completely unacceptable in the workplace or a university setting. These were jokes? Are you kidding me? Harvard made the right choice here. We can assume the case was very strong to take decisive action against a star researcher who is also African American.

  175. Seems like the “Harvard Corporation” should do the right thing and fire this predator. Then he can seek public office as a member of the GOP.

  176. @Joe Bill Clinton is a Democrat, not a Republican.

  177. So you criticize china for blocking access, and you just did the same thing to me. That's hypocritical. At least at the WashingtonPost, there is no censure!

  178. @DavidKenania But WaPo costs more for a monthly on-line subscription.

  179. Sexual or sexy comments have NO place in the workplace. Everyone should be required to write that 50 times at about age 14.

  180. Sexual harassment is endemic to academia. Summer camp, even. Orchestra camp. I'm an an alum of both, and have first hand experience with professors at Berkeley, Chicago, Harvard, UCSD, Max Planck Institute. It is interesting that those singled out are so predominantly Jewish, and now African-American; but it's also intuitively very obvious that turning in a non-white perp is much less intimidating, for multiple reasons, not least that the investigation is more likely to go forward when that perp is not a WASP.

  181. This is just another version of lynching a black man.

  182. And yet Dershowitz, a Harvard professor who defends a convicted pedophile, maintains his rank at the same institution One rule for blacks, one for whites And other one for whites with friends in high places

  183. @Chicago Paul, Every accused person no matter how reprehensible the offense is entitled to the most effective defense that is ethically possible. The attorney providing that defense neither endorses or engages in the conduct of their client. John Adams successfully defended the British soldiers who massacred eight Americans in Boston, yet Americans in those does had the wisdom and insight to elect him president. I can scarcely believe I even have to explain this.

  184. @Charles Becker Bravo! Excellent response.

  185. @Chicago Paul yep

  186. Another one bites the dust....

  187. Will you men ever get it? We women do not want to be harassed, assaulted, touched, demeaned, disrespected, crudely teased, or hear your disgusting stories about porn or sex. We do not want to be raped. When you are at work, men, STOP bothering us. Stop telling sexual jokes that make us think you're disgusting. Stop trying to hint you'd like to have an affair or one night stand. Stop vaguely or overtly threatening women that they won't get promoted or a job anywhere else unless we bend to your perversion. Stop making work awful. Stop promoting men who look as white as you while ignoring everyone else. Stop being racist and sexist and dangerous and gross. Yes, stop being gross. This entitlement is appalling. The language Fryer used with women, the language other men in businesses/corporations often use is sick. We don't want to hear it. It's all about you and your egos and getting what you want. TRY TO UNDERSTAND THIS, MEN: Stop bothering us. Really, we mean it. If you don't, we now have a platform. We have court cases pending. We have lawsuits. We have settlements. We have Facebook. We have more protections. Put all caveman tendencies aside and act like grown up men, like we women have had to act like grown up women forever. Be polite. Be fair. Be respectful. And keep your hairy paws and your stupid comments to yourself. And for you men who see caveman like behavior going on and participate in it or look away, shame on you. Man up. Grow up.

  188. I would like to know if any of Dr. Fryer’s accusers at any time told him they felt uncomfortable with the way he talked to them, or told him that he was breaking boundaries, or asked him to stop. What if women in the workplace confronted their offenders directly first and that solved the problem? What if we all did that with each other all the time? The behavior described here is puerile but there is no reason to think that Dr. Fryer intended to offend anyone. He’s Proof that you can be a genius in economics and still have a cheesey sense of humor. I don’t think the current crusade is going to further parity in the workplace or academia. The logical conclusion might be that men and women can’t be in the workplace together after all. That can’t be right. We all have a lot to learn. It’s unfair.

  189. @Ms. Rix This reply shows little understanding of just how institutionalized, deep seated, and prevalent sexism, sexual harassment, and discrimination are. The professor is a genius and your boss in the lab. Would you feel confidant to question his behavior without fear of reprisal. I agree with Katie that both men and women often don't get just how deeply this kind of stuff is woven into the fabric of our society.

  190. @Rebecca Hogan Honestly, I would have no problem telling anyone to stop. But I have come to realize that I have an enormously high threshold for what is now called abuse. None of the stuff in this article would get to me. I can’t say it never happened to me because it might have and I didn’t notice.

  191. Another black man, another lynching.

  192. Please. He created his mess.

  193. "Only the Harvard Corporation — the university’s equivalent of a board of trustees — has the authority to revoke tenure, and can do so only for “grave misconduct or neglect of duty.” I'm not sure why the accused's actions do not constitute grave misconduct and/or neglect of duty. Unfortunately, like some other recent high-profile cases, this economics professor would have to have ctually killed one of his co-workers (and possibly others) to get his tenure revoked; tantamount to being fired. The patter of behavior, as described in the article, cannot be considered "jokes," and only serve as a not-so-gentle reminder that the best way to eradicate sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation is for law enforcement, corporations, and institutions to be aggressive in investigating it (which Harvard ostensibly has done) AND then aggressively prosecuting it (which Harvard ostensibly has not done). As the recently publicized furor over the past plea deal for Jeffrey Epstein has revealed, leaving predators and manipulators to the "tender mercies" of prosecutors looking to beef-up their "conviction" rates through plea deals has failed miserably. The reaction of associates of Prof. Fryer is puzzling and troubling -- they seem more upset at Harvard and losing their positions rather than expressing outrage over the good Prof.'s poor judgment and bad behavior and lending sympathy and support to the victims. NYT -- Prof. Fryer's race should not have been an issue, but you made it one.

  194. I don’t think punishment has to be severe to make a point. I think it’s a good decision.

  195. Fryer was lost a long time ago. Read the 2005 New York Times magazine cover story. Self-hatred will get you every time. None of this is a surprise.

  196. The guy doesn't come off as a cool person from what I see here. I just hope that it wan't handled like one of those investigations of police killings of black people; where, in the very rare occasion they find the cops to account for their killings, they always happen to be black cops, just like the one black cop they have found to be guilty of murder in my state of Minnesota.

  197. @Daniel Solomon That’s my concern too... just read all the pile-on comments.

  198. What about the despicable Alan Dershowitz?

  199. @Patrick McGowan What makes him "despicable"? Because a woman recently made provably false allegations about him? The same woman made false allegations about a large number of public figures. We know her claims are untrue.

  200. How long with it take to clean up the work place?

  201. As a professional economist, I never have actually heard of Roland G. Fryer. I am of course familiar with imminent economists. After 2 years a sexual predator will be on the Harvard faculty once again?

  202. @David -- Yes, but are you familiar with eminent economists? In any case, Prof. Fryer has been offensive to women to be sure, but is hardly a predator. Would you really put him in the same class as vermin like Jeffrey Epstein?

  203. @David - eminent. Not "imminent."

  204. @David, i think calling him a sexual predator is quite a gross overstatement, let's save that term for more appropriate situations

  205. He may be book smart but he's certainly dumb when it comes to women.

  206. By ceasing his research, Harvard is punishing the world. Let him continue his work. Cut his salary 90% to $5000 per month.

  207. All males, when we are little boys, quickly discover that little girls are easily grossed out by things and actions boys do not consider problematic. Almost all of our teachers are female and they are easily grossed out as well, and it makes it easy to get their attention. Most of us outgrow this but too many men do not so we have the current situation. Maybe we should create 'safe spaces' for men to be gross without offending females.

  208. @disappointed The remarks made by males that offend females would not be made by a male speaking with another male. Would a male position his groin close to the face of another male? No. Would a male make a reference to wearing gloves if you will be using your hands be made from one male to another male? No. The mid-20th Century position of saying males joke with one another in a way that females find offensive does not play these days. I know many educated men who do not find sexually charged jokes funny. They do not entertain themselves with sexually charged comments in the faculty break room at work. That’s because they are mature. They take their sexual comments out into their leisure lives, if at all. “Little boys” are socialized to behave in situationally appropriate ways. As are “little girls.”

  209. Not exactly a case of the revolution devouring its own children. ' Fryer grew up in Lewisville, Texas, where he had moved with his abusive father at the age of 4'. wiki goes on from there listing his many accomplishments, including 'joining the Honors College, whose dean helped find him an academic scholarship.[2] He graduated magna cum laude in 1998 after two and a half years while holding down a full-time job.[3] Fryer completed his Ph.D. in economics from Penn State in 2002'. Now it appears the bloom is off the rose. No training on managing the work of subordinates perhaps; insufficient experience with women outside the workplace? No mama's around to encourage growth, even at Harvard? Truth and reconciliation work has not caught on. Maybe it's just as well for him, out of the meat grinder. He might be well enough established to live an independent life with peace of mind in view. Godspeed Mr. Fryer.

  210. Always hard to know how the victimhood competition will work out....

  211. Roland needs to sue Harvard for big money for racism — he can cash in with some nice money

  212. @Mike So, are you saying that a white male doing what he did would have been given a pass on his behavior? No way. Playing the race card in this situation is a cowards play.

  213. So, if these allegations prove true and he does not have his tenure revoked, it goes to show that maybe murdering one of your students really is the only grounds for dismissal. We used to think that was a joke, but now it appears to be reality.

  214. Enough! You cant say this you cant say that. You cant joke if you are a man in a business environment or on a campus. Sensitivity yes, its important and crucial, yet this coupled with the Harvard Professor who is on the Weinstein Team is getting to be the norm for a lot of women and its to the point of what do they want. And their words are meaningless since they don't seem to have respect for many of the men they are targeting. Do they want silence or not to be looked at. Then they'll say they are being ignored. Enough.

  215. @heather, women want a professional workplace where they can do their job without being treated like meat. You know, where they are treated with respect as equals.

  216. What a shame that a brilliant man of color who was at the top of his field has lost his job because apparently he learned nothing at the sexual discrimination and sensitivity training that all faculty at all universities must take. While I hope he can be rehabilitated, I doubt that his career ever recovers from his unchecked sexual proclivities.

  217. This is an example of how dysfunctional males who are high achievers attempt to take advantage of their high status positions in the workplace to act out sexually with impunity. Because he is a person of color does not excuse this acting out. All these sexual references in communications with females is arrested development. It is behavior we see in 14 year old young men but society expects a man in his 40’s to have been socialized to understand that adult men do not behave this way. It is not acceptable. He plays that frayed old race card in an attempt to write his own rules. Sexual talk is inappropriate in a lab or office or classroom. Period. Males like this are simply frozen in 8th grade. This is the challenge of narcissistic personalities. They find it impossible to display empathy. He needs to work in an all male environment. But he would be so miserable there. With no females to insult, what would be his motivation to leave home for work every day.

  218. @CWK, yep. A lot of these guys are still furious they didn't get to date the homecoming queen, even though they would never ever date a female geek. Once they get power, they want to make all women pay.

  219. "On another occasion, according to several witnesses, Mr. Fryer put his groin near the face of a different female subordinate and began an extended monologue implying that the woman had performed fellatio on an older faculty member. Mr. Fryer told investigators that the actions had been jokes." It's simple: If you wouldn't do it in front of your mother, it's not a "joke."

  220. Why the NYT has made this about race is incomprehensible. If anything, Harvard seems to have been extremely hesitant to do anything about disciplining Fryer, despite multiple allegations. If sexual harassment is to be considered unacceptable in the workplace, that standard has to apply to everyone.

  221. Tragic! And so many contradictions here. I wish I could talk to Fryer to see what was really going on in his head around these harassment encounters. The intriguing paradox here is found in your 2005 report on Fryer which notes that his “belief in the power of environment” has driven some of his most ambitious research. It is difficult (but possible; it takes continuous work) to unburden oneself of the consequences of the trauma experienced and the cultural norms developed during the formative years of youth. I have seen it before although the spectacular nature of Fryer’s rise and fall is perhaps unique. Fryer’s Road-to-Demascus moment did not seem to fully untether him from the culture of his youth. Your 2005 report by Stephen Dubner, “Toward a Unified Theory of Black America” https://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/20/magazine/toward-a-unified-theory-of-black-america.html provides haunting poignant context for the current report.

  222. I am not defending Mr. Fryer. But, it's a damn shame when a leading economist doing so much good for race and gender-related injustice is totally halted after making a few unsavory remarks. Yes, they were crude. But, from what I can see, no physical contact was made, and no messages were directly sexual or revealing (pictures). Yes, this is unprofessional conduct, but they look to me more like heat-of-the-moment messages that perhaps shouldn't have been sent; not gross sexual misconduct. Again, I may not have all the facts. But I think that calling this sexual misconduct totally desensitizes us to what that really is; I think this should be left as "professional misconduct". After all, our president said to "grab women by the pussy" and for some reason, enough people still voted for him to elect him. Now we have the leading black economist, someone who does a lot of good for the country, sends a weird text message and then gets blasted nationally and loses his lab? This should have been mediated internally.

  223. "Yes, this is unprofessional conduct..." You answered your own rationalization. How is this behavior productive in any way whatsoever? What does it have to do with the work at hand? And how many women did Fryer put in career purgatory because they wouldn't put up with this. It's not a matter of a few crude remarks--it is constant, ongoing disrespect and disruption of a workplace.

  224. I fail to see how his race is in any way relevant to the discussion. If he engaged in conduct that "exhibited a pattern of behavior that failed to meet the expectations of conduct within our community and was harmful to the well-being of its members,” then he deserves the punishment; if he did not then he does not. The fact that he is African-American does not enter into it and seems to me to be an obvious attempt to gain sympathy rather than answering the charges.

  225. All these commentators bemoaning the fate of this "brilliant" scholar. Relax folks! I've seen him present and have had read his research. He's not brilliant and his research is not game changing in the least.