The Harvey Weinstein phenomenon is exposing the University system as a pool of sleaze.
No, the Harvey Weinstein phenomenon is not happening everywhere. It is happening most where there is unaccountable power and a supply of eager, young, pretty people (I’d write “women” but we must not forget people like Kevin Spacey). Celebrity cultures are where you tend to find that combination, like show business or politics. But there is also the culture of academia:
In late October, William V. Harris, a noted professor of Greco-Roman history at Columbia University, stepped down from his 50-year teaching career at the Ivy League school. His departure came amid accusations in a federal lawsuit that he’d groped a graduate student and pressured her for sex.
Around the same time, officials at Dartmouth College and the New Hampshire attorney general’s office announced that three tenured professors in the school’s psychological and brain sciences department were targets of a criminal investigation into “sexual misconduct” charges dating back to 2002.
In the wake of numerous allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct leveled at Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and a multitude of other news and media personalities, academics from Boston to Berkeley have come under increasing scrutiny for their own dalliances and inappropriate behavior toward students and underlings.
“The dynamic we are hearing about at large is absolutely at play in higher education,” Anne Hedgepeth, vice president of public policy and government relations at the American Association of University Women (AAUW), told Fox News. With power over grad students and assistants, she said, professors “are the gateway to many people’s futures.”
It’s hard to pin down precisely how prevalent sexual harassment and assault by academics is, given that many victims have not reported the crimes for fear of being shamed or professionally ostracized. Nonetheless, current research suggests that sexual harassment is an open secret on campuses across the country.
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