Choosing non-creepiness

Posted: April 29, 2011 by Jender in sexual harassment

I am a female grad student finishing up my second year. I was just reading another story on the blog, The Creep Factor, and realized that I had a remarkably similar experience while trying to decide between graduate schools. I was accepted to a range of programs, in terms of rank, funding, size, etc. I was trying to decide between three, each of which had one or two professors who specialized in my area, and each of which seemed, on paper, to be a good choice.
I eventually decided against one program because both of the profs who I might have worked with had a bad reputation with women (I heard stories about them veering into the sexual harassment range). I made my final decision in favor of my current program because I had heard that the prof I was interested in working with, as well as the department as a whole, was exceptionally non-creepy towards women grad students. I should add that this doesn’t mean that there wasn’t someone I was warned about — he just works in an area in which I have no interest.
I ended up at the lowest ranked and worst funded institution of the three. While I am very happy with the department and with my advisor, and I feel I made the right choice with respect to my philosophical education in general, it saddens me that 1) my choice was influenced by these factors at all and 2) another student in a similar situation might have to make the same choice, but without the fortuitous alignment of their philosophical well-being and their personal well-being and safety.

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