Protecting a serial harasser

Posted: November 5, 2011 by jennysaul in harassment, sexual harassment

My department houses a distinguished sexual harasser who is relentless in his retaliation if confronted about his behavior. I have have witnessed and experienced his harassment first-hand and have heard numerous female gradate students tell of his hitting on them, even sticking his tongue down one’s throat at a party. His inappropriate behavior extends to staff and undergraduate students as well.

There exists a clear university policy stating that such behavior will not be tolerated and there also exist the trappings of procedure for reporting. However, because of the protection that tenure and stature in the field afford him, there is no true recourse and anyone who lodges a complaint becomes a target for a relentless and insidious defamation campaign.

When I approached my current chair to explain that this man’s endless complaints about me proceeded from past sexual harassment, he explained that the harasser’s professional reputation was an asset to the department and therefore a certain amount of collateral damage was acceptable.

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