Progress in dealing with sexual harassment (1)

Posted: June 11, 2013 by Jender in Good news, sexual harassment

This isn’t quite the kind of story the last post is looking for–but it is a story about sexual harassment being taken seriously by individual philosophers.

One of my professors has a standing policy that he could not in good conscience recommend some one for a teaching position if they sexually harass their colleagues, or otherwise significantly contribute to creating a hostile environment. If someone would like a recommendation letter from this professor, they should expect to have a serious conversation with him about equity issues and pedagogy.

Another of my professors has a standing policy that if multiple students make it known to him that a particular student makes them uncomfortable (by, e.g., hitting on them, regularly making sexist remarks, etc.), the offending student will not be allowed to participate in activities organized by this professor (reading groups, conferences, etc.) until the offending student is able to reconcile themselves with those they have offended.

These are relatively easy steps that individuals can take to start changing the norms of our discipline–and they are steps that have meant the world to me. Knowing that these senior, well-respected, excellent philosophers take equity issues seriously, has given me a lot of hope for the future of our discipline.

I would highly recommend that others start adopting similar policies, and make it known that they are doing so.

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