Same old story

Posted: August 5, 2013 by jennysaul in sexual harassment

I just read the piece about the philosopher in Miami. It is an old, old story. I was a graduate student in philosophy at [University of X] from 1961-63, at which time I left the school, having been chased around the desk and propositioned by a now-long-deceased philosopher. I went home for a weekend to explain the situation to my father and obtain advice. He told me to go back and inform the philosopher that I would detail the situation to the President of the University. I did so. The philosopher’s response? He laughed. He pointed out that he was a valued faculty member whereas I was a lowly graduate student (though I did have a Du Pont Fellowship and was doing research for my dissertation). There seemed no solution but to quit. I loved philosophy, including analytic philosophy, including the arguments, including the times when I was on the losing (but plucky!) side. I also wanted to write, and maybe if I’d stuck with philosophy I wouldn’t have got around to writing. I often deal with philosophical questions or issues in my writing, and I love to write, so I’m not crying about what happened to me. But I am sad to learn that other women have been dealing with sexism and professors who prey on them, or try to. Such behavior is, or should be, archaic by now. I’m startled to learn that it isn’t.

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