A Test Case for Sexual Harassment

October 20, 2014 / Phil Lesch

The Chronicle of Higher Education
October 20th, 2014

Philosophy professors at the University of Colorado’s flagship campus here thought they were taking a bold step.

They wanted to help solve their field’s longstanding problems over the treatment of women and find ways to improve the climate on their own campus.

But instead, the philosophy department’s decision to invite an outside review has left it struggling to survive after the investigators concluded it was rife with "inappropriate, sexualized unprofessional behavior."

In the last year, administrators have removed the department’s chairman, halted graduate admissions in the field, moved to fire a tenured professor, suspended two others, and opened an investigation into yet one more.

As a result, Boulder has become emblematic of everything that’s wrong with philosophy departments today and of a discipline whose levels of incivility, critics charge, make it unwelcoming to women.

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