Saturday, January 23, 2016

Victims of Harassment In Universities Speak Out

Sexual harassment and victimization is not limited to any particular job, field, or profession. It is not always addressed, adjudicated and remedied in a court of law.

Recently, the prominent science journal Nature published a story about the testimony of a female scientific researcher who was harassed by a senior male colleague. Unfortunately, her story was not the first report of this kind: universities and research institutions have internally investigated and adjudicated reports of sexual or gender-based harassment for years now.

Just last week, for instance, an astrophysicist at Caltech was suspended for one year without pay for gender-based harassment. Last year, an astronomer at UC-Berkeley resigned in infamy after the university merely admonished him for committing harassing behavior against colleagues for years. 

Advocates from within and without the academy have voiced support for victims of gender or sexual harassment, particularly in the sciences, a traditionally male-dominant profession.

Faculty, researchers, students, staff and other professionals on university campuses are entitled to protection from sexual or gender discrimination and harassment under Title IX of the federal Education Amendments of 1972.

Complaints filed under Title IX are internally investigated by university officials. If the allegations of the complaint are substantiated, then the university will ordinarily adjudicate the complaint through its own hearings process and decide what if any discipline should be imposed.

Speaking out about one’s experience as a victim—regardless of field or profession—can be daunting and intimidating. If you or someone you know is experiencing or concerned about their victimization, it may help to speak with an advocate.

Katie Walsh is an attorney in Southern California who focuses on victim’s rights and criminal law.

Contact the Law Offices of Katie Walsh at 714-619-9355 to learn how Attorney Walsh may be able to guide, assist, or represent you.

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