All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain…and Krauss wept and released a dove


Buzzfeed has published a summary of the investigation by ASU into Lawrence Krauss’s behavior. You can read all the details there, but in summary of a summary…

Commenting on these incidents, Searle wrote: “It is inconceivable how a faculty member in the course of carrying out his work responsibilities could believe that the conduct would ever be appropriate.”

Searle described how Krauss discussed strip clubs with employees, encouraged staff to view fan mails including nude photos, and showed them a cartoon of a person bent over with their pants down, revealing their bare buttocks.

The report also described how Krauss and an employee, whose name is redacted, “engaged in conduct towards one another — hugging, touching, kissing — in the presence of staff, giving the impression they were involved in an intimate relationship.” Krauss and the employee denied there was an intimate relationship, and that the interactions were “a form of greeting.”

University investigators concluded that Krauss’s comments “created an offensive environment for some staff members.” Searle agreed that Krauss “was unprofessional and failed as a leader by contributing to and permitting his employees to engage in this behavior and create this type of environment.”

By voluntarily retiring, he has cunningly arranged to have the whole report tossed in a metaphorical trash can, to be ignored forever. He can now go on tour claiming that he was exonerated, because the findings were abandoned and never acted on.

No one can ever claim that Krauss isn’t an intelligent man.

Comments

  1. lumipuna says

    By voluntarily retiring, he has cunningly arranged to have the whole report tossed in a metaphorical trash can, to be ignored forever. He can now go on tour claiming that he was exonerated, because the findings were abandoned and never acted on.

    Or he can sue the university for tarring his reputation with an investigation that was never concluded…

  2. leerudolph says

    Krauss and the employee denied there was an intimate relationship, and that the interactions were “a form of greeting.”

    I take it that the author of this summary summary did not mean the scope of “denied” to carry over to the phrase after the comma, but rather meant to write something after the comma more along the lines of “instead asserting that the interactions were merely ‘a form of greeting’.”
    I can (barely) see myself, with some (very few) friends, and in the company of people who didn’t know either me or those friends, engaging in “a form of greeting” that the given strangers might reasonably construe as evidence that I and one or more of those friends were “in an intimate relationship. I cannot see myself doing any such thing “in the course of carrying out [my] work responsibilities” as a professor. And though I might be able to imagine doing such things in the course of a very few other kinds of “work responsibilities”—none of which I’ve ever engaged in—I hope I wouldn’t do them in the absence of very strong evidence that any one of the witnesses. be they strangers or not, were in the least uncomfortable with me action. Further, and finally: if I were hierarchically superior to any of the witnesses, I don’t think I’d take even their direct testimony as sufficiently strong evidence to override my duty (or, rather, my interpretation of a general duty) not to abuse hierarchic superiority to personal advantage.

    TL;DR: Krauss is an asshole, and I never want to be like him, nohow, no way.

  3. consciousness razor says

    In case anyone else is confused, the quote is from Mark Searle, ASU’s provost, not the famous Berkeley philosopher John Searle, as I had assumed, who’s also the subject of sexual assault and harassment allegations.

  4. gijoel says

    @1 I doubt he’ll sue as his dirty laundry will come out for sure if he does. He’ll probably write a book about how political correctness has gone mad, and then go on a book tour pissing and moaning about his treatment.

  5. chrislawson says

    twarren1111@4–

    yes, but unless there is a massive culture change, he will always sell books, make paid appearances, etc.

  6. methuseus says

    Reading what transpired, it sounds like something out of a sitcom. Is Lawrence Krauss basically Michael Scott from The Office? A lot of these things sound like faux pas he committed on the show. Makes me wonder now if the writing is from reality, and now I’m sad to have enjoyed the show in that case.

  7. jpmonroe8 says

    It’s always cute to drag other peoples’ gutters into public.

    No context. No idea of reciprocation or encouragement on the part of other adults. I’ve seen students bring up the idea of a strip club to their faculty. I’ve seen people bring up weird and uninvited pictures to friends for a laugh.

    Even worse, I’ve seen people greet each other with a hug or kiss. I’m hardly out of therapy.

    And your response is, “great job ending your career?” Nothing else you do matters. Did the man do nothing to get where he is?

  8. Saad says

    jpmonroe8, #11

    We’re talking about allegations spanning a decade that have been investigated by ASU. Also, he chose to retire.

    As for your last paragraph, why would we discuss his accomplishments in science and the atheism movement in a thread about his misconduct and the investigation into the misconduct?

  9. Saad says

    His employer determined that he violated their sexual misconduct policies. I’m sure that is happening to many people around the country as we speak. What’s the big deal?

  10. drken says

    Commenting on these incidents, Searle wrote: “It is inconceivable how a faculty member in the course of carrying out his work responsibilities could believe that the conduct would ever be appropriate.”

    Because he’s always gotten away with it before?

  11. says

    @jpmonroe8:

    Did the man do nothing to get where he is?

    Well, he was born on 2nd base, I’m sure that counts for something.

    I’ve seen students bring up the idea of a strip club to their faculty.

    And this was a report on Krauss. If someone else did something inappropriate, the discipline of that person would be handled separately.

    your response is, “great job ending your career?” Nothing else you do matters.

    Actually, the university process has a huge number of failsafes not available in most employer/employee relationships. Everything he wanted to have matter in the decision was his to bring up. Ultimately he decided not even to contest the decision, but to retire before a final decision could make more of a blot on his record than the recommendation has already made.

    Combined with photographic evidence of a (somewhat minor, if gradations matter to you) public assault and the fact that in the vast majority of instances he doesn’t deny the behavior, instead simply denying that the behavior is wrong, tells me enough to be certain that he doesn’t belong in teaching or in supervisory positions.

    He violated the university policy. He’s now screaming that the uni policy was too broad because his very special violations of uni policy weren’t, y’know, bad violations of uni policy. But that’s not how it works. If you’re smart enough to do astrophysics, you’re smart enough to know that you can get fired for violating your employer’s policies.

    He had fair notice. He had way too many chances. He still has months left of teaching income. He gets to retire instead of being fired.

    He’s gotten better than he deserved.

  12. leerudolph says

    Crip Dyke @15, quoting jpmonroe:

    Did the man do nothing to get where he is?

    Well, he was born on 2nd base, I’m sure that counts for something.

    I usually associate various forms of “born on nth base” with being born into a family with connections and money. A document I found at scribd.com says his parents owned a gift shop, which by itself doesn’t suggest a lot of either of those privileges, and I can’t find anything more about his ascending family or his early life; his undergraduate degree is from Carleton, a public university in Canada, again not suggesting either of those privileges. Do you mean (just) that by being born white and male (presumptively cishet), he was privileged? I would agree to that but “second base” seems further around the diamond than (just) that. First base, maybe? (I’m a white cishet male 6 years older than Krauss, born to entirely unconnected upper-working-class parents; I’ll cop to having been born on first base, and to having stolen second.)

  13. Rob Grigjanis says

    leerudolph @16: I was born into a working class immigrant family in the North of England, and being white cishet male, I’d consider that 2nd base. My sisters were born between first and second. Trump was born sliding into home with a silver ladle stuck up his arse.

  14. says

    @leerudolph:

    It’s a metaphor. Don’t over think it.

    But if you want to overthink it, it was originally said of George “Shrub” Bush that he was “Born on 3rd base, thought he hit a triple, then the Supreme Court helped him steal home.”

    I took the “born on 3rd base, subtracted the “wealthy” from the “white, male & wealthy” explanation the original author gave for saying “born on 3rd base”, came up with 2nd base, and ran with it.

    But again, it’s a metaphor. If I was coming up with the metaphor from scratch it would never have been a sports ball metaphor to begin with, but you reference the pop culture you have, not the pop culture you wish you had.

  15. Rob Grigjanis says

    P.S. Too many people come to the plate sans bat. And that’s more than enough baseball metaphorin’ for me.

  16. leerudolph says

    Crip Dyke: Dagnabit, overthinking metaphors is what I do. (And part of my overthinking on this one was, in fact, comparing it to the version you quote for Bush. The gap birth advantage between him and Krauss is surely way more than “one” anything, let alone one base out of a mere three-plus-one!)

    Rob Grigjanis: I will gladly (not happily) accept your postscript, with children having our birth status as being born variously at bat or somewhere on the way to first or even on first base, and less luckily privileged children born variously without a bat or even worse-endowed with baseball gear—for what does it profit a non-[cishet-male] to come to bat with a tennis racket, golfclub, basketball, etc., and lose the whole baseball game, given a system largely devoted to forcing baseball on everyone?

    See, I said that over-thinking metaphors was what I do. :)

  17. says

    @leerudolph, #21:

    I hear ya.

    I sometimes have been known to overthink metaphors myself when writing. One of my big disappointments with most writing is that few pieces consistently return to the same metaphor. A long time ago on Pharyngula someone liked one of my comments where I was trying to explain that a bad argument doesn’t necessarily have to have a false conclusion.

    I chose as my argument an anecdote about how bacteria invisible to the human eye actually exist (which is true) but that I know this because I used super-powers to fly to the moon where, without air, I talked to a human-sized space-faring bacteria who told me its species evolved from tiny bacteria on earth before roaming the stars.

    Now, tiny bacteria do exist, I reiterated, but this particular argument for their existence, I said, is lunacy.

    I was accused of particularly delightful writing because lunacy implicitly referred back to the moon, where my anecdote supposed space-faring bacteria were living. But while I’m glad i delighted someone, to me that was simply adequate writing – remembering what you’ve written earlier and making sure that what you write next doesn’t stray to far from home. We want the return to be easy for the reader. Of course, the return should also be easy on the writer, so when I provided that lunar illumination on bad arguments, I had actually already previously searched for words to describe a ridiculous and uncreditable statement. When I came up with lunacy, that suggested the setting for my anecdote; I did not build an irrational world and then fortuitously stumble on a reference to its irrationality.

    So, yes. I happily share this boarding house for unrecoverable overthinkers with you. Still, there wasn’t really any more to the bases than a pop culture reference.

    Clearly I need to get out more.

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