I’m a tenured college professor. It took hard work to get here (and hard work to do the job!), but sometimes I’m reminded of how many advantages I have. Look at how one of my peers in geology acted in his job!
The first complainant, Jane Willenbring, now an associate professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, part of the University of California, San Diego, alleges that Marchant repeatedly shoved her down a steep slope, pelted her with rocks while she was urinating in the field, called her a “slut” and a “whore,” and urged her to have sex with his brother, who was also on the trip.
The second complainant, Deborah Doe (a pseudonym), who was in Antarctica for two austral summers during this era, reports that Marchant called her a “c–t” and a “bitch” repeatedly. She alleges that he promised to block her access to research funding should she earn a Ph.D. She abandoned her career dreams and left academe.
A third woman, Hillary Tulley, a Skokie, Illinois, high school teacher, describes her experience in a supporting letter filed with BU investigators. “His taunts, degrading comments about my body, brain, and general inadequacies never ended,” she writes. She claims Marchant tried to exhaust her into leaving Antarctica. “Every day was terrifying,” she says in an interview with Science.
That’s from a year and a half ago. At that time, after years of harassing students, he was the chair of his department at Boston University and was about to be honored by the GSA for his work. It’s amazing what we professors can get away with.
That’s changing though. Marchant has been fired, finally. He denies ever harassing anyone, which is part of the problem — he probably didn’t think his behavior was harassing at all. And he’s not alone.
Student journalists have been investigating professors of ill repute on the Columbia University campus. They found all kinds of interesting problems.
English professor Michael Golston was found responsible for sexually assaulting and harassing a student, according to documents from an investigation conducted by Columbia’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.
However, months later, he still retained access to campus and his Columbia-owned faculty apartment. Over a year later, the University has given no official update regarding his teaching status or access to campus to either the complainant or the chair of his department.
Business school professor Geert Bekaert was convicted in federal court for retaliating against Enrichetta Ravina, former assistant professor of finance, after she reported him to the University for sexual harassment.
Today, Bekaert continues to oversee research projects and teach classes on campus.
According to a lawsuit filed by Jane Doe, former history and classics professor William Harris repeatedly sexually harassed her, then disparaged her to their colleagues when she refused him.
Although he retired as a part of a settlement with the University nearly two years ago, Harris still frequents campus, particularly reading rooms in Butler Library where classics students perform research. He also still lives in his Columbia-owned faculty apartment.
“It makes my skin crawl, and I basically can’t even bring myself to look at him or in his direction,” said one classics student on running into Harris in the library.
After prominent neuroscientist and Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute Co-Director Thomas Jessell was found guilty of sexual misconduct by the University, Columbia announced he would be removed from all administrative posts.
But eight months later, Jessell remained on campus, continuing to work with students and use research facilities.
Columbia has never formally dismissed a tenured faculty member who has been convicted of sexual misconduct, assault, or harassment, University President Lee Bollinger told Spectator in an interview last October.
Wow. So the “punishment” for sexually harassing students is not having to do any committee work anymore? These guys are still getting paid by the university?
Note that at the same time, these universities have an army of serfs, the adjuncts.
To be a perennial adjunct professor is to hear the constant tone of higher education’s death knell. The story is well known—the long hours, the heavy workload, the insufficient pay—as academia relies on adjunct professors, non-tenured faculty members, who are often paid pennies on the dollar to do the same work required of their tenured colleagues.
That’s from a story about Thea Hunter, a black woman historian who was basically worked to death as an adjunct.
She had a number of ailments that bothered her—her asthma, her heart—and the rigors of being an adjunct added to them. Had she been tenured, she would have experienced a sort of security that tenure is designed to provide: a campus office of her own, health insurance, authority and respect with which to navigate campus bureaucracy, greater financial stability. Without tenure, she was unprotected, at the whim of her body’s failings, working long hours for little pay, teaching large survey classes outside of her area of special expertise. As Terry McGlynn, a biology professor at California State University at Dominguez Hills, wrote in The Chronicle of Higher Education, “Full professors benefit from the exploitation of non-tenure-track instructors.” Adjuncts often do the work that other professors don’t want.
There really is a deep rich/poor divide in academia. We have a moral obligation to end it.