Tough Questions to Ask Admins About Sexual Harassment
It seems that while this Fighty Squirrel has been out basking in the sun and gathering nuts, some rebel rousers and data wonks have finally made university administrators get woke to the fact that sexual harassment, assault and retaliation of women in science and medicine is a real and devastating problem.
The NASEM report this summer showed us women in STEM face the highest rate of sexual harassment of any profession outside the military. It came as a shock to roughly zero women and 99.8% of men that over half of women in science and medicine reported being harassed and or assaulted by colleagues. The National Academy of Sciences found most women don’t report these crimes. And for good reason, 90% of those who do report face serious professional and personal retaliation.
After some high level administrative pearl clutching, some campuses are having their head honchos write serious emails, or hold meetings with free cookies and claims of concern. (I’m actually not sure that everyone even gets the free cookies, to be honest.) This also seems a great opportunity to preach a bit of truth to power. How do you do it? Ideally, it sure would be great if a bunch of men showed up at these meetings. You know, the ones that say they are deeply concerned about trainees safety and loll about in their Birkenstocks? You guys. Send this blog to them. They can cash in a few of their full professor privilege chips and effect change by asking some questions women care about.
I’ve even made a handy dandy list that will surely shoot some more M&M’s out of anyone saying they are serious about protecting women. The ones who are, will have no problem answering them.
Ask a couple! If you tweet responses to any of these questions, you will get a FREE #MeTooSTEM computer sticker and be an internet s-hero. As a special bonus, there will be an ally sticker decency for any man who goes to a meeting and asks a question.
- Does your campus place anyone accused of sexual misconduct on immediate administrative leave during the 30-60 day preliminary investigation?
- Is it your campus’ policy to remove anyone found guilty of Title IX or employee code of conduct violations from positions of influence over trainees and colleagues careers?
- What percentage of initial complaints of sexual misconduct does the university divert to employee relations instead of Title IX? Most. It diverts most of them to avoid having to disclose the true numbers of cases to federal oversight boards and funding agencies.
- Has your university conducted and independent audit of the climate of sexual harassment, gender inequities and safety for women?
- Are people guilty of sexual misconduct still nominated by the university for awards and membership to prestigious academies like NAS, AAAS and others? Yes. They are. This needs to stop.
- What is the university doing to restore the careers of victims of sexual misconduct? Nothing. This is awful.
- Do hiring committees specifically ask for letters from applicant’s current institutions to ensure potential employees don’t have a history of hurting women?
- Is your Title IX office still investigating victims and witnesses to sexual harassment, routinely going thru their emails and trying to intimidate them?
- Does your Title IX/employee relations service do exit surveys of victims to see if they felt that process was fair and just?
- How many of the men sanctioned for sexual misconduct were promoted during the investigation or afterwards?
Okay, that’s just my quick Top 10 list of questions that will help your meeting get real quickly. And it needs to. We need a lot less feel good talk from people claiming ‘they have it’ (they don’t) and a lot more consequences for hurting women on campus.
Be sure you post admin answers to any of these questions in the Comments below or with the #MeTooSTEM hashtag. It will be your only chance to get a sticker from a squirrel and I sure want to get you some stickers!