Over the summer, there were multiple incidences of resignations and terminations among faculties at colleges and universities across America. Many of these resignations and terminations were due to sexual harassment or misconduct. Even respected professors at nationally-recognized universities were not immune. The University of Washington fired a microbiology professor over findings of sexual harassment. Although the professor in question was highly decorated, well-funded, and a major player in disease research, he did not receive special treatment and was terminated once the reports were confirmed. This was the first time that the University of Washington had ever fired a professor for sexual harassment.
The University of Washington was not the only institution to make such changes recently. Several other higher education schools have seen professors resign due to allegations, including a professor of theoretical astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology, a professor of education at Wright State University, and a photojournalism professor at the University of Nebraska. While there is a possibility that the timing could be coincidence, such terminations seem to indicate a trend of universities taking real action in the fight against sexual harassment and misconduct.
A Slow Improvement
The president and CEO of the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management (NCHERM) Group, Brett Sokolow, made a statement on the issue. Brett Sokolow is also the executive director of the Association of Title IX Administrators. While he lamented that the process of disciplining offending staff members is still “painfully slow,” he described the recent developments as indicative of a shifting mind-set on campuses from a mindset of “permissiveness” or “looking the other way” to “zero-tolerance” in regard to sexual harassment crimes.
Negative Publicity Has an Impact
One of the largest factors in this recent positive trend is that schools have found it simply too expensive and damaging to deal with the negative publicity that a problematic faculty causes. Several of the recent terminated employees were the subject of lengthy articles, which brought attention to the case and negative publicity to the schools involved. One of the professors unsuccessfully attempted to sue the publication involved.
Chester County Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Victims of Sexual Harassment
While there may be a positive trend happening in higher education, sexual harassment all too often goes without consequences. If you have experienced sexual harassment and feel that you deserve justice, you do not need to go through the process alone. The dedicated Chester County sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. are prepared to help you with your case. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online. From our offices in Center City, Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and New York.