Economists Address Allegations Against Elected Officer

October 17, 2018

The American Economic Association’s Executive Committee addressed allegations of harassment against a recently elected candidate for internal office. “It has come to our attention that one of the recently elected candidates [is] the subject of allegations, being accused of creating a hostile work environment,” the committee said in a statement, denying that either it or the association's nominating committee knew of the allegations ahead of the nomination. 

“We take such allegations seriously, but they are, at this point, just allegations,” the Executive Committee wrote. “While the home institution will neither deny nor confirm the existence of an investigation, we understand that one is underway, and may come to some conclusions in the not too distant future.” Thus, the committee said, “We have decided that, before proceeding further, we should wait for those conclusions, if they are made public and they come within a reasonable amount of time.  If not, we shall reexamine our position.” In the future, the committee added, “we shall ask potential nominees if they are the subject of an investigation,” to help avoid “such situations.”

The committee did not name the academic in question, but it was apparently referring to Roland G. Fryer, Jr., Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University and faculty director of Education Innovation Laboratory there. Fryer, who was recently elected to the committee, reportedly is the subject of harassment complaints related to the . He did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. A spokesperson for Harvard referred questions to an earlier comment on the matter saying that "Harvard is deeply committed to providing a civil and inclusive work environment for all members of our community. We are aware of and take seriously concerns raised about the treatment of staff in the Education Innovation Laboratory," including "whether staff members have been treated with the dignity and respect they deserve." 

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