Thomas Pogge, a professor of philosophy at Yale University who’s built his career on ethics and global justice, retaliated against a former student for resisting his advances and has been accused of sexually harassing numerous other young women, according to a federal civil rights complaint first reported on by BuzzFeed. Inside Higher Eddetailed some of the allegations against Pogge without naming him in 2014, but the recently filed complaint under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prevents gender discrimination in education, sheds new light on his alleged pattern of harassment.
In the 1990s, for example, a student at Columbia University, where Pogge was then teaching, accused him of sexually harassing her; the university eventually forbade Pogge from entering the philosophy department when the student was there, according to an affidavit from a Columbia professor included in the new complaint. Pogge moved on to Yale and allegedly harassed a student named Fernanda Lopez Aguilar, who eventually filed a Title IX complaint after reading additional allegations against Pogge by a third woman in a 2014 essay. The essay, which alleged that Pogge specifically targeted women from other countries who were unfamiliar with harassment reporting channels and were otherwise at the opposite end of the power dynamic he derided in his professional work, didn’t use Pogge’s name. But many philosophers assumed it was him, and recordings between the author and Pogge obtained by BuzzFeed suggest he read it and agreed with its premise.
Lopez Aguilar’s complaint alleges that Pogge offered her a salaried position in his Global Justice Program but rescinded it after she rejected his sexual advances during a trip to Chile. A hearing panel at Yale found that there was “substantial evidence” that Pogge had acted unprofessionally and failed to uphold standards of ethical behavior, but that there was insufficient evidence of sexual assault. Lopez Aguilar says Yale nevertheless attempted to buy her silence for $2,000.
The recent talk of Pogge’s alleged behavior -- which has for some time been an open secret in philosophy, according to professors interviewed by both BuzzFeed and Inside Higher Ed -- has yielded at least nine additional allegations of harassment from women in various countries, according to Lopez Aguilar’s complaint. Most allege offers of job offers, hotel rooms, plane tickets and other assistance from Pogge, even though he knew little about them or their work, beyond their physical appearance.
Thomas Conroy, university spokesperson, declined to comment for the article, and Pogge reportedly did not respond to initial requests for comment. (He did not respond to requests for comment from Inside Higher Ed in 2014.) But over the weekend, after the Buzzfeed story was published, Pogge posted a response on a university blog denying the allegations by Lopez Aguilar. He said her claims contained “various provable falsehoods and inconsistencies" and blamed the "familiar phenomena" of what he called false allegations in part on the “the intensely competitive worlds of academia and university politics."
William Paterson University in New Jersey must pay more than $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages to a former professor of secondary and middle school education who says she was harassed and discriminated against on the basis of race and religion, a jury decided last week. Althea Hulton-Lindsay, former chair of her department, alleged various forms of mistreatment and said she was stripped of her responsibilities and saw her proposals rejected by Candace Burns, dean of the College of Education, because she is black and a born-again Christian, NorthJersey.com reported. For example, Hulton-Lindsay said, Burns once called campus security because she and colleague were praying at the colleague’s desk.
Hulton-Lindsay said that she filed several harassment complaints with William Paterson, but that they were never investigated and that she was eventually removed as department chair in 2012. The professor also alleged retaliation, saying that the action came a week after she filed a complaint, but the jury rejected that claim. Noreen Kemether, a deputy state attorney general who represented William Paterson during the trial, said that Hulton-Lindsay was not discriminated against and rather removed from her leadership role because she failed to work cooperatively with Burns and other colleagues.
Hampden-Sydney College announced on its Facebook page that General Jerry Boykin (at right) has accepted a contract for the next year to teach in the college's military leadership and national security program. The announcement appeared routine, but it followed General Boykin announcing on Facebook that his contract wasn't going to be renewed because of his statements against the Obama administration's policies to require schools and colleges to let transgender students use bathrooms that are consistent with their gender identity. The college issued a statement that this had never been the case, and that the general -- as an adjunct -- was hired from year to year. Further, the college said that it had been looking for "rotating" people to bring a range of expertise to the program, and that this had been the motivation to consider other candidates for the position.
General Boykin still insists he initially lost the contract due to his views on transgender issues. "The PC police tried to silence my voice," he wrote on Facebook. "I stood on my principles and others joined me and we pushed back the tide. Let your heart hold fast in the knowledge that no matter how much they attempt to control the conversation: they are not in the majority."
The University of Melbourne, in Australia, is currently restricting three mathematics faculty jobs to female applicants, ABC Australia reported. Officials said mathematics departments struggle to attract female applicants. Australian law permits discrimination (in this case against male applicants) designed to promote equal opportunity.
Some 30 percent of female medical academics have experienced sexual harassment on the job, compared to 4 percent of their male counterparts, according to a new research letter in TheJournal of the American Medical Association. A majority (59 percent) of women who’d experienced harassment said it hurt their confidence in themselves as professionals, and 47 percent said the experiences limited their career advancement.
The study, led by Reshma Jagsi, associate professor of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan, is based on survey responses from 1,066 recent recipients of career development awards from the National Institutes of Health regarding their career and personal experiences. Women were much more likely to than men to report both perceptions of and experiences with gender bias in their careers. Common harassment experiences include sexist remarks or behavior and unwanted sexual advances, while a much smaller proportion of respondents reported experiences with bribery or threats to engage in sexual behavior or coercive advances.
The study notes that a similar 1995 survey found strikingly similar results, indicating more reform is needed. ”Although a lower proportion reported these experiences [sexual harassment] than in a 1995 sample, the difference appears large given that the women [in this new survey] began their careers after the proportion of female medical students exceeded 40 percent," it says. "Recognizing sexual harassment is important because perceptions that such experiences are rare may, ironically, increase stigmatization and discourage reporting. Efforts to mitigate the effect of unconscious bias in the workplace and eliminate more overtly inappropriate behaviors are needed."