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Sociologist Facing Harassment 'Rumors' Defers Award

August 6, 2018
 
 

Michael Kimmel, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and an internationally known expert on masculinity, asked the American Sociological Association to delay presenting him with a major award for six months, so that still-anonymous allegations of sexual harassment against him can be vetted, he said last week.

"I have been informed that there are rumors circulating about my professional conduct that suggest I have behaved unethically," Kimmel wrote in comments to the association, requesting that they be read at the association’s annual meeting later this month in Philadelphia (he shared the comments with Inside Higher Ed). "While nothing has been formally alleged to the best of my knowledge," he said, "I take such concerns seriously, and want to validate the voices of those who are making such claims. I want to hear those charges, hear those voices, and make amends to those who believe I have injured them."

Kimmel, who has described himself as a "tireless advocate of engaging men to support gender equality," was to be presented the association’s Jessie Bernard Award for broadening research on the role of women in society. Nancy Kidd, executive director of the association, said that a committee of peer reviewers selected Kimmel for the award "based on extensive review of his academic contributions." The association also "takes very seriously any accusations of misconduct against sociologists which violate our Code of Ethics, and we have a process for receiving and addressing complaints," she said. So should a complaint be filed and investigated, "through us or other investigative bodies, that leads to a finding of misconduct, [the association] will take appropriate action."

Kimmel in his statement said that the sociological association cannot act on "rumors," and that he hoped "those making these accusations will file a complaint with the [organization’s] Committee on Professional Ethics so that these accusations can be formally addressed." In order to facilitate that process, he said, "I will defer my acceptance of this award for six months."

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