Yale Backtracks on Endowed Chair for Known Harasser

September 24, 2018

Yale University stripped a professor previously found to have harassed a junior colleague of his endowed chair, according to the The Washington Post. Yale said over the summer that it had transferred the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professorship to Michael Simons, a cardiologist who was in 2013 found to have harassed a postdoctoral researcher. That’s after the family of Robert W. Berliner, the late dean of the Yale School of Medicine, expressed concern that Simons still held the professorship named after Berliner that he’d held since 2008. Students and faculty members criticized Yale’s decision, saying it was inappropriate to bestow what seemed like a new honor on a known harasser.

The university said earlier this month that Simons’s new chair was not supposed to be new honor. But on Friday, it walked back its decision completely, according to The Post, with Robert J. Alpern, dean of medicine, saying in an all-campus email that it "has become clear that members of our community perceive the transfer of chairs as bestowing a new honor, and that this action is viewed as a statement about our values. I acknowledge the strength of the community’s perception, and I am extremely concerned about its impact on the community’s well-being.”

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