121

Frankly, it is not clear to me why you are so concerned about being falsely accused of sexual harassment. Yes, there is a chance of this happening, but the chance is very small, even compared to other equally or more grave things that are largely out of your control (serious health problems, accidents, and so forth). Lately, maybe because of the news, I ...


121

I am not sure if my experiences are common, but as a faculty member in a psychology department I have had a number of unique and uncomfortable experiences with female students. I have described the two most egregious cases here and here. As for an answer, I want to start with an excerpt from this answer since I think it is so good 1) Never sexually harass ...


119

I don't know if a meeting at which you "set the agenda" would be particularly helpful at this stage. It might make him feel "attacked", put him on the defensive, and he may retaliate against you in response. (I'm not suggesting that he would try to get you kicked out of the university or the department; there are many, many other small and large ways an ...


74

While it is nice that the other people show consideration for all women who are harassed, they do not seem to fully appreciate the position of the many men who are falsely accused. Someone in another answer claims the ratio is 1:100, there is no statistics for that in academia, but in the field I am aware of (family law) the percent of women fabricating ...


71

In general, I refrain from initiating any physical contact other than handshakes or "congratulatory" gestures such as high-fives or fist bumps. This allows the student to control the level of interaction if they so choose. My suspicion about what would be considered "acceptable" is that it varies widely from country to country, depending on what is ...


69

Preliminaries: You are in a tough spot and I don't think that any course of action is ideal or without risk. If you can accept this "messiness" and commit to a reasonable course of action, you'll probably come out OK. It's also important to understand that you can't control or determine his reactions, and you can't be responsible for his feelings, as long ...


67

Whatever you do, please ignore the advice given by some people here to demonstrate your 'unavailability' to your advisor by talking about having a boyfriend, or having your boyfriend or some male friend come and pick you up from work. You don't need any 'excuse' to be uninterested in having anything more than a professional relationship with your advisor, ...


55

If you read the news lately more closely, you will see that almost no one believed the past individual accounts of harassment, and it took about a dozen simultaneous accusations for anyone to even begin to take it seriously. So even if it comes to that, the scale is still utterly weighed in your favor. The best thing you could do, IMO, is educate yourself ...


51

I think a lot of advice that people are giving is unwise. While I am sure they wish to be helpful, I am not sure they are qualified. I have been active in the women in technology community for 25 years, which does not give me all of the answers but does make me more aware of what can go wrong than some of the other respondents may be. You need a support ...


50

I am not convinced that he wants a romantic relationship with you. Rather he is boosting his ego by flirting with you and actually enjoys flirting with you. Your response need to be adequate to the situation. You should respond to amateurism by professionalism I think calling a general meeting of an hour to set things straight can backfire, because it ...


47

The Dean of the medical school is not being fired because he was involved in sexual crimes. He is being fired because he poorly handled the Title IX investigation. He utterly failed to ensure the safety of student and patient safety, and he bears responsibility for that. To characterize him as being "not involved in" the scandal is not accurate - the ...


45

Perhaps think of this the same way you think of avoiding being run over as a pedestrian. There are obvious precautions you should definitely take, such as looking both ways before crossing a road, and keeping your interactions with your students strictly professional, no touching, no dating students, no sex-related remarks. There are a series of further ...


40

I am performing my job, but I am worried that if things go bad with us she'll claim sexual harassment. What should I do? Don't let things go bad. I.e., stop talking about sex, try to hide your feelings, don't flirt, etc. As long as she is in your class, you have a professional obligation to treat her the same as your other students, regardless of whether ...


40

Note: I'm a department chair at a US university. The following represents my thoughts about your question assuming you are in the US. I will stick to comments pertaining to university policy. I am not a lawyer and am unqualified to offer any legal advice of any sort. What do I do? How do I make this right? I'm sure this is bad, but just how bad? This is ...


36

As it turns out, membership in fraternities is not, in general, strongly correlated with rape. Rather, it appears that a large percentage of sexual assault is committed by a very small fraction of men who are deliberate predators, who tend to seek out environments where their behavior is enabled by people either turn a blind eye to their behavior or who are ...


35

I'm glad you asked the question, since I was very struck by the answer as well: as I indicated in a comment, I am rather confident that the sentiment expressed there that hugs are always okay is against the policy of my university. As Tara B mentioned, any physical contact between coworkers that is not explicitly part of the work done needs to be clearly ...


31

That's really awful, and I'm so sorry someone whose job it is to help you instead put you in this difficult position. When you applied for your masters program did you have strong letters from professors at your undergraduate school? While all things being equal it is better to get letters from people who have interacted with you more recently, having ...


28

I'm very sorry about what you're going through. The key to the answer I'm about to offer to your question is the following general observation: the people in academia are not robots. Despite how it looks from the outside, all these rigid rules and deadlines that we have were made by humans and were designed to serve specific purposes. When we judge that the ...


28

As Allure points out, opinions on this matter will vary, so let me note some points that I think are important here, and also offer an opinion that is slightly to the contrary of some other answers. (For brevity, these points are framed as an answer to the person you are talking about who is the academic dealing with these students.) Academics have a duty ...


24

Assuming you are in the United States, you are currently in an extremely vulnerable situation from a legal and academic perspective. If I were you, I would immediately report yourself to your professor -- and then to the university Title IX office. I would ask to be reassigned out of grading or having any other academic contact with that student. The ...


23

Policy on this may vary from institution to institution, so those would need to be specifically consulted. However, the whole "when is a romantic relationship taboo?" question hinges most importantly on one thing: does one of the individuals involved exercise some sort of power over the other. It would be odd for a professor to have a relationship with one ...


22

First, I would recommend that you put away any feelings of guilt and responsibility, and instead begin planning to protect yourself. Unfortunately, it appears likely that your supervisor is a predator and abuser given several red flags in your story. In particular: Your supervisor waiting until you were impaired by alcohol before making unwanted sexual ...


22

First of all, not all research labs are like that. You can find better work environment elsewhere, perhaps even have luck in the same University. The academic world, however, is extremely small, and people will talk behind your back. You can't fight that. One way to minimize this is to minimize amount of time you spend in the current group. Hence, one of ...


20

Some of this may depend on the age of the students, the relevant law of the country, and policies of the institution. I'm replying from a USA-centric, adult, and parent viewpoint. I am a USA Swimming certified official. Part of the required training is on their 'Athlete Protection Policy', dealing with allowable interactions between adults (coaches, ...


18

As a female student who is currently VERY interested in one of her TAs, I have to agree with what everyone is saying: DO. NOT. ENGAGE... Wait until you are no longer teaching her (and there is no chance that you will ever again teach her), then feel free to accept any invitation to coffee. Asking her to coffee yourself could be risky, if it turns out that ...


18

The ethical, and safe, thing to do -- now, actually -- would be to look for another faculty member to pass this thesis supervision responsibility to, because your objectivity has been, or could be seen to be, compromised by your feelings. I was given some very good advice once by a senior professor: when contemplating a particular action, imagine what it ...


18

Speak with the professor, and give them the benefit of the doubt. Ask for an appointment, and bring another student if you feel uncomfortable doing it one-on-one. Most professors (hopefully) would not intentionally make such jokes -- give them the benefit of the doubt, allow them to explain themselves or apologize, and go from there. Following Hanlon's razor,...


18

Could such professors who signed the letter be at risk of losing their tenure, because the letter could now constitute a form of retaliation and defamation of the victim (the male student)? Any answer to this question would be pure speculation at this stage. Like most US universities, NYU's tenure policies are publicly available. Their Statement in Regard ...


17

Can professors have romantic relationships with post-docs (in the same department)? Yes, they most certainly can (and should, if they feel like it - take that, @GEdgar...), provided that one is not the other's supervisor or someone who holds sway over the other's career, e.g. wants/needs to write him/her a letter of recommendation. Although it is hard to ...


16

Initially, like xLeitix, my response to this question was "Say what?" Then I did some reading. For those who are interested, here are some articles on the subject: Sex, grades and power in higher education in Ghana and Tanzania Kenyan tutor on 'sex for grades' Teachers Demanding Sex for Grades Liberian women battle against 'sex for grades' at universities ...


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