Sexual Harassment Still Apparent in Higher Education

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One of my favorite activities is to look at Flipboard, an app that aggregates news and blogs based on individual preferences. When this Mercury News story from February concerning widespread sexual harassment at the University of California popped up, I was surprised: Haven’t we moved past this?

The article delves into records of sexual misconduct cases at UC between 2013-2016, which were released in February in the wake of a scandal at UC–Berkeley. The revelations were troubling, to say the least. Thomas Peele writes,

UC San Francisco had 26 cases, the most of any UC campus, ranging from a cook offering a co-worker money for sex to a top fertility doctor inappropriately touching nurses and calling them “bitches.”

UCLA had 25 cases, including a French professor who wrote over 300 poems professing his love to his graduate assistant, and a cancer researcher who sent sexually explicit jokes to his colleagues and had been accused of sexual harassment twice before.

…And the list goes on, resulting in more than 100 people being disciplined across the University of California system within three years, about 25% of them faculty members.

Reading this, I was reminded of my male art professor, who, in 1987, would sit uncomfortably close to the female students as they worked. Whenever he pointed to parts of our canvases, his arm would graze our breasts. It was a joke among the female students, and we compared final grades to see if there was a correlation between them and bra size.

I had thought that much had changed since 1987, but if this story is any indication, sexual misconduct is still a huge issue at universities. Do these events at the University of California represent a nation-wide problem? And what can we do to make sure our institutions are addressing these issues?

ProFmagazine wants to hear from you—Is sexual harassment an issue on your campus?