Friday, May 4, 2018

When will #MeToo come to the U?

I'm struck by two articles that appeared this week.

The first, titled "Eric Kaler looks to stamp presidential legacy in term's final stretch," appeared in the Minnesota Daily. Here's a sample:

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said Kaler warns lawmakers of coming scandals before they reach the press and takes responsibility for the University’s missteps. 

“If it’s contrary to the values of where he wants the University of Minnesota to go, he’s not afraid to take a stand,” Gazelka said. “I would say that he builds trust before he has to repair it, and that’s a big difference.”

The scandals have prompted the University to hire new athletics personnel and establish a campus-wide effort to prevent sexual misconduct. University Regent Richard Beeson said Kaler has an ability to turn “crises into political strengths.” 

The second, titled "How the University of Minnesota hides its professors' sexual harassment," appeared in City Pages. Here's a sample from that one:

"Take off your shirt so I can just see a little.”

Accusers and witnesses detail many other instances of misconduct. Among the allegations: He told lab members he only hired them for their looks; he suggested women’s presentations would be more effective if they dressed in more revealing clothing; he told his female lab members (whom he frequently called “Veglia chicks”) to flirt with prospective students to entice them to join the lab; he even threatened to withhold Ph.D.s if complaints were filed.

Of the 55 sexual misconduct cases substantiated in the university system from 2013 through 2017, more than half ended in the shadows. In 23 of the cases, the responsible employee left the university either through “resignation, lay-off or non-renewal” after the finding but before being disciplined; their names and case files are not publicly released.

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