Investigation reveals sexual harassment within CU Boulder philosophy department

CU Boulder sexual harassment within philosophy department

CU Boulder publicly released a report Jan. 31, 2014 identifying sexual harassment within the philosophy department.

BOULDER, Colo. — The University of Colorado Boulder publicly released information Friday regarding an investigation that revealed sexual harassment and bullying within the philosophy department.

In April 2013, the department invited the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on the Status of Women to conduct a full review of the environment for women within the department, according to the committee’s report.

The report cited 15 complaints made to the university’s Office of Discrimination and Harassment since 2007. It also stated that female members of the department were leaving or attempting to leave the program at “disproportionate numbers” after reporting that they felt uncomfortable and dejected.

“The committee found that the department has maintained an overall environment ‘with unacceptable sexual harassment, inappropriate sexualized unprofessional behavior and divisive uncivil behavior,'” said the report.

It also cited that this environment has been harmful to not only women, but “every stakeholder group” within the philosophy department.

The report led to the removal of the department’s chairman Graeme Forbes and suspended all graduate student admissions until at least fall of 2015, according to the Daily Camera.

CU officials named Andrew Cowell as Forbes replacement.

Since the investigation went public Friday, members of the department told the Daily Camera they were surprised by the school’s decision to openly release information they thought would stay confidential.

“We’re reaping the unhappy harvest of an effort to do the right thing,” said CU philosophy professor Michael Zimmerman. “We were acting in good faith to identify the concerns (within the department) and address the concerns…It wasn’t our intention to have a public spectacle.”

1 Comment

  • Fluffy Mergatryod (@factchecker2000)

    There have been problems at CU for a long, long time.Here’s how it works if you decide to go to the Office of Discrimination and harassment.

    1. Let’s say you are an employee and your manager does something so crazy to you that it seems unreal. You get your emotions under control, assemble your facts and your witnesses, and file a carefully worded complaint.

    2. The Office of Discrimination and Harassment shows your complaint to your manager.

    3. Your manager assembles a team of people who a) report to them and can be counted on to cooperate, b) people outside their line of report who want to curry favor with management for whatever reason, and c) people who may not be your fans for reasons that are irrelevant to your complaint. If this process doesn’t turn up enough dirt on you, they can completely make stuff up to make you look like a bad employee who doesn’t deserve to win a dispute.

    4. You will NOT be allowed to see management’s response to your complaint until AFTER the final decision has been made, and once the decision is made there is NO appeal process.

    5. Your complaint, and management’s secret response, goes to some committee who may or may not know anything about you, the department, or the issue at hand.

    6. After the final decision has been handed down, you will finally be allowed to see how management responded to your complaint. It will likely be so shocking, so slanted, so unfair that you might even have trouble recognizing yourself from how they portrayed you. Too bad – too late. Some or even much of what got said against you may be totally irrelevant to the substance of your complaint – don’t count on the decision committee to notice this. Some of what got said against you may even rise to the legal standard of defamation – again, too late! The decision is final.

    Explains a lot, doesn’t it? Like why problems go on so long and why we only seem to get action if an outside entity does the investigation.

    All the other HR offices do is give advice, which a bad manager can block you from following. This is what it’s been like for rank-and-file people at CU.

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