By Bernard Wood
Earlier this month, famed astronomer Geoff Marcy's sexual harassment of
female students was exposed. He has since resigned
from the University of California, Berkeley, in the
face of concerted pressure from peers and students. It is
for someone to use academic power to be a sexual
predator, but the reality is that Marcy operated in an academic culture
turned a blind eye to such behavior.
Male professors have a special responsibility to be strong allies of the
women affected by sexual misconduct. Many women who
have been the target of inappropriate behavior, or
have even heard of such incidents, believe that their careers will be
if they speak out. To work toward something for
years, only to have it derailed by an unscrupulous superior or by
rumor, is a frightening prospect. Equal academic
opportunity will not exist as long as individuals have to adjust their
to avoid exposure to sexual predation. Women must
be supported by their male colleagues, especially those with the
influence, when they speak out, make formal
complaints, or press criminal charges. We should not wait for
colleagues to demonstrate the greatest courage
before those with the greatest power show any.
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