Academic science has been rocked recently by a series of sexual harassment scandals involving high profile scientists at renowned institutions. While sexual assault and issues of discrimination in college athletics programs have received a lot of media attention, academic programs at universities have not seen the same level of scandal or attention until recently. Tune in this Friday afternoon, at 2:30PM for a special edition of “Science: A Candle In The Dark” where host Dr. Madhusudan Katti will shine a light on this serious yet underreported issue in a round-table discussion featuring professors and scientists from a range of academic institutions, and an interview with California Congresswoman Jackie Speier who is bringing legislative attention to the problem from the US House of Representatives.
In addition to the interview with Rep. Speier, the round table will feature:
- Dr. Janet Stemwedel, Philosophy Professor at San Jose State University (with dual PhDs in Chemistry and Philosophy), and columnist for Forbes.com where she has written some strong pieces about sexual harassment in the scientific community, and the things institutions must do to start addressing the problem.
- Dr Katie Hinde, Anthropology Professor at Arizona State University, and co-author of the 2014 paper on harassment and assault in field research situations (#SAFE13), who has also recently written a must-read piece on how we might go about fixing academic culture to make it safer and more inclusive for diverse people.
- Dr. Jacquelyn Gill, Paleoecologist at the University of Maine, another field researcher and faculty member taking on the challenge of changing academic culture, with an active voice on social media despite facing pushback from trolls.
- Dr. Kathryn Forbes, Cultural Anthropologist on the faculty of the Women’s Studies program at California State University, Fresno, whose research focuses on gender and public policy, Title IX cases in different campuses, and the flaws in how institutions conduct investigations into cases of harassment and sexual assault.
- Dr. Amanda Mortimer, Psychology Professor at California State University, Fresno, whose research focuses on dementia and memory, and who can speak to the effects of long-term stressors such as persistently hostile work environments.
- Dr. Kaberi Kar Gupta, Primatologist directing the Urban Slender Loris Project in Bangalore, with international field research experience, where she has challenged the domination of certain disciplines by macho male culture, and it’s costs on women and to the disciplines as well.
- Dr. Karen James, Biologist at the Mountain Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Maine, working at the intersection of research, education, and outreach involving citizen science, and another active voice on issues of sexism and sexual harassment in science, who has also faced harassment from social media trolls.
This promises to be an important. wide-ranging, and deep conversation about the culture of academia and the institutional structures that must be radically changed in order to make the academy, across all disciplines, a more nurturing environment which helps everyone grow and contribute their best scholarship without having to worry about discrimination or harassment on the basis of their gender identity, sexual orientation, race, nationality, or ethnicity. Do listen, and share your thoughts in the comments below.