Colorado: out of context quotes

Some day soon I will not be spending so much time on this, I tell myself that.  But for now, I need to tell you about some ways that the site visit team and the APA CSW have been presented a little bit misleadingly in the media.  This is important, because the site visit program is important, and it’s vital not to misunderstand.

First, there’s an Inside Higher Ed story which includes an interview with Peggy DesAutels, one of the organisers of both the site visit program and the Colorado visit.  IHE writes:

“At the same time, DesAutels said that the situation at Colorado was so bad that she saw a positive side to the report’s release. “In this particular case, for Colorado, the profession is better off knowing about this,” she said.

This may give the misleading impression that DesAutels supports the release of the report, and that she commented on the specifics of the Colorado case.  Both of these are false. The fuller context is that she refused to comment on any specifics of the situation at Colorado.  She was then asked to comment on what the negative and positive effects of this particular public release might be.  She said that it might be beneficial simply because it documents a problematic environment and steps that might be taken to improve it.

Then there’s the Chronicle story, behind a firewall.  Here Hilde Lindemann, chair of the APA’s Committee on the Status of Women, is quoted simply as saying “It is absolutely breathtaking that they did this,” leaving the reader to speculate about what took her breath away.  I asked, and she explained that she was referring to was the fact that “the administration is taking steps to change the institutional structures to make the climate more hospitable to women, rather than targeting specific people who are seen to be bad actors. I would like to think that they are taking these steps as a matter of course, but in the current climate, it’s remarkable that they are seeing it as a problem of climate that affects everyone, victims, innocent bystanders, and bad actors alike.”

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