From Colorado alum Annaleigh Curtis:
I graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder Philosophy Department in 2013. While there, I served as a student representative on the Climate Committee and Philosophy Graduate Student Co-President during AY 2011-2012. College Professor of Distinction Alison Jaggar was my dissertation advisor. I am currently a second-year law student at Harvard Law School. The following observations and opinions are my own and do not represent the views of any of the above people or institutions. I offer them in the hope that they will add a voice to the conversation on an issue of great importance to the academic world, not just at CU or Northwestern or Miami, and not just for philosophy. I also offer them in defense of Prof. Jaggar’s actions, which I believe have been unfairly maligned in Prof. Barnett’s recent claim against CU.
First, all faculty have a University-mandated responsibility to protect students against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation through mandatory reporting. Doing so is a legal and moral obligation, not meddling or stirring the pot. Note further that the value in reporting and investigating claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation is not limited to cases in which policies have been violated. Even if a particular claim turns out to be unfounded, the obligation to report all potential claims still exists.
Second, this particular retaliation claim was settled over the summer to the tune of $825,000 for the victim. As with any legal settlement, one stipulation was that CU did not admit any fault. However, I think this is a strong indication that the claim was not completely out of left field. The University took it seriously, as they should have. Any notion that the claim was unserious, even if one thinks that it ultimately should not have succeeded, further discourages students and professors from reporting issues that are already chronically underreported.
Third, an earlier inquiry likewise found that the initial investigation and report by the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (which has recently been renamed the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance) was performed fairly and in line with CU’s legal obligations. In my opinion, this suggests that claims about blowing the whistle against that process were unfounded since it proceeded fairly and legally.
Fourth, Prof. Jaggar should be proud of her role in challenging what she believed were retaliatory actions. We should be calling on other professors to explain why they failed to do the same.
Annaleigh Curtis, PhD (University of Colorado, Boulder ’13), JD Candidate (Harvard Law School ’16)