Janet Stemwedel on the Marcy case

Philosopher Janet Stemwedel has written an excellent piece for Forbes on the Marcy sexual harassment case.  She explores the interesting fact that the astronomy community seems more responsive to victims’ needs than his university is.

You might think a university would recognize itself as something like a community, and that it would prioritize protecting vulnerable individuals within the community (like students) from harm. Maybe a university’s institutional policies are even intended to protect students, but in their operation they seem not to work that way. In this case, a professor found to have violated a university policy is essentially told not to do it again — because if he does, maybe the university will suspend or fire him.

This doesn’t seem to do a lot to protect current and future students from the same kind of harm from the same professor.

One thought on “Janet Stemwedel on the Marcy case

  1. One of the things that struck me in the Forbes article was this “A scientific community is distinct from institutions like universities, even if university departments are sites where pockets of that scientific community exist. Because they have a different set of goals, challenges, and constraints, scientific communities may get a clearer view of how their interests are intertwined with those of their members.”

    I wonder if fields that have a significant part of their scientific community engaged outside of academia find it easier to separate “what’s good for the field” from “what’s good for the profession”.

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