Students disciplined for warning about sexual harassment

Allegations had been swirling around William Jaworski for years.

An associate philosophy professor at Fordham University, Dr. Jaworski was accused of making female students feel “uncomfortable” and “unsafe,” according to a letter he received from the university. Many formal and informal complaints were made against him, two of which were substantiated, one for sexual harassment and another for unprofessional conduct. The letter said the “pattern of behavior” had gone on for over a decade.

So at the beginning of this semester, two seniors, Samantha Norman and Eliza Putnam, decided to do something about it. On the first day of class in January, they visited two of Dr. Jaworski’s Philosophical Ethics classes, taught at the university’s Lincoln Center campus, in Manhattan, before the instructor arrived. Standing in front of a white board with about two dozen students folded into desks in front of them, they delivered a warning.

“We introduced ourselves and said, ‘We just want you to know that there’s a history of allegations against this professor and multiple Title IX complaints,’” Ms. Putnam said.

They told the students to take care of themselves and take care of each other, they said. They were in and out in less than five minutes.

They have now been charged with ‘dishonesty’, although Fordham has also suspended Jaworski– which would seem to indicate their truthfulness. Read more.

(Thanks, J-Bro!)

The Women Were Pushed Out of Computing

In a brief article in Communications of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), Moshe Vardi maintains that the women in computing “did not just leave; they were pushed out.” Vardi sketches the history of computing, an area once dominated by women. He argues that “general ignorance” of computing history effaces the important contributions that women made to programming and code-breaking. The article offers a useful reading list of recent books tracing the history of women in computing, and the factors that led to the area coming to be dominated by men. Vardi concludes the piece by saying, “There is hard work ahead of us to start to undo the damage” and by sharing some resources about what the ACM is doing to get the women back into computing.

Read Vardi’s piece here.

Diversity Reading List

Diversity Reading List is an excellent resource, which aims to help philosophers include authors from under-represented groups on our reading lists. I’ve used it for various modules I teach, including one on aesthetics. Not only has it helped me diversify my reading list, it’s also introduced me to interesting new topics I might not have come across if I’d stuck to just including the usual suspects, as well as excellent work on the standard issues by authors I might not otherwise have read.

The site has recently been overhauled, thanks to a grant from the British Society of Aesthetics. The site now has a cleaner, more streamlined appearance, has been designed to be viewed more easily on mobile devices, is more accessible, easier to search and to share on social media. Have a look and see what you think!

And a big thank you to Project Manager Simon Fokt, and Assistant Project Managers Alison Toop and Andrea Blomqvist for all their work on the site.

CFA: Philosophy for Girls

Call for Abstracts
Complete essays due October 1, 2018


Dr. Melissa Shew (Marquette University) and Dr. Kim Garchar (Kent State University) are co-editing a volume of essays for philosophically curious girls and young women ages 15-20. The book is called Philosophy for Girls: An Invitation to the Life of Thought and will be a collection of essays written exclusively by women philosophers. Contributors will write chapters in areas of their expertise and thus will empower the book’s audience to think, know, and question.

The goal of the book is not to provide a comprehensive introduction to philosophy but instead to provide an entry point, via authors’ relevant areas of expertise, to philosophical reflection about and inquiry into the lives, experiences, and ideas of young women. To that end, we firmly believe that diversity is a necessary component of philosophy for girls and will be seeking diverse contributions from diverse authors. Lastly, while this book is undoubtedly a feminist project, the chapters need not be devoted to the content of feminist philosophy nor employ an explicitly feminist methodology. Further, the chapters should not lean too heavily on current events; we hope that this book will have a long lifespan. The book format and table of contents are at the end of this document. Instructions for authors regarding audience, voice, and pitch can be found here.