UI faculty accused of sexual abuse and harassment by students and staff in anonymous Google doc
Iowa appears four times on the document that more than 2,000 individuals have contributed to
Last month, Dr. Karen Kelsky of The Professor Is In created a public Google doc called "Sexual Harassment In the Academy" where college students could anonymously share their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment at their schools.
More than 2,000 incidents have been reported so far, and four of them occured here at the University of Iowa.
Of the four incidents, three were reported by MFA students, two of which were related to the same department. The fourth was reported by an Assistant Professor.
One student alleges that in her first semester of graduate school, another MFA student "in a different, more prestigious field" sexually assaulted her at a party.
"I reported [the incident] and got a no contact order. No support was offered by my program," the student explained in the Google doc.
She also said, "I was quite young and started avoiding the community, and networking is important in my field. He tried to harass me around my funding applications through a third party. The program refused to apologize to me when I came to them directly near graduation and I feel shut out as an alumni."
The student admitted that the incident affected her greatly, leading to depression, PTSD and heavy drinking in attempts to cope.
Another student alleges that an older female faculty member was engaged in "lots up upper thigh grabbing or touching, awkward paternal-wannabe holds of arms, shoulders and hands, a weird kiss on the cheek once, and a straight-up butt grab."
A third student alleges that the head of a department in which she was enrolled suggestively complemented her outfit and put his hand on her thigh before the start of a class.
"In discussions with women on campus, I realized that every male professor in [this] department had sexually harassed students or peers," the student wrote.
The student explained that five other women from the department reported the department head's behavior.
"When he was disciplined, he entered class and shamed the group, saying 'Why don't you come to me directly?'" The student wrote. "He was eventually forced to retire. A former male student was hired to take his place, and was also fired for sexually harassing his students."
An Assistant Professor alleges that an Associate Professor and senior colleague questioned her sexuality while she was presenting work during a departmental seminar.
"He then followed up by inviting me to come ‘nap on his couch’ in his office if I was ever tired," the individual wrote. She also mentioned "several instances of invading personal space by touching" as well.
"After reporting the incident to my [department] chairs, I was made aware that ‘he didn’t mean it’ and that it would be disruptive to the department’s environment if I was to press for a complaint."
The Assistant Professor revealed that as a result of the harassment, she avoided the department for nearly a year, which led to a critical annual review blaming her for being "unavailable" to the department’s culture.
She eventually left her position at the University of Iowa to find work elsewhere.