Students and faculty allege sexual misconduct by Ohio State academics in anonymous Google form
OSU ranks 18th for the university with the highest number of reported incidents
Last month, Dr. Karen Kelsky created a public Google doc providing college women with a platform to share their experiences with sexual assault and harrassment. The doc, titled "Sexual Harrassment In The Academy", contains roughly 2,000 reports, with 9 incidents reported at Ohio State.
Of those who submitted accounts, six were graduate students, two were undergraduate students, and one was a registered nurse at a university hopsital.
A former tenured professor, who was assaulted as an undergraduate at another institution, witnessed harrassment occur to female students while a professor at Ohio State.
There were "repeated incidents of a faculty colleague's pinching their [students] rear ends and making dirty jokes, both of which he just passed off as 'just teasing'".
This professor also described a situation in which one of their female students was stalked by a fellow classmate, saying "she [student] feared for her life". The professor intervened after the student approached them, making other faculty in their department aware of the situation. The faculty worked together to keep the student separated from her stalker. These experiences prompted this professor to keep a close eye on their students, encouraging them to speak up if something isn't quite right.
A graduate student, who was invited to a prestigious workshop concerning her academic work, detailed an incident involving a tenured professor.
After going to dinner with her workshop group the student began to feel uncomfortable when an older male professor asked her if she would go to a sporting event with him. She politely declined, but this didn't deter him from asking her again the next day. After she declined his invitation a second time she says, "I start to get wigged out by how he is isolating me from the group, and the fact that he seems to not want anyone else to hear this invitation, so I blow him off saying I think I need to be conducting research in the local archives, I need to check the holdings, etc."
The student declined a third time, noting he began to ignore her and dismiss her work in the following days. After the workshop she was notified by editors of the publication where her work was meant to be published they couldn't have an entire chapter on her topic. She spoke to other group members, informing them she suspected her harrasser played a hand in the omission of her chapter. The student believes she missed an early publication opportunity, and the incident caused her to question the quality of her academic work.
One of the most detailed accounts came from a graduate student whose professor made unwanted physical advances toward her.
According to the student, the professor made sexually inappropriate comments to her during a private lesson. The comments included "observations about blow jobs, [her] body, and how women were generally untrustworthy". She alleges the professor was rumored to have had sexual relationships with multiple graduate students.
She described an assault during one of her lessons, saying "he reached over and tried to kiss me —I responded 'do NOT kiss me', realizing that it was happening only because of the extensive rumors about him—and he said 'don't kiss you? or DON'T kiss you?' As in, 'are you being playful, or do you *really* not want me to kiss you?'"
The experience caused her to become generally untrusting of male colleagues. Being alone with other male professors began to make her feel uncomfortable.
The majority of those who submitted accounts did not report the incidents, citing the evidence wasn't substantial enough. Those who chose to report said their assaulters faced little to no punishment and were often allowed to leave the university with their reputations intact.
A significant number of incidents reported concerned students and a faculty member from the Department of English.
The Department of English Chair, Robyn Warhol, said in response to the document, "I found reading this document to be profoundly depressing. I felt sick as I recognized faculty behaviors reported at my own Ph.D. alma mater and as I took in all the misery and anxiety that students and junior faculty everywhere in the world are still suffering from the kind of climate that prevailed there in the 1980s. Patterns of sexual harassment in academia have not changed as much since then as I would have hoped."