#MeTooPhD: The Scourge of Sexual Harassment in the Academy

Welcome new visitors to the blog who found their way here as a result of the Wall Street Journal article by Melissa Korn, Allegations of Groping, Lewd Comments, and Rape: Academia’s #MeToo Moment.

Use This Form


The Sexual Harassment in the Academy Survey is still open.

<—Please use this form to contribute your own stories. Please remember that this survey is focused on graduate training at the Ph.D., MA, MFA, JD, Ed. D, etc. level.



And, here is the Survey Spreadsheet, now over 2100 entries.

The Spreadsheet

I am proud to be one of the many exposing the scourge of sexual predation in the academy, where it is aided and abetted by deeply entrenched hierarchy, a preponderance of powerful males acting as gatekeepers to scare jobs and funding opportunities, and a culture of silence and evasiveness.  The academy is like Hollywood not just because there are so few professional opportunities compared to the thousands of desperate aspirants, but also because a few powerful men control access to careers for junior women and use that power to extract sexual access. This sexual access can take the form of rape and assault, all the way to inappropriate touches, glances, and comments right at the edge of plausible deniability.

I have written more about the damage all of these behaviors cause here in my Chronicle of Higher Education regular column, When Will We Stop Elevating Predators?

I hope the survey makes academic men profoundly uncomfortable. I hope it makes them second-guess every word and gesture they’ve ever made. I also hope it removes all plausible deniability from academic institutions. You are all on notice.

What cure for cancer do we not have because its inventor was hounded out of her lab? What solution do we have for global climate change do we not have because its discoverer was hounded out of her field site?  We will never know.

The women sharing their stories now, anonymously or not, are very brave.   I salute you.


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About Karen Kelsky

I am a former tenured professor at two institutions--University of Oregon and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I have trained numerous Ph.D. students, now gainfully employed in academia, and handled a number of successful tenure cases as Department Head. I've created this business, The Professor Is In, to guide graduate students and junior faculty through grad school, the job search, and tenure. I am the advisor they should already have, but probably don't.


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