Last week we learned of the dismissal of a faculty person for sexual harassment. Forced resignation has been the usual response to findings of sexual harassment or discrimination. This is one of a number of important developments. Last year at the May 3rd (2016) Senate Meeting, a sense-of-the-meeting motion was passed that (a) any committee that will review and/or revise procedures concerning sexual harassment and sexual assault should call on expertise from within the Berkeley faculty and (b) all cases of faculty (including faculty-administrators) found to be in violation of the policy on sexual harassment be sent for review and sanction to a new senate committee explicitly established for this purpose. In January the Chancellor’s Joint Senate/Administration Committee on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment containing representation from faculty across the campus delivered its comprehensive report and recommendations and earlier this month the Chancellor and Senate Chair announced the formation of a Peer Review Committee (PRC) that will be consulted on disciplinary measures to be taken against faculty found in violation of university sexual harassment or discrimination policies. This is progress that, in the short run, may expose other embarrassing and egregious cases, but in the long run should produce a better environment for all.
Michael Burawoy and Celeste Langan
Co-Chairs of the BFA.