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UC Berkeley Buries Harassment: Colleagues Force Professor Out

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Astronomer Geoffrey Marcy, a leader in the search for life on other planets, resigned last week from the University of California, Berkeley, following an investigation into sexual harassment allegations. However, he was not asked to resign by the University. Far from it. The University had conducted a six-month investigation of Marcy’s conduct and determined that Marcy had routinely violated the University’s sexual harassment policies over a 10 year period. Marcy was found to have engaged in unwelcome kissing, groping, and massages of at least 4 students over the years. The University wanted to keep it quiet. After wrapping up the investigation in June, rather than discipline Marcy, the University told him to be on his best behavior or he might be disciplined in the future.

After learning of the findings months later, faculty at Berkeley were concerned that the University was sending a message that there were no consequences for such conduct and that the University’s handling of the situation would encourage rather than discourage similar behavior from others. 24 faculty members in the department of astronomy signed off on a letter saying they did not believe Marcy could continue to perform his job as a faculty member. A couple of days later, Marcy resigned. Marcy was the head of a $100 million dollar project searching for evidence of life on other planets and was considered a possible candidate for the Nobel Prize.

Does UC Berkeley Astronomer Marcy’s Downfall Signal Shift in Attitudes Over Sexual Harassment?

Did UC Berkeley Turn a Blind Eye to Harassment?

Geoffrey Marcy’s Berkeley Astronomy Colleagues Call for His Dismissal

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Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Jon Allison

Resistant To Retirement

Last week NPR ran a story titled “On Campus, Older Faculty Keep On Keepin’ On.”  If they have the option, many just aren’t ready to retire in their sixties.
Faculty who have achieved tenure cannot be terminated without cause and there is no mandatory retirement age.  One study found that sixty percent of faculty planned to work past age seventy and fifteen percent planned to work past age eighty.  Ninety percent of faculty who planned to work past the typical retirement age reported it was because they loved their jobs, while more than forty percent reported that one reason was concerns over financial security.  Currently, one third of faculty are age fifty-five and older compared to twenty percent of the rest of the workforce.
Universities don’t necessarily want tenured faculty hanging around so long.  When older faculty leave universities can replace them with cheaper, part-time and adjunct-instructors.  In fact, the percentage of faculty who are part time has climbed from twenty-two percent in 1969 to sixty-seven percent today.
Universities offer buyouts to encourage older faculty to leave, but often there is little interest.  Recently faculty at Hofstra University’s Law School were offered two years of salary to leave and no one accepted.  At Nebraska, only seventy-nine out of two hundred forty-five eligible faculty accepted a one year salary buyout in 2010.
The NPR story is here . . .

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By The Numbers

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog
A number of technology companies have released their Equal Employment Opportunity reports (EEO-1 reports) for 2014 and what they show is that there remains a diversity issue.  Twitter, Microsoft and Google employ zero African-American women in executive and management level positions.  Facebook, Intel and Amazon employ one African-American female each in such positions.  Executive and management level positions are held by white men 65% of the time, white females 14% of the time, Asian males 13% of the time, Asian females 3% of the time, Hispanic males 2% of the time, Hispanic females and African-American males 1% of the time, and African-American females less than 1% of the time.   The statistics for all employees aren’t much better for many companies.  Twitter, for example, employs 0% African-American females and 1% African-American males and Hispanic males and females.  It employs 25% Asian males and 8% Asian females.  The Tech industry is aware of the issue and there are efforts being made to diversify.  Find more details by following this link.

 

With respect to the wage gap between men and women in the U.S., the state you live in makes a significant difference.  Louisiana currently has the largest gap where women are earning 65 cents for every dollar earned by men.  In Utah it’s 67 cents and in Wyoming 69 cents.  The District of Columbia has the lowest pay gap at 10% followed by New York at 13% and Maryland at 15%.  There are some congressional districts within the states with the lowest pay gap that have closed the gap entirely.  Overall, still a lot of work to do here as well.  See the state rankings here.

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A Few Good Women

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog
Last week for the first time women graduated from the Army’s Ranger School.  Two women graduated – Captain Kristen Griest, 26, a military police platoon leader, and 1st Lieutenant Shaye Haver, 25, an Apache attack helicopter pilot.  19 women entered the training.  94 men made it out of 380 that entered training.
Ranger School was opened to women for the first time this past April as the Army assesses integrating women into more positions in combat units.  It is one of the toughest tests the military has.  It requires performing a number of physically and mentally challenging tasks under difficult conditions with little food and sleep.  It takes a couple of months to complete Ranger School if all tests are passed on the first try.  Many take longer to complete the training.  Of the 96 in Griest’s and Haver’s class, 40 went “straight through” and the rest repeated portions of the course.  Last year 4,057 attempted the course and 1,609 graduated.
There are additional tests that those who made it through Ranger School still have to pass to join the 75th Ranger Regiment.  The 94 men who completed Ranger School can continue on.  The 2 women can’t because the Ranger Regiment remains male-only.  That may soon change.
In January of 2013 then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey signed an order eliminating numerous limits on women’s service in the military and ordering a quarter-million jobs open regardless of gender.  The military was also ordered to engage in a review of requirements for combat jobs and make any arguments in support of keeping certain jobs closed to women by January of 2016.  Standards were not to be reduced.
The Navy and Air Force have few jobs closed to women.  The Army and Marine Corps still have numerous positions that remain closed to women which often involve fighting in small units on the front lines and doing physically grueling tasks.  The military is completing their reviews and will make any arguments to Defense Secretary Ash Carter in the coming months.
It appears that most if not all jobs that remain closed to women may open.  There remain deep divides over the wisdom of this.  Some believe if you can meet the established standards then you should be allowed to have the position.  Others believe despite that, there are still reasons to leave some jobs closed to women.
For more on this topic see . . .
The Washington Post Editorial Board: Let women serve in elite military units

Kathleen Parker: Military is putting women at unique risk

William Denn: Women in combat roles would strengthen the military

Dan Lamothe: These are the Army’s first female Ranger School graduates

 

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Customer Tells Lowe’s “Don’t Send a Black Delivery Driver”

Jon Allison

 Monday Blog

Last week a Lowe’s Home Improvement delivery driver in Danville, Virginia was told he could not make a delivery because he is African-American and the customer did not want a black person on her property.

Marcus Bradley has been employed with Lowe’s for 11 years.  He and Alex Brooks, a long-time coworker who makes deliveries with Bradley, were in their truck on the way to make the delivery when their manager called and told them to come back.  Their manager told them that the customer had given specific instructions that she didn’t want a black employee making the delivery.  Both were shocked, but they turned the truck around and went back.  Brooks, who is white, refused to get back in the truck and make the delivery without Bradley.  Another white driver made the delivery.

Upon learning of the situation, Lowe’s terminated the manager involved and apologized to its employees.  Lowe’s also issued a statement saying “Under no circumstances should a discriminatory delivery request be honored as it is inconsistent with our diversity and inclusion core values and the request should have been refused.”  The homeowner who made the request said “I got a right to have whatever I want and that’s it,” and “I don’t feel bad about nothing.”

Even where a company has policies against discrimination, managers still make discriminatory employment decisions.  Follow this link to read more.

14-Year Employee Terminated After Background Check Reveals 1990 Misdemeanor

BMW is going to trial soon on the issue of whether it violated employment discrimination laws when it used criminal background checks at its Greer, South Carolina plant that had a disparate impact on African-Americans.  The background checks were completed in 2008.  After reviewing the background checks 88 employees lost their jobs.  70 were African-American and many had been employed for years.  One was terminated after 14 years of employment because her background check revealed a misdemeanor from 1990 with a fine of $137.

Additional information can be found here.

 

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