UO AAEO Director takes faculty advice, resigns

10/14/2015: The NYT has the news here.

Whoops, that’s about Berkeley Astronomy Prof Geoffrey Marcy, not about UO AAEO Director Penny Daugherty.

10/12/2015: UO’s workplace relationships policy is broken

Literally. A UO Matters informant finally located and pointed me to the official webpage, http://workplacerelationships.uoregon.edu/.

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.17.06 AM

Enforcing this policy is the job of the famously incompetent Penny Daugherty, Director of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity. So it’s not exactly a surprise when you follow the first link, to the UO policy, and get an error message:

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.15.45 AM

And when you follow the “Faculty Members” link, you get this:

If you become aware of a colleague who is engaged in a relationship with a student:

1. Be aware that as a faculty member or anyone else responsible for the functioning of a classroom, lab, office, or other organizational unit, you are considered an agent of the university. As such, if you become aware of behavior that could constitute discrimination, or discriminatory harassment, you must report that behavior to your department head or director, or to the OAAEO so that the university can take steps necessary to address the behavior.

Emphasis added. I’m guessing this language has not been reviewed by a competent attorney.

10/11/2015: Professor apologizes for years of sexual harassment of grad students

The NYT has the story here:

Dr. Geoffrey Marcy, an acclaimed astronomer and leader in the hunt for planets around other stars, has been found guilty of violating the sexual harassment policies of the University of California, Berkeley, where he holds the Watson and Marilyn Alberts Chair in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

In June, the university concluded that Dr. Marcy had engaged in inappropriate behavior with students, including groping them, kissing them and touching or massaging them. He was told that subsequent violations would leave him subject to sanctions, as the vice provost, Janet Broughton, said in a letter, “that could include suspension or dismissal.”

Because of the confidential nature of such investigations, Dr. Marcy’s colleagues at Berkeley, which has been shaken by discrimination lawsuits under Title IX recently, and elsewhere did not know of the investigation until this past week when Buzzfeed broke the story and Dr. Marcy posted a letter of apology on his University of California website page.

… Dr. Marcy’s behavior has been an open secret in the exoplanet community for years, John Johnson, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and a former graduate student of Dr. Marcy, said in an interview on Saturday and in a letter that was circulated to the Harvard astronomy department on Friday.

Dr. Johnson said he had refrained from speaking out while he was still a junior astronomer without tenure and vulnerable to being under Dr. Marcy’s thumb — “something I’m not proud of.” …

UO Prof Jennifer Freyd’s 2015 survey reports very high rates of sexual harassment of female graduate students by UO faculty and staff. This is a worrying result to find, especially when these members of staff are supposed to be looking after these students. Sexual harassment claims in universities is something that is becoming more common. To help prevent any other university students from experiencing anything similar to this, it’s advised that you should speak out about your harasser like these students did. To see an example of one law firm you could contact, click here or consider finding a lawyer more local to you. It’s important that you don’t suffer in silence, talking to people can always help.

What are UO’s policies? How are they enforced in practice? By our famously incompetent AAEO Director Penny Daugherty? For what it’s worth I spent a few minutes on UO’s safe.uoregon.edu website and couldn’t figure out much. If you can, please post a comment.

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19 Responses to UO AAEO Director takes faculty advice, resigns

  1. Cheyney Ryan says:

    My apologies for commenting twice the same week in these pages, but I can provide info on this issue.

    I was the co-author, with Prof Sarah Douglas, of the senate motion in the 1990’s that led to the current policy on faculty-student ‘romantic’ (i.e. sexual) relations. That motion was initiated by faculty, partly in response to administration indifference to the whole issue. Once passed, it was “revised” (i.e. watered down) by the administration, the upshot being what we have today.

    The current policy, if that is the right word, is not just vague, to the point of meaningless, but incoherent. It says: [1] faculty should not have sex with students they supervise; [2] if they do, they should tell their dept head about it, so there’s no “conflict of interest”. (In other words: Don’t do X–but if you do, tell someone about it.) Added to this is the fact that the administration does almost nothing to publicize it, especially to graduate students, and almost nothing to enforce it.

    Perhaps this is why no one’s noticed over all these years that the whole policy is gibberish.

    After complaining to the administration about this–and getting nowhere–I conducted an informal survey some years ago with the help of my students on whether anyone even knew about the policy. My non-scientific conclusion was that about 7% of students had any idea it existed. One student, posing as an Emerald reporter, contacted 21 deans, assoc deans, and dept heads. Of them, 4 could say what the policy was.

    When I sent this info to the administration, its only response was to chastise me for not getting “human subjects” approval for the survey. When I raised it with Vice Provost Russ Tomlin, the person in charge of the whole issue, he launched into one of his endless, windy lectures on how “women make these things up” (his exact words)–the point being, I gather, that they were better kept in ignorance.

    The Senate Task Force strongly recommended the policy be revisited and revised. As reported in this blog, at the last Senate meeting Renee Desautel commented on the harassment of grad students and the urgency of revising the current policy. There are reasonable disagreements about what the policy should be. But the current situation is clearly unacceptable.

  2. Anne Dubreuilh says:

    I was a grad brought in years ago to verify claims of sexual harassment within our department flagged on surveys recent grads had taken upon graduation. A number of (early) grads from our department were called in to the OAAEO and asked a series of questions that suggested a serial harasser was in our midst on the faculty without any confirmation or additional support. Instead, we were told not to talk to anyone about this meeting. A select few were summoned multiple times throughout two terms. It was both isolating and frightening. When word finally did get out that this was a common experience among my peers and folks began to speak out, an impromptu workshop on sexual harassment, led by Penny Daugherty, was held for grads-only in our department. There, the ambiguities of the policy were not only further muddled, Daugherty went on to accuse outspoken grads of ‘rumor-mongering.’ I know the administration is providing more opportunities for grad training on sexual violence and harassment in our departments, the university mandatory online training for employees, and an hour-long fall workshop sponsored by the graduate school, but I don’t know that it’s gotten much better on the other side of things, as it were. I defer to Cheyney Ryan’s above knowledge regarding sexual harassment policies, though I wonder if John Bonine or another Senate member might speak to the policy changes made in 2014-2015 and whether/how they might impact institutional procedure regarding graduate student and employee experiences of sexual harassment.

    • Cheyney Ryan says:

      I believe I am familiar with Anne Dubreuilh’s case. Penny’s behavior was even more outrageous than here indicated. As part of her attack on students for “rumor mongering”, she alleged that no complaints ever been ever filed against the parties concerned (this was later repeated by the dept head + Ross Tomlin, in an open letter attacking all voicing concerns). This was a blatant falsehood, meant to silence those speaking up. When one of the complainants contacted the Eugene Weekly and offered to provide a copy of her complaint for a story about the case, Tomlin publicly retracted his claim (Penny + the dept head remained silent). Publicly attacking people for raising Title IX concerns, as Penny, Tomlin, and the dept head did, is itself a violation of the non-retaliation policies–meriting termination, in my view.

      • uomatters says:

        Thanks for reminding us of this case, and of those non-retaliation policies, Cheyney. It’s time to start compiling a complete list of AAEO’s mis and malfeasances.

        I’m hoping it’s no coincidence that the administration is expanding the “Room of Tears” in the basement of the Baker center, to accommodate additional administrators who have been placed on “special assignment” until their contracts run out.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Graduate School website says that the policy for romantic relationships between GTFs and their students is the same as the policy for all instructors, and they link to a state web site:


    • Proper Policy Location says:

      Well, actually the Grad School website has the link wrong. The “state web site” (that is, the download of the Oregon Administrative Rule, which was a UO administrative rule (regulation)) is left over from before. The same rule now has the following official location: http://policies.uoregon.edu/conflicts-interest-and-abuses-power-sexual-or-romantic-relationships-students. The Grad School should be linking to that web location.

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s funny, because two months ago the link was broken entirely. (One of my students asked me about the policy, and when I went to the Graduate School web page to find out, it led to nowhere.) I asked them to fix it, and the current version is what they came up with.

        • Proper Policy Location says:

          So what is funny about that? The fact that the Grad School didn’t know where to find proper University policies? The former Oregon Administrative Rules became UO Policies by action of the President at the end of June 2015. Then they lost their numbering and got moved to a new location during September 2015.

  4. UO Grad Student says:

    The page linked in this post (safe.uoregon.edu) doesn’t have much info relevant to graduate students from my cursory browsing. In fact, there are few policies for grad students when we wish make a report outside of our roles as GTFs. In my experience, the Office of the Dean of Students is really more equipped to deal with undergraduates- people who might need a class or dorm assignment changed so they don’t have to see their harasser/attacker.

    It’s important that grad students- especially those who are GTFs, but not working as GTFs when they might experience harassment- know that they are still eligible to have a union rep/steward present with them through the complaint process. Amber Cooper is a great advocate for grad students and has experience attending meetings with GTFs, but department stewards are also available.

    The AAEO website has a few links that don’t do much else to clear up how grad students report professors.



    This PDF suggests that student v. professor complaints can be appealed to the Chancellor of the OUS. Is that still accurate now? The PDF might need some updating.

    Ultimately, a grad student’s report will end up in AAEO (provided things haven’t changed since I made a report). Grad students may find best results by directly reporting to AAEO rather than going up the chain of command- Dept. Head before AAEO. You will have the choice to select a formal or informal complaint. They may encourage you to go informal by telling you that the professor will get a copy of your complaint and know that it was you who filed, but I think the formal complaint provides the most protection for the complainant in the end.

    The really unfortunate part of being a grad student faced with making a report like this, particularly for those in the sciences, is that if you’re faced with reporting something that may result in termination of your advisor/PI, you may be pulling the plug on your own grad career because of the way many departments support graduate students through their advisors. I believe this has the effect of disincentivizing graduate students from coming forward, leaving many to suffer through terrible work environments in lieu of risking their careers by coming forward.

  5. Publius says:

    Ask yourself:

    If the process for finding out about getting Duck football tickets were this confused, how long would it take the adm to (1) notice it; (2) fix it?


  6. Proper Policy Location says:

    UOM says: “Literally. A UO Matters informant finally located and pointed me to the official webpage.” Sorry, but your informant is a misinformant.

    The former Oregon Administrative Rules became UO Policies by action of the President at the end of June 2015. Then they lost their numbering and got moved to a new location during September 2015.

    The actual location of the policy is now here:


    • uomatters says:

      So http://workplacerelationships.uoregon.edu/ is not the official webpage on workplace relationships? Now I’m really confused.

      • Proper Policy Location says:

        I suppose it depends on what you mean by “official webpage.” It’s got a UO logo. The font is copyrighted or trademarked. So does that make it “official”? The webpage has no owner. Only a secret author. No date. And even it did, so what?

        If you mean “official” in the sense of having the force of law, no. We don’t work for whoever wrote that webpage. If we assume that the author was AAEO or Human Resources or some other part of the University, do we work for them? Nope.

        Policies are signed by the President. The President has some authority over us. But does the football coach? Some lawyer? Some director of some office that performs services for us? No.

        Official policies are on the “Policies.uoregon.edu” website. Period.

  7. Patrick Phillips says:

    People reading this thread will probably be interested in this post from UC Berkeley prof (and firebrand) Mike Eisen. Sounds like their training process is very similar to ours.


  8. Old Grey Mare says:

    I recollect going to a faculty training session on sexual harassment somewhere in the early nineties, at which a UO official (now long gone) waved a finger in our face and said “sexual harassment: don’t do it!” At least it had the merit of being concise.

  9. just another volunteer says:

    met tags in the page source say:

    meta name=”author” content=”Academic Affairs”
    meta name=”copyright” content=”Copyright (c) September 2011″
    meta name=”revised” content=”Wednesday, August 1st, 2012, 11:14 pm”
    meta name=”description” content=”Implications and Consequences for Faculty/Student Relationships”
    link rel=”pingback” href=”http://workplacerelationships.uoregon.edu/xmlrpc.php”

  10. Patrick Phillips says:

    Righteous indignation does what the UC Berkeley administration would (or they say could) not: