8/16/2011: The UK group that does the ratings says their procedures were not followed:
SWIP UK regrets to announce that we are withdrawing the Women-Friendly Department Recognition that we had awarded to the University of Oregon’s Philosophy Department for 2011. It has become clear to us that our procedures were not properly followed during the canvassing of opinion prior to making the award, and as a result we were not apprised of information that might have had an impact on our decision. Because these procedures were not followed, we feel we must withdraw the recognition, despite the impressive mainstreaming of feminist philosophy at Oregon.
8/11/2011: The Eugene Weekly has the story:
Allegations of sexual harassment by an unnamed male faculty member
of the UO Department of Philosophy by a retired faculty member have
led to an investigation by the UO Office of Affirmative Action and Equal
Opportunity (AAEO) and a lively discussion on philosophy blogs. Major
points of the online debate are if and how the unproven allegations
reflect on the reputation of a department known as a center for feminist
thought and an exceptional place for women to study.
An Aug. 3 memo to department faculty and students by Russ Tomlin, senior
VP for academic affairs, says the allegations were unfounded, in part
because “no grievance or complaint was filed by any alleged victim.”
The memo, requested by EW, states that there was “insufficient
evidence” to conclude that the UO policy on conflict of interest or
sexual harassment was violated. AAEO staff interviewed 25 current or
former graduate students, eight undergrads and one faculty member, along
with anyone else they were referred to who might know something about
the alleged incidents.
The allegations were made public recently on Leiter Reports,
a national philosophy blog by Brian Leiter. Leiter, in a July post,
wrote that a UO grad student told him “there is a faculty member suspected
of being a serial sexual harasser, and it was graduate students who
had to raise a stink about it, due to departmental and administrative
lethargy on the matter,” and that “a feminist philosopher on the faculty
urged quiet about this incident lest it cost the department an award
for being ‘women-friendly.’”
Here is one of the Leiter Report links. It is theoretically possible that Penny Daugherty’s AAEO staff did in fact conduct a thorough investigation and acurately conclude that there was “insufficient evidence” of policy violations. But anyone familiar with AAEO’s long history of incompetence under Ms Daugherty’s leadership will know that this claim by AAEO is not worth warm spit without documentation.
Here is an open letter from 7 UO philosophy department members, using this AAEO review as part of what can only be called an “argument from authority”. There is also a letter from VP Russ Tomlin on this, which I will post when I get a copy.