WBEZ | sexual harassment http://www.wbez.org/tags/sexual-harassment Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Sexual harassment case shines light on science's dark secret http://www.wbez.org/news/sexual-harassment-case-shines-light-sciences-dark-secret-113378 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/10578743305_4cb163b81d_z.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="(flickr/Canadian Film Centre)" /></div><p>A sexual harassment case is sending shock waves through the scientific community this week, and raising questions nationwide about how common sexual harassment is in science and why so little is typically done to stop it.</p><p>A six-month investigation by the University of California, Berkeley concluded in June that a faculty member, renowned astronomer Geoffrey Marcy, violated multiple sexual harassment policies over the course of a decade.</p><p>Marcy has been a leader in the hunt for Earth-like planets beyond our solar system, was head of a $100 million&nbsp;<a href="http://www.breakthroughinitiatives.org/">project</a>&nbsp;aimed at finding life on other planets, and has often been touted as a possible candidate for the Nobel Prize.</p><p>But he resigned Wednesday after a number of faculty members and students in his department publicly released letters condemning his alleged inappropriate behavior with students, and the university&#39;s inadequate response in dealing with it.</p><p>Marcy hasn&#39;t responded to NPR&#39;s request for an interview. He denies some of the allegations, but he posted a public&nbsp;<a href="http://w.astro.berkeley.edu/~gmarcy/MarcyLetter_October7.pdf">apology</a>&nbsp;&quot;for mistakes I&#39;ve made&quot; on his faculty website.</p><p>The school had kept its investigation private &mdash; even from its own faculty &mdash; until the online news outlet BuzzFeed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/azeenghorayshi/famous-astronomer-allegedly-sexually-harassed-students">broke</a>&nbsp;the story last week.</p><p>Aside from stating that &quot;Marcy violated campus sexual harassment policy,&quot; the university released no details about&nbsp;what the investigation found. But according to BuzzFeed, the report concluded that Marcy&#39;s offensive behavior included unwanted massages, kissing and groping of at least four students, from 2001 to 2010.</p><p>One of these students was&nbsp;<a href="http://space.mit.edu/people/ballard-sarah">Sarah Ballard</a>, now a postdoctoral fellow in astronomy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She first met Marcy a decade ago when she was an undergraduate at Berkeley. He taught her astronomy class and showed special interest in her career, she tells NPR.</p><p>&quot;To have a really renowned scientist praise you &mdash; and praise your ability &mdash; you can imagine, was really encouraging to me,&quot; she says.</p><p>At first, she and Marcy met a few times at cafes around campus, where they talked about astronomy and her career. But sometimes, she says, the conversation became too personal. He talked about when he was young, having sex with a former girlfriend.</p><p>Then one day, Marcy gave Ballard a ride home. He parked the car by her house. &quot;The fact that we were in the car together suddenly made me feel really uncomfortable,&quot; she says. &quot;I think I really realized that the tenor of the mood was really wrong.&quot;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/geoff-marcy-29b56e73dabcdde49c9b7d94c9b5010e57f3f05f-s1200.jpg" style="height: 405px; width: 540px;" title="Astronomer Geoffrey Marcy, shown here at a scientific conference in 2015, resigned Wednesday from his faculty position at the University of California, Berkeley. (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Breakthrough Initiatives)" /></p><p>As Ballard started to get out of the car, the professor &quot;reached over and was rubbing the back of my neck,&quot; she says. She left the car &mdash; and stopped getting together with Marcy outside of class.</p><p>Ballard says she was afraid to report Marcy. She didn&#39;t want to hurt her chances of going to graduate school. It&#39;s a common and very real conundrum for many women hoping to pursue university research careers, says&nbsp;<a href="http://evmed.asu.edu/katie-hinde">Katie Hinde</a>, a biologist at Arizona State University.</p><p>&quot;Academia has a particular climate that allows sexual harassment, sexual assault and sexual abuses to persist,&quot; Hinde tells NPR. Last year, she co-authored one of the few studies aimed at figuring out how common sexual harassment is in science.</p><p>Hinde and her colleagues&nbsp;<a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0102172">surveyed</a>&nbsp;roughly 500 women doing fieldwork in a range of scientific disciplines. Seventy percent of those women told the researchers they had experienced sexual harassment, often from their mentors or supervisors &mdash; &quot;people who had power over their career, who had power over their research,&quot; Hinde says.</p><p>In science, letters of recommendation from mentors are particularly crucial to obtaining a coveted faculty position, Hinde says. When a mentor sexually harasses or assaults a woman, it backs her into a corner: She can either report the offense, and possibly hurt her career. Or she can try to ignore it.</p><p>In fact, most harassment is never reported, says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.awis.org/?page=awis_staff">Heather Metcalf</a>, research director of the Association for Women in Science.</p><p>Women are often told to keep quiet about lewd comments, touching and leering, she says. &quot;There is a bit of a norm for those behaviors to sort of be brushed off, rather than be taken seriously.&quot;</p><p>An incident last summer involving the prestigious journal&nbsp;<em>Science&nbsp;</em>shows how common this attitude is, Metcalf says. A young female scientist wrote to the journal&#39;s advice column, asking what she should do about a situation in the lab where she worked.</p><p>&quot;She was really enjoying the scientific work she was doing, but she was feeling really uncomfortable because she kept catching her supervisor trying to take a peek down her blouse,&quot; Metcalf says.</p><p>The magazine columnist essentially advised the woman to say nothing &mdash; to turn a blind eye, Metcalf says.&nbsp;<em>Science&nbsp;</em>eventually retracted the column.</p><p>But the culture of keeping silent about sexual harassment continues.</p><p>In Marcy&#39;s case, it took years of complaints before the university took up its investigation. Then it disciplined him privately.</p><p>The university, which declined an interview with NPR, confirmed in a written statement that Marcy was told to follow strict behavior guidelines or &quot;be immediately subject to sanctions that could include suspension or dismissal.&quot; This agreement was the &quot;most certain and effective option for preventing any inappropriate future conduct,&quot; according to the statement.</p><p><a href="http://www.eisenlab.org/eisen/?page_id=9">Michael Eisen</a>, a molecular biologist at Berkeley, says the school didn&#39;t go far enough.</p><p>&quot;In essence the university convicted him,&quot; Eisen says, &quot;and what was so stunning to me was that Marcy got, at best, something you would describe as a slap on the wrist.&quot;</p><p>By not punishing him, Eisen says, &quot;they&#39;re all but ensuring this kind of behavior is going to continue from others. Basically they&#39;re saying there are no consequences for this type of behavior.&quot;</p><p>In the days since the news got out, many scientists have demanded consequences.</p><p>Thousands of scientists have signed an online&nbsp;<a href="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1cmFVBKgxybJ874bjA3XdsjtUaddKFalgXcmJLzN7deA/viewform?c=0&amp;w=1&amp;fbzx=6291083879266593521">petition</a>&nbsp;supporting the women who accused Marcy of harassment. And 24 faculty members in the department of astronomy at Berkeley signed and released a letter Monday that said, in part, &quot;We believe that Geoff Marcy cannot perform the functions of a faculty member.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/16/448944541/sexual-harrassment-case-shines-light-on-sciences-dark-secrect?ft=nprml&amp;f=448944541" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 16 Oct 2015 13:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sexual-harassment-case-shines-light-sciences-dark-secret-113378 Former CHA CEO Woodyard resigned amid sexual harassment allegations http://www.wbez.org/news/former-cha-ceo-woodyard-resigned-amid-sexual-harassment-allegations-109182 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cha_131118_nm.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Charles Woodyard, the former CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority, left the agency amid sexual harassment allegations, WBEZ has learned.</p><p>On Oct. 15, Woodyard abruptly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-housing-authority-ceo-resigns-108927">resigned</a> after two years on the job. At the time CHA released a statement that quoted Woodyard as saying &ldquo;I am pursuing other opportunities that I hope will benefit my family and my career.&rdquo; Woodyard added he wanted to &ldquo;spend more time guiding&rdquo; his teenage son. But on Oct. 14, CHA signed a $99,000 settlement agreement with a former employee. WBEZ obtained the confidential agreement.</p><p>The female employee &ndash; whose name is redacted in records &ndash; alleges that she was a victim of sexual harassment, including physical contact by Woodyard. She alleges that she continues to require medical treatment for physical and emotional distress.</p><p>CHA and Woodyard deny the allegations.</p><p>&quot;The allegations are false. I never sexually harassed anyone,&quot; Woodyard told WBEZ.</p><p>The agreement says that one of the public housing agency&rsquo;s reasons for settling is to avoid the expense and inconvenience of defending itself. The $99,000 includes back wages, attorneys&rsquo; fees and medical treatment for the former employee.</p><p>&ldquo;The board took this allegation seriously, and determined it was in the best interest of the agency to settle it,&rdquo; CHA board chair Z. Scott said in a statement.</p><p>In August, the female employee filed a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that said &ldquo;during my employment, I was subject to sexual harassment. I complained to Respondent. Subsequently, I was disciplined and discharged. I believe that I have been discriminated against because of my sex, female, and in retaliation for engaging in protected activity.&rdquo; She indicated that the latest discrimination took place in June.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Woodyard in 2011. Lewis Jordan, the previous CEO, was pushed out amid questions surrounding CHA credit card use. Woodyard had run the public housing authority in Charlotte, N.C. and has an extensive real estate background. His resignation from CHA took effect Nov. 1.</p><p>Beyond the sexual harassment allegations, there had also been concerns about how quickly Woodyard was getting things done. CHA is two years from supposedly finishing its massive original $1.6 billion Plan for Transformation, the blueprint for tearing down public housing and replacing some developments with mixed-income communities. CHA revealed Plan Forward, the second phase of the plan, this past spring. It focuses on acquiring homes in neighborhoods across the city for rehab and boosting economic activity around CHA sites.</p><p>The economy and fickle housing market have slowed down progress especially for selling market-rate units. Meanwhile, CHA promised it would rehabilitate or redevelop 25,000 units for public housing families. For fiscal year 2014, CHA plans to deliver 562 public housing units, but none of them will be on mixed-income sites. Originally, the Plan for Transformation was a five-year plan. Today, it&rsquo;s supposed to be completed by 2015. That would mean the CHA would have to deliver a whopping 7,000 units by then.</p><p>Michael Merchant, former commissioner of the city Department of Buildings, is the new CEO.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is a WBEZ reporter. Email:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a>&nbsp;Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p></p> Mon, 18 Nov 2013 14:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/former-cha-ceo-woodyard-resigned-amid-sexual-harassment-allegations-109182 The problem that won't go away: Chicago's casting couches http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-10/problem-wont-go-away-chicagos-casting-couches-92862 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-10/castingcouch_flickr_davidcwong88.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As a member of the Association for Women Journalists–Chicago, I’m looking forward to its&nbsp;panel tomorrow night “Women in the Workplace–Yes, Sexual Harassment Still Exists.” The&nbsp;subject is one of those things, like race discrimination, that we like to think we’ve gotten past.&nbsp;But ask anyone in what the lawyers call “the protected class,” and you’ll hear quite a different&nbsp;story. This summer I watched an African-American friend struggle through a job search marked&nbsp;by sudden withdrawals of employer interest when he showed up for his interviews with black&nbsp;skin. Likewise, this spring I heard about the most blatant form of sexual harassment being&nbsp;practiced at one of Chicago’s Off-Loop theaters.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-10/castingcouch_flickr_davidcwong88.jpg" title="A casting couch on the curb (Flickr/davidcwong88)" width="500" height="372"></p><p style="text-align: left;"><br> Unsurprisingly, the victim was unwilling to risk her career by going public. It’s not just that the&nbsp;offender is in a position to control her ability to work at his theater; it’s that the very concept of a&nbsp;“casting couch” seems risible, making the complainant look–what is it they said about Anita&nbsp;Hill?&nbsp; “A little bit nutty and a little bit slutty”? Better to keep your mouth shut and somehow&nbsp;steer clear of that corner of the business.<br> <br> But it’s probably not just a corner of the business. Though sexual harassment is rarely as blatant&nbsp;as “Sleep with me or I’ll fire/won’t hire you,” most workplaces–and theater is no exception–are&nbsp;shot through with male bosses who are too friendly, male co-workers who are implacably hostile,&nbsp;and all the other symptoms of unchecked power to demean and intimidate women. And who has&nbsp;more unchecked power than a director in the midst of auditions?<br> <br> In other cities, where the acting corps isn’t so strong, it might be possible to detect the use of the&nbsp;casting couch. But with&nbsp;Chicago’s surplus of extremely capable actresses, no one in the audience will be any the wiser if&nbsp;the one who made it onstage had to make it backstage first.<br> <br> And yes, I’m perfectly aware that I’ve written as though women directors don’t abuse their power&nbsp;over male actors in this fashion.&nbsp; That’s because I don’t think they do, any more than women&nbsp;politicians send photos of their genitals to male constituents. In my experience, sexual&nbsp;harassment generally means harassment of women. If your experience is different–or if it’s the&nbsp;same, and you’re a woman who’s been subjected to sexual extortion or a hostile work&nbsp;environment in the theater–I heartily encourage you to share it at the AWJ panel and/or in the&nbsp;comments below; no names need be used.<br> <br> And if you’d just like to learn other women’s stories, and hear a panel of experts (a lawyer, a&nbsp;human resources professional and a psychologist) talk about how to handle the problem and&nbsp;make sure the bastard gets what he deserves, come join us at 6:30 tomorrow at the Chopin, 1543&nbsp;West Division. Register <a href="http://awj.camp8.org/events">here</a>.&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 10 Oct 2011 14:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-10/problem-wont-go-away-chicagos-casting-couches-92862