Female “Unfriendly” Philosophy Department

On January 31st, the University of Colorado Boulder released a sexual harassment and bullying report within the school’s philosophy department.

The Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) of the American Philosophical Association (APA), whose purpose, among others, is to “identify unfair or discriminatory practices and to advise the Board and the members of the Association of ways in which they may be rectified,” conducted the investigation and assessment of the alleged misconduct.

The CSW of APA investigation reported that in terms of the department’s academic standards, students were overall satisfied. However, students and faculty also raised concerns over the unprofessional and inappropriate conducts towards women. Among its findings, the CSW of APA’s investigation asserted the following:

  • “Unacceptable sexual harassment, inappropriate sexualized unprofessional behavior, and divisive uncivil behavior.
  • “This environment has harmed women and men and members of every stakeholder group in the department.”

The CWS of the APA also noted that among CU Boulder’s philosophy department, female students felt uncomfortable working with some of the faculty because they were either victims of harassment themselves or they witnessed inappropriate behavior.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, title IX of the Education Amendments states that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance,” thus, making sexual harassment, sexual violence and/or bullying a prohibited type of harassment and discrimination under federal law.

But what is sexual harassment?

The U.S. Department of Education defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual behavior that:

“Can take different forms depending on the harasser and the nature of the harassment. The conduct can be carried out by school employees, other students, and non-employee third parties, such as a visiting speaker. Both male and female students can be victims of sexual harassment, and the harasser and the victim can be of the same sex.”

Late in January, CU Boulder’s chancellor, Philip P. DiStefano, revealed the department’s changes, including the removal of CU Boulder’s philosophy department chairman Graeme Forbes and the suspension of graduate admissions until 2015.

For more information:

Read the full CSW of APA Report

American Philosophical Association Committee on the Status of Women

If you’re a UCLA student, and believe you’ve been discriminated against, please go to:

 Admin Policies

 Reporting Misconduct

To contact UCLA’s Sexual Harassment Office:

Pamela Thomason
Sexual Harassment and Title IX Officer
[email protected]

Cathy Bell
Administrative Assistant
[email protected]

You can also find more information at UCLA’s website:

Sexual Harassment Prevention Office


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