WASHINGTON, DC – Today Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) gave a speech about sexism in science on the floor of the House of Representatives. Her speech referenced a confidential report that the University of Arizona compiled about “lurid and disturbing” sexual harassment by Arizona astrophysics professor Dr. Timothy Slater, which harmed the careers of many of his students.
“This example shows why so few women continue careers in science and engineering. Some universities protect predatory professors with slaps on the wrist and secrecy, just like the Catholic Church sheltered child-molesting priests for many decades,” said Speier. “I encourage anyone who has experienced sexual harassment in science, whether it’s related to this incident or another, to call my office. Students enter astronomy to study the stars, not the professor’s sex life.”
A video of the speech is available here.
A copy of the report is available here.
This week, Speier also sent a letter to the Department of Education (ED) citing the report and requesting that ED issue a clarification of universities’ legal obligations to report such incidents when faculty or staff who have been implicated plan to transfer to another institution. That letter is available here.