I was hired at the University of Missouri-Kansas City the same year as Linda Garavalia. I feel fortunate to have worked alongside such a fine scholar as Linda. I recall her as bright, professional and reasonable, and pleasant to be around.
That she allegedly endured such unacceptable (and decades-passe) antics from two men in the Psychology Department is unconscionable. I applaud her courage and the efforts of her legal team in pushing her grievance forward to resolution - bittersweet and insulting as it appears to be (7/14, Local, "UMKC inquiry under way").
Sadly, universities clamor to be the next unattainably expensive American institutional failure, second only to health care. By advancing the professors accused of the sexual harassment, UMKC has done its part in pushing universities' bygone era of social justice leadership further into its history.
How is it possible for a departmental chairwoman to be unaware her university has an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Office? My condolences go out to women and students of color in the Psychology Department, should there be any.
S. Craig Rooney
The UMKC lawsuit story is a chilling reminder of my own victimization in 1979, long before sexual harassment was a common term. At that time, this type of unpleasantness was only referred to as "the problem."
In 1979 I was a graduate student at University of Nebraska at Lincoln. I had been recently divorced and been warned by my friends and classmates to watch out for a certain professor.
His class was a required course in my graduate program. Only because I had been told about this his modus operandi was I able to avoid his advances and scheme, which included suggested meetings after my 9 p.m. class for tutoring, etc. He threatened to take my credit-hours if I didn't comply.
I waited until the last week of class before I took this information to a faculty adviser. Since she had reports of other allegations concerning this man, she helped me through the red tape and then filed a report against him, and the university acted swiftly to correct the situation so my graduation was not affected.
I am forever thankful for the positive power of sisterhood.
Sandra G. Riedel