Kagan on Pogge


The Huffington Post’s Tyler Kingkade has interviewed Shelly Kagan, who was chair of the philosophy department at Yale when Thomas Pogge was hired. In the article based on the interview, Kingkade reports Kagan as saying:

It’s pretty clear that he’s engaged in some pattern of behavior—the precise contours of which remain contested — but they nevertheless strike me as inappropriate and need to be condemned by the profession…

There’s no question he’s done damage in my department… I’m confident that’s why so many of my colleagues signed the initial letter.

Kingkade writes that Kagan expressed concern about the allegation that Pogge wrote letters of recommendation for actual and prospective sexual partners with whom he had little or no academic interactions. Kagan says:

And that means it calls into question the value of letters he has written or might yet write for undergraduates or graduate students in our own department, which then harms the reputation of our students, and makes it difficult or impossible (or less attractive) for our students to work with him… All of which makes it less useful (or worse) to have him as a colleague. Now much of this sort of damage gets done regardless of whether these charges against Thomas are true: it suffices that there is a pattern of behavior that makes them credible.

The entire interview is not published; just an article.

Readers may recall related remarks from Kagan, reported in the Yale Daily News, that were mentioned in an update to a previous post. From that article:

When asked whether sexual misconduct allegations were brought to his attention during the recruitment of Pogge, Kagan demurred, saying it was not his place to confirm or deny the allegations. Kagan added that had accusations against Pogge been brought to his attention, he would have discussed them with the administration.

Kingkade does not report on whether he asked Kagan about this.

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