New Motion in Ludlow Case; Faculty Respond (with updates from Kvanvig, Garthoff, and Lockwood)


A new motion was filed on January 6th by lawyers for the undergraduate student allegedly assaulted by Northwestern University professor of philosophy Peter Ludlow (previously). The student’s lawsuit against Northwestern for mishandling her complaints was dismissed this past November. This motion claims to establish that there is newly discovered evidence that should void the earlier dismissal. The new evidence comes in the form of an affidavit from Heidi Lockwood (Southern Connecticut State), who, owing to her articles and writings about sexual misconduct in the philosophy profession, has had numerous conversations with various philosophers who have contacted her about Ludlow’s “long history of troubling behavior and sexual misconduct.”

Lockwood reports on conversations that indicate that faculty at Northwestern had reason to be concerned about Ludlow in regard to sexual misconduct prior to his being hired; in particular, that they were aware that the girlfriend he brought with him on his trip to interview at Northwestern was a former undergraduate of his from Michigan (though it is not said whether the relationship began while the woman was still a student). Additionally, she reports learning that faculty were inhibited from making public expressions of complaint and support for “fear of being sued by Ludlow, or fear of irritating the administration by publicly showing support for the complainants.”

(The above information is my summary of some of the key points in the motion, which includes Lockwood’s affidavit. Because the affidavit contains a number of other new, specific allegations against Ludlow, based on reported conversations, I am not quite comfortable posting it at this time.)

In response to this motion, three members of the Northwestern Department of Philosophy faculty—Sandy Goldberg, Jennifer Lackey, and Baron Reed—have issued the following statement:

We—Sandy Goldberg, Jennifer Lackey, and Baron Reed (the members of the Northwestern Philosophy Department’s Search Committee that recommended hiring Peter Ludlow in 2008)—would like to clarify both the circumstances under which Peter Ludlow was hired at Northwestern and our response to concerns raised about his conduct. We do so because a motion was recently filed in federal court (on 01/06/15) that contains various falsehoods and thereby egregiously misrepresents the actions and states of knowledge, not only of each of us individually, but also of the Search Committee, the Philosophy Department, and the University.

We categorically deny that we had knowledge prior to the hiring of Peter Ludlow at Northwestern of any allegations that he had sexual relations of any sort with his students. No concern was ever expressed to any of us by anyone that Ludlow engaged in sexual misconduct at his previous institutions (or in other conduct that would pose a threat to our students), nor did we have any reason to think that Ludlow’s past should be investigated further. Since Ludlow joined Northwestern’s Philosophy Department, any concern that has been raised to any one of us about Ludlow’s conduct has been thoroughly and promptly addressed, with unwavering support for those who have come forward with allegations or concerns.

We are, and have been, steadfastly committed to ensuring that our department is a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment for all of its members. 

UPDATE 1a (1/8/15):  Jonathan Kvanvig (Baylor), one of the parties whose conversations with Lockwood is mentioned in her affidavit, has written to me to say that his name was used in it without his permission and that the account of what he said is inaccurate.

UPDATE 1b (1/9/15): Kvanvig, who had hoped that the affidavit would be edited to exclude references to him, has now learned that this will not happen, and has provided the following elaboration on his prior statement:

Those of you following the Daily Nous announcement about new filings in the Northwestern case, I have a statement to make, prompted by the fact that the affidavit will not be edited to exclude any reference to me:

I am on the side of doing whatever I can to stop the insanity in our profession regarding sexual misconduct. But I will not be a pawn to be used by those on the same side, and I have been.

I was cited extensively in the most recent affidavit from Heidi Howkins Lockwood and the lawyers involved, Kevin F. O’Connor and Ryan Estes of O’Connor | O’Connor, P.C.

Citations to me were included without my permission and without prior efforts to allow me to correct attributions. Both elements, by themselves, are egregious.

In addition, the citations are inaccurate in the following way. Heidi and I have had several conversations about the current state of the discipline regarding sexual misconduct. In every case, I have expressed support and willingness to do whatever I can to make things change. But also in every case, the conversations were about the rumor mill in philosophy regarding the cases in question, and in every case the conversations were about this rumor mill. So when I am cited as saying that “X happened,” the context was always, and would have been understood to always involve, the qualifier about the rumor mill. I have no knowledge of what has happened in the cases that have become public, nor of the cases that are still secret, with the exception of those at institutions where I have taught (which are, of course, not part of the issue here).

So, to attribute claims to me that certain things have happened is grossly irresponsible, since all that could be responsibly attributed is the claim that I, too, had heard rumors to such an effect.

I hope it goes without saying, but will say it anyway: the cause of improving the climate in our profession is seriously damaged by this kind of behavior.

UPDATE 2 (1/8/15): Heidi Lockwood passes on the following statement:

Releasing the affidavit was not an easy decision. I obviously have nothing to gain, and much to lose. The reason I decided to come forward—after many months of watching and deliberating—is because there are philosophers who have knowledge and want to talk, but are afraid to, either because they are afraid of retaliation in the form of a suit from Ludlow, or because they’re afraid of being censured by the philosophical community at large. If I have to act as a shield, to absorb the hit, then so be it. It’s wrong for us as a discipline to engage in bystander behavior, or worse. 

My priority will always be the victims. But I am a huge fan of Jennifer Lackey and Baron Reed—they’ve made a heroic effort to support the students, and to stand up when no one else had the courage to do so. And I’m reasonably certain that, when the truth is out, this will be apparent. The truth needs to come out, though. And, in light of the multiple lawsuits surrounding this case, the only way this can happen is via legal channels.

UPDATE 3 (1/9/15): The Daily Northwestern has an article about this latest development in the lawsuit.

UPDATE 4 (1/12/15): In the original post I said that Lockwood’s affidavit contained “a number of other new, specific allegations against Ludlow, based on reported conversations.” Concern about the evidentiary status of those conversations was a reason I did not publish the affidavit here at Daily Nous. Another reason, which I did not even mention in the original post, was that other philosophers were mentioned in the affidavit, either as sources of information or, in one case, as a seeming example of objectionable behavior. I did not want to fan the flames of curiosity, lest possibly innocent people get burned. But now that the affidavit has been circulating online, those mentioned are starting to respond. Last week we heard from Jonathan Kvanvig (see updated 1a and 1b, above). I have now received a message from Jon Garthoff (Tennessee), who has given me permission publish the part of the affidavit in which he comes up:

Philosopher X [someone at Northwestern whose identity is not revealed in the affidavit]… explained that Ludlow was not the only known problem in the Philosophy Department in 2010. At the time, Assistant Professor Jon Garthoff was engaged to a graduate student in the department, whom he had met in his capacity as a member of the faculty. When another visiting graduate student from Edinburgh arrived in 2010, Garthoff suddenly broke off the engagement with the first student and became involved with the Edinburgh student. Although the relationships were consensual, Philosopher X felt that they had a distinct adverse effect on the climate of the department for women.

In response to this, Garthoff has asked me to post the following statement:

I am writing to express my deep resentment regarding Professor Heidi Lockwood’s irresponsible and mistaken characterizations of me and my relationships in the affidavit she submitted in connection with [the undergraduate’s] lawsuit against Northwestern University. Ending the more than five-year relationship with my ex-fiancee was the most painful and difficult experience of my life, and while I do not presume to speak for my ex-fiancee I daresay I expect it was for her as well. My now more than four-year relationship with my wife (referred to in the affidavit as a “visiting graduate student from Edinburgh”) has been, is, and will continue to be the most important and valuable element of both my life and hers. It is profoundly offensive of Professor Lockwood to submit a legal affidavit which suggests through innuendo, factual mistakes, and grossly misleading context that either or both of these deep, serious, committed, lengthy, exclusive relationships was the product, constituent, aspect, or cause of an unprofessional (much less exploitative or harassing) atmosphere.

Professor Lockwood has indicated to me that she is “in no way asserting the truth of anything that was said” to her about me, including what she reported in the affidavit. She has indicated further that it “would be foolish and irresponsible to do so without investigating”, something she has “neither authority nor training” to do. The first of these three statements strains credibility, but even if it is true, Professor Lockwood thereby admits to the gross irresponsibility of going out of her way to submit, over her signature and for potential use in a legal proceeding, claims she may not believe to be true.

There is exactly one paragraph in the affidavit which pertains to me. It consists in four sentences, which read as follows:

Sentence 1: “Philosopher X also explained that Ludlow was not the only known problem in the Philosophy Department in 2010.”

That this vague slander refers to me is made clear by the subsequent sentence. The characterization of me as a “known problem” in any department at any time is patently false and is given no substantiation in Professor Lockwood’s affidavit. The placement of this characterization after the apparently factive term “explained that” is specially irresponsible. It is simply outrageous that this characterization immediately follows sentences in which it is alleged that faculty exploited power asymmetries to proposition students and that Professor Peter Ludlow verbally sexually harassed students, and immediately precedes paragraphs in which it is alleged that Ludlow made unwelcome sexual advances on students and engaged in sexual misconduct.

Sentence 2: “At the time, Assistant Professor of Jon Garthoff [sic] was engaged to a graduate student in the department, whom he had met in his capacity as a member of the faculty.”

My ex-fiancee was not a graduate student at Northwestern in 2010 when we split up (nor in 2009 when we became engaged), rather at that time she was a former graduate student who received her Ph.D. and began work as a tenure-track assistant professor years earlier. Strictly speaking the claim that I met my ex-fiancee in my capacity as a member of the faculty is also false.

Sentence 3: “When another visiting graduate student from Edinburgh arrived in 2010, Garthoff suddenly broke off the engagement with the first student and became involved with the Edinburgh student.”

In addition to the factual error about my being engaged to a Northwestern graduate student in 2010, this statement contains additional factual errors about the timing of the termination of that engagement and the timing of my involvement with my now wife. The engagement was not broken off “suddenly” when my now wife was a visiting student at Northwestern, rather my wife and I did not even meet until the final week of her affiliation with Northwestern in April 2010 (excepting a brief conversation in February during a public event where I spoke on campus), and the engagement was not ended until July.

Indeed the affidavit fails to mention altogether the obviously relevant context that the “Edinburgh student” and I have been happily married for years. Professor Lockwood has told me she was unaware of this fact. One reason she was unaware is that she failed to contact me concerning this affidavit, which to my mind indicates a crass indifference to the truth. Indeed Professor Lockwood never informed me I would be mentioned in any affidavit.

Sentence 4: “Although the relationships were consensual, Philosopher X felt that they had a distinct adverse effect on the climate of the department for women.”

The first clause of this statement is bizarre in its obviousness in light of the relationships’ length and seriousness. The second clause is a claim about the feelings of Philosopher X, an anonymous philosophy graduate student at Northwestern University, and so is difficult to dispute. But it is of course relevant to what Professor Lockwood or anyone else should make of these feelings that the affidavit’s claims about the two relationships, which are based on the testimony of Philosopher X, are almost entirely erroneous.

Moreover the affidavit indicates that Professor Lockwood first heard of the feelings of Philosopher X on January 4th of this year and signed the affidavit the following day, having made no attempt to vet the accuracy of the claims and characterizations she reported. I find it difficult to reconcile this timetable and lack of diligence with any mature commitment to truth or fairness. I have encouraged Professor Lockwood to speak to as many of my present and past colleagues and students as possible, so that she may develop an informed opinion about my contributions to the life and atmosphere of the departments at which I have worked.

Professor Lockwood has indicated to me her “hope this whole traumatic saga teaches those who are inclined to spread rumors a couple of lessons”. This statement is galling and astounding, since Professor Lockwood’s affidavit spreads false and slanderous rumors about me.

But even more than her careless slanders I am appalled and saddened by Professor Lockwood’s willingness to characterize the two most important relationships in my life in such a lazily disrespectful and ill-informed way. That she did so without attempting the most basic efforts to learn whether the characterizations were remotely accurate is indefensible and insulting to all three people involved in those relationships.

I have requested that Professor Lockwood remove the four sentences about me from the affidavit and apologize for having included them. Thus far she has refused to do both. More generally she has refused to take any responsibility whatsoever for her failure in this matter to meet the standards of basic human decency. Instead she has attempted repeatedly to deflect all responsibility onto others.

Professor Lockwood has portrayed her affidavit to me as part of an “earnest attempt to tell the whole truth” and she has portrayed herself publicly (including on Daily Nous) as possessing a deep commitment to the truth. In view of the facts above I find these portrayals ludicrous and pathetic.

UPDATE 5 (1/12/15): Heidi Lockwood has provided the following statement:

An affidavit is like an investigation or deposition in the sense that when you speak with the attorneys, you answer questions, truthfully, to the best of your ability. The attorneys then compose the affidavit based on your answers. The question that my affidavit answers is whether anyone said anything to me about climate problems in the department — and, if so, what. What I said was a truthful answer to that question. I did not attempt to investigate the reports of those who gave me information because I have neither the authority nor training to investigate. And I never intended the affidavit to become widely available. This was not an unreasonable expectation, given that other affidavits and materials submitted in connection with this case — some of which would be equally controversial — have not been made public.

An affidavit is also not something that can be edited or changed once it has been filed.

Regrettably, I can’t take a stand either way on whether I think the statements were true or false. If I say that they’re false, I risk being held liable for defaming the named informants by implying that they did not tell me the truth. If I say that they’re true, I risk being held liable for defaming the accused by making a statement without the protection of the privilege of court documents.

I don’t feel that I’m responsible for the fact that the affidavit was made public in the way that it was. And to explain why I agreed to speak with the undergraduate student’s attorneys at this point would be to cause further unnecessary harm. That said, I recognize that publication of the affidavit caused harm to those who were named. I have offered my private apologies, and now do so publicly here.

UPDATE 6 (1/14/15): Jon Garthoff has asked me to post this follow-up:

Professor Lockwood appears to believe that submitting claims and characterizations in a legal affidavit does not thereby make those claims and characterizations publicly available. On this point too she is mistaken, and obviously so.

Professor Lockwood’s indicated fear of legal liability for defamation does not function well as an excuse in conversation with someone whom she has defamed. It is also unclear how a fear of defaming the “named informants” could excuse a failure to disown a paragraph whose only source is anonymous. What I ask is that she issue a public statement which makes clear both (i) that she disowns the claims and characterizations of the paragraph pertaining to me and my relationships and (ii) that those claims and characterizations should never have been included in her affidavit.

Professor Lockwood writes above: “I have offered my private apologies, and now do so publicly here.” The only statement resembling an apology in Professor Lockwood’s personal communication with me is as follows: “I apologize for the harm that was caused by the decision of the PMMB bloggers (and now perhaps others) to publicize the affidavit.” The readers of Daily Nous can decide whether that constitutes a private apology to me by Professor Lockwood for what she has done, and Professor Lockwood should now decide whether integrity demands that she make a fuller public apology.

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J.Bogart
J.Bogart
6 years ago

It would be helpful to have the order of dismissal.Report

Matt
Matt
6 years ago

I am no expert on the rules of evidence, especially in cases like or at this particular procedural posture, but I have some doubts about whether this is admissible evidence at all. It seems to fall under the hear-say rule, which would make it inadmissible. If so, I would be very surprised if this sort of thing was able to help the case at all. (Here we have someone who is not a party to the case testifying, or trying to do so, as to the truth of some alleged fact based on statements made by others out of court. Lockwood isn’t testifying about her own knowledge of what the department knew, but what other said about it. That would normally be inadmissible hear-say evidence. Given this, I’d be very surprised if this helped the case go forward at all.Report

anon
anon
6 years ago
Zara
Zara
6 years ago

In your summary of some parts of the motion you write, “Lockwood reports on conversations that indicate that faculty at Northwestern had reason to be concerned about Ludlow in regard to sexual misconduct prior to his being hired; in particular, that they were aware that the girlfriend he brought with him on his trip to interview at Northwestern was a former undergraduate of his from Michigan (though it is not said whether the relationship began while the woman was still a student).” I cannot tell whether you’re endorsing or merely attributing to Lockwood the claim that dating a former student is an example of “sexual misconduct”. I hope that it is the latter.Report

J. Bogart
J. Bogart
6 years ago

Thank you for the link anon.
For those not in law, the dismissal was judgment on the pleadings, i.e., the judge assumed that all the factual allegations of the complaint are or would be proven and then determined whether there was a claim (under Title IX, at least). His answer was no. Neither the motion to dismiss nor the court’s decision was about evidence; all that mattered (or should have mattered) was what was in the complaint. (Leave to amend can be given with dismissal under the rule, although in many jurisdictions one must request leave in or at the time of the opposition. Leave to amend is not mentioned in the order so my guess is that plaintiff did not request leave to amend.) It is unlikely that the current motion will revive the suit. My guess is that revival was not an aim.Report

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago

“[T]he judge assumed that all the factual allegations of the complaint are or would be proven and then determined whether there was a claim (under Title IX, at least). His answer was no. Neither the motion to dismiss nor the court’s decision was about evidence; all that mattered (or should have mattered) was what was in the complaint.”

Yes, but to the contrary of what you go on to say, that is precisely why pleading new facts matters legally.Report

J. Bogart
J. Bogart
6 years ago

Re anon 7: That is not how dismissal under Rule 12(c) works. The decision was not based on a factual record — no declarations or documents should have been considered — and offering up “newly discovered” facts is not a basis for reversal of judgment on the pleadings. Not, at least, in the federal courts. It is the same standard as 12(b)(6). You seem to be confusing Rule 12 with Rule 56. Whether there are other-than-legal reasons that new facts matter is a separate question, as is whether this motion has some value for the related cases.Report

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago

Bogart, no, I’m not confusing the two. Yes, for the purposes of judgement, the judge assumed all the factual allegations were true, and thus dismissal was not a matter of evidencing the particular claims of the original complaint. But, as I’m assuming you know, that’s why the plaintiff’s attorney filed a motion to amend, pleading new factual allegations.Report

Not a full professor at Princeton
Not a full professor at Princeton
6 years ago

It should be noted that avoiding such a spectacle as this is *precisely* why so many (often ignored, often ridiculed) voices in our profession have emphasized the importance of taking a careful, full look at the evidence in these cases. It is also *precisely* why these voices have raised concerns about the emergence of gossip-peddling blogs such as the many incarnations of “What It’s Like…”. Those who maintain these blogs are no better epistemically well-placed to evaluate the posts they receive than Heidi Lockwood was to evaluate the testimony she received (as Lockwood herself concedes), and have the same capacity to cause great harm with few, if any, compensating benefits.

It is fair to say that Lockwood has done an immense disservice to the cause she claims to support (one that I also support). The reasons why should be obvious to all. I hope that the sad, frustrating episode unfolding before us is a lesson to other would-be mouthpieces for unvetted gossip and innuendo, no matter how just one’s cause is or how just one takes it to be.Report

Not a full professor at Princeton
Not a full professor at Princeton
6 years ago

I’m sure that you are aware that ‘identifying information’ is not exhausted by proper names, but also by the kinds of detailed descriptions that the editors at the “What It’s Like…” sites often include.Report

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago

It is clear from the updates above that there is fair amount of concern, hurt and offense surrounding this situation—I take it that is obviously understandable, and I do not mean to minimize that with what I will say next. I do think, though, that there is another dimension not fully considered in the post above or the comments here (and discussion of it elsewhere). That is, how would you feel were you a student who believed herself to have been sexually assaulted, and there were a number of people who believed either that they themselves, or others, had information that regarded whether or not your experiences fell into a larger pattern of problematic behavior, if true, that information would help you seek justice, and no one came forward with it? I say this not to justify any missteps. Rather I say it because it is my perception that in the philosophical community there is a nearly systematic avoidance of risking involvement in cases like this that is incredibly damaging. In cases I have known about, it has been a constant feature of the surrounding social dynamics that there are people who care about justice, who believe they know something, but who avoid involvement (quite understandably!) for fear of risking their relationships, their career, and community discord, and that moreover, some injustice is better able to persist as a result (whether it’s a failure to provide reparation, or a failure to put an end to false rumors). This is one reason I have been (and continue to be) impressed with the Northwestern community’s ongoing willingness to speak out.

I cannot speak for anyone other than myself, but in my experience one of the most painful things about being sexually assaulted was having my conception of the world as a basically just place and my belief in the basic goodness of others ripped from me. I do not think this is an uncommon reaction to trauma. It took a lot of work to reorient myself in the world, to build up my trust again, to regain my faith in humanity, and my optimism. It would have been immeasurably worse were I in a situation where a multitude of others merely stood by who could have done otherwise.

I am very sorry for all of those who are hurting because of this, and for all of those who have been misrepresented by the allegations. But just as we are being urged to consider the perspective of those who were named in the affidavit, I would also urge us to consider the perspective of the student.Report

Anon
Anon
6 years ago

NAFPAP, and all the people who “liked” your last two posts: I don’t know about the other What’s It’s Like sites, but I’ve read most of the posts on “What it’s Like To Be a Woman in Philosophy” and, from the descriptions given there, I’ve never even come close to being able to make a guess at who the people mentioned are, even though I’ve been around the profession for quite a while. As far as I can tell the posters and editors are extremely careful to keep descriptions vague enough so as not to be in the least identifying, so it’s completely misleading to call that site “gossip-peddling.” Justin’s initial response to the first of your posts seems spot-on to me.Report

real_email_fake_name
real_email_fake_name
6 years ago

At least one story on “What is it like to be a woman in philosophy?” contained an identifying description, despite the omission of proper names. The subject of this particular story felt that it was inaccurate and unfair. She wrote to the editors and they eventually removed the story; but the damage had been done. I do not know how often this happens, but it has happened at least once.

(I’ve attached my work email to this post, but ask that my name not be published; I don’t want people guessing about the subject of the story)Report

Matt Drabek
Matt Drabek
6 years ago

The possibility that posts on “What it’s like to be a woman in philosophy” could contain identifying information is inevitable. That’s an inevitability of any anonymous discussion of abuse. Objecting to the entire blog on the grounds that it’s simply possible for identifying information to be contained is straightforward concern trolling, and the results of such concern trolling would be that no stories would ever get told (which I take to be the desired result of folks who make a general objection of that sort). Such objections should be ignored for the concern trolling they are. Naturally, the creators of the blog should and are taking every effort to ensure that identifying information doesn’t leak out.Report

gopher
gopher
6 years ago

Yes, it’s inevitable that the stories will contain identifying information. And it’s *obvious* that this is a problem. That’s not “concern trolling”, and Matt Drabek’s labeling it such is nothing but another attempt to silence criticism.

Drabek’s gratuitous swipe (“which I take to be the desired result of folks who make a general objection of that sort”) is pure speculation. Frankly, it says a lot more about him that it says about Not A Full Professor.Report

anon faculty member
anon faculty member
6 years ago

What Matt Drabek here wants to dismiss as “concern trolling” is, in fact, a concern not to cause damage to the reputation of people by providing a forum for unverified accusations and slanders.Report

Not a full professor at Princeton
Not a full professor at Princeton
6 years ago

Matt Drabek,

You are misrepresenting the substance of my concern. My concern has to do with the *capacity* for such sites to cause harm — which consists (at least in part) in the kinds of processes that lead to the situation described above — not with the *mere possibility* that they might do so.

In any case, as another commentator pointed out, such sites have *in fact* caused such harms. Perhaps you believe that such harms are just an “inevitable consequence” of such blogs, and compensated by the fact that if there were no such blogs, “no [such] stories would ever get told”. I predict otherwise. Rather–and hopefully after reflecting on the situation described above–people will adapt, learning how to share these stories in a way that does have the capacity for collateral harm against innocent people.

And if making observations about how best to improve the climate in academic philosophy–while also avoiding collateral harm against innocent people–is now called “concern trolling”, then so be it. That’s not the worst ad hominem I’ve heard flung around, and I will not be intimidated by your flinging it at me.Report

anongrad
anongrad
6 years ago

As a female grad student, I just want to register that there were a great many of us who experienced a collective sigh when What It’s Like went up. There was this huge, communal sense of, like, “Holy shit, I’m not alone.” So, while I take *very* seriously the risks associated with one-sided reporting, I nevertheless think it’s worth ruminating on what that must have been like for a lot of us. To finally see all these stories coming out, and to realize like, it’s not your fault — you’re not some kind of lightning rod for weird or inappropriate attention. This is happening to lots of women, all over the place. That was a huge relief, and I know a lot of women who felt like that platform was a real service to us.Report

Not a full professor at Princeton
Not a full professor at Princeton
6 years ago

Justin,

Perhaps I should clarify myself, since I realize that what I said might be ambiguous to the uncharitable reader. What I intended to say was that the two were the same *insofar as* they have the capacity to cause great harm. That’s compatible that the two not having the *the very same kind* of capacity to bring this about. I thought a charitable interpreter would read me as making the first claim (which is controversial, I grant) rather than the second claim (which is clearly false).

(Anyway, I think the issue here is somewhat of a red herring. Clearly, if one were to say that a ban on AK-47s ought to apply to AR-33s because they have the same capacity to cause great harm, it would be a red herring to respond “their capacities are different!” because they shoot bullets in different ways.)

Also, you are reading details into real_email_fake_name’s account that are not there. Nowhere is it said how this person was made aware of this post. It is entirely consistent with this account that this person only heard about this through other people. As well, I commend real_email_fake_name’s unwillingness to reveal more information about the case (e.g., how much harm and of what type were caused) in order to protect the person at the center of this post from further harm.

No, I don’t think what I’ve said is preposterous — and as I’ve argued above, nothing you’ve said shows otherwise. Indeed, much of what you and Matt Drabek have said simply misinterprets what I intended to claim.

About “concern trolling”. “silencing”, etc. — as I said above, keep throwing that stuff at me if you must (thus I’m not “whining”). Trust me, I can take it. I prefer to stick to discussing the arguments and evidence without resorting to unnecessarily heated, condescending language; but that’s just my style. Feel free to adopt your own.Report

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago

NAFPAP, I would just like to point out that while you are admonishing those who provide a forum for allegations or accounts of events when one is not epistemically well placed to evaluate the content of those reports, I suspect that neither are you epistemically well placed to evaluate the charge you have laid against Dr. Lockwood of having done an immense disservice to the cause she claims to support. I think we ought to be able to take the testimony above seriously and acknowledge that people were harmed, without thereby assuming that we have the full story, or that we understand everything which is at stake.Report

a non grad
a non grad
6 years ago

The analogy would be more appropriate if it had to do with AK-47’s and say, kitchen knives. Or at least, that is what Matt, Justin and others are suggesting the relation is. I don’t really know what you are intending to claim, so i can’t judge whether anyone has shown otherwise. The “What it is like” blogs are the same as ones where names are freely thrown around with no moderation in lots of ways: they are websites, they can take up lots of your time, etc.
We care about the extent to which they cause harm by being gossip or gossip-like. Are you suggesting that anything that has the capacity to cause harm shouldn’t be around? Are there any benefits that could outweigh this capacity? Isn’t the relevant issue whether they do cause such harm, and whether it is not outweighed by the benefits?

You say:
“Rather–and hopefully after reflecting on the situation described above–people will adapt, learning how to share these stories in a way that does [not] have the capacity for collateral harm against innocent people.”
I don’t know how you mean people should share these stories. Is your claim that people should keep their stories of harassment/assault private? I would think a moderated, anonymous blog where editors keep stories vague enough to limit identification would be the thing, but you seem to be claiming more than just the fact that the editors are doing a poor job of it.Report

anonymous17
anonymous17
6 years ago

In agreement with Anon at 14, I have been in the field a long time, but have never come close to identifying anyone in any of the stories on What It’s Like…

Of course if you are the one whose behaviour is being called out in the story, you probably recognise yourself. I’m sure that doesn’t feel very good. But being the object of a mindset that sees everything but a philosopher (or physicist or mathematician or engineer etc) when they see a woman doesn’t feel very good either.

There is a tidal wave of conscious and unconscious bias out there, and there is very little in the way of relief from it. If people can try to change their mindset maybe blogs like What It’s Like won’t be needed.Report

Jennifer Saul
Jennifer Saul
6 years ago

I edit What Is It Like to Be a Woman in Philosophy, and I make every effort to ensure that posts are stripped of identifying information. One or two occasions, I’ve failed to spot that identifying information was present. As soon as I was informed of this, I removed the information.Report

johnny_thunder
johnny_thunder
6 years ago

Dr. Lockwood’s excuse for not talking to Dr. Garthoff about Philosopher X’s gossip is that she didn’t have the required training. Why does she need professional training to get Dr. Garthoff’s side of the story, but not Philosopher X’s?Report

JL
JL
6 years ago

I don’t think your site peddles gossip as was insinuated above. I appreciate its contribution. Thank you for doing that work..Report

anon
anon
6 years ago

I don’t pretend to have any inside information about Northwestern, but Prof. Garthoff’s comment is interesting and raises a general issue about sexual harassment that I think philosophers should discuss explicitly: ‘Indeed the affidavit fails to mention altogether the obviously relevant context that the “Edinburgh student” and I have been happily married for years.’

Prof. Garthoff thinks it is ‘obviously relevant’ that he and his wife are ‘happily married.’ I’ve seen this kind of general suggestion elsewhere — if a professor meets a grad student but they end up happily married, no harm, no foul (to be clear, I’m not suggesting *Garthoff* met his wife when she was a grad student since that seems to be slightly unclear, I’m meaning to talk about a general case). This suggestion strikes me as completely confused on the issue of what sexual harassment is and why it is bad. One kind of sexual harassment occurs when people in positions of power and responsibility date people they’re responsible for — it is totally irrelevant whether those relationships, consensual, or lead to a long-term, fulfilling commitment.

Relatedly, I would *love* to see that defense made by a doctor explaining why she shouldn’t lose her medical license for dating her patient, “But we’re now happily married, with 2 kids, and a dog!” That’s nice for you, but that’s utterly beside the point.Report

johnny_thunder
johnny_thunder
6 years ago

I don’t think Garthoff is unclear about when he met his current wife. He writes:

“my wife and I did not even meet until the final week of her affiliation with Northwestern in April 2010 (excepting a brief conversation in February during a public event where I spoke on campus)”.

On the more general point:

I’m not an expert on sexual harassment, but I don’t see why dating someone you’re responsible for necessarily constitutes sexual harassment. I thought that, according to the EEOC, sexual harassment had to take one three forms: unwanted sexual advances, creation of a hostile environment, or quid pro quo. Dating someone you’re responsible for doesn’t, in and of itself, meet any of these three conditions. It will, of course, generally create a conflict of interest, and that raises ethical issues. (It’s worth noting that in the specific case in question, a faculty member dated a visiting student for at most a week. It seems unlikely to me that that constitutes a very serious conflict of interest problem.) But maybe I misunderstand sexual harassment.

If sexual harassment has to take one of those three forms, then a happy marriage seems relevant: it makes it much less likely that either party’s advances were unwanted or of a quid pro quo nature (though, of course, both of these remain physical possibilities).

Even if dating someone one is responsible for is in and of itself sexual harassment, the marriage might still be relevant to evaluating the nature and the severity of the harassment.Report

Matt Weiner
6 years ago

It doesn’t seem that Lockwood or Philosopher X claimed that the relations constituted sexual harassment, though, only that they contributed to an adverse effect of the climate in the department.Report

johnny_thunder
johnny_thunder
6 years ago

Matt Weiner,
Agreed, I was responding to anon #29. (Also, Lockwood isn’t claiming that the relations contributed to an adverse effect on climate, but only that Philosopher X said they did.)

It’s interesting to consider this case in light of the following blog post and ensuing discussion in the comments thread, particularly with regard to the question of the relevance of marriage:

https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/sexual-mores-1/Report