He has been given clear expectations

Why does this sound so familiar…?

Azeen Ghorayshi at BuzzFeed reports:

One of the world’s leading astronomers has become embroiled in an increasingly public controversy over sexual harassment.

After a six-month investigation, Geoff Marcy — a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who has been mentioned as a potential Nobel laureate — was found to have violated campus sexual harassment policies between 2001 and 2010. Four women alleged that Marcy repeatedly engaged in inappropriate physical behavior with students, including unwanted massages, kisses, and groping.

As a result of the findings, the women were informed, Marcy has been given “clear expectations concerning his future interactions with students,” which he must follow or risk “sanctions that could include suspension or dismissal.”

As word has spread that Marcy was not more severely disciplined, some fellow astronomers have begun speaking out about his behavior, asking for stronger sanctions and even telling him that he is not welcome at his field’s biggest annual gathering. On Wednesday evening, Marcy posted an apology letter on his faculty page.

A very inadequate apology.

David Charbonneau, a professor of astronomy at Harvard University, said the matter has broad implications.

“Geoff Marcy is undeniably the most prominent exoplanet researcher in the U.S.,” he said, referring to the study of planets beyond our solar system. “The stakes here couldn’t be higher. We are working so hard to have gender parity in this field, and when the most prominent person is a routine harasser, it threatens a major objective nationally.”

Exactly. This is why Tim Hunt’s “jokes” were such a bad idea: because things like that turn women away, so there goes your hard work for gender parity.

“After all of this effort and trying to go through the proper channels, Berkeley has ultimately come up with no response,” said Joan Schmelz, who until recently led the American Astronomical Society’s Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy. (Schmelz was not a complainant in Berkeley’s investigation.) “I’ve seen sexual harassers get slaps on the wrist before. This isn’t even a slap on the wrist.”

Famous guys don’t get their wrists slapped.

Harvard astronomy professor John Asher Johnson was a graduate student in Marcy’s lab from 2000 to 2007. During his first few years in the lab, Johnson told BuzzFeed News, he directly witnessed Marcy giving an undergraduate a back massage, with his hand underneath her shirt, alone and after hours in the lab.

Marcy, through his lawyer, denied this incident.

“What’s really infuriating about this is that anybody of my generation in the field of exoplanets knows that Geoff does this,” Johnson said. “Everybody is so afraid of doing anything about it that they are afraid of speaking out, but everybody knows it.”

Read the whole piece: it has a lot of detail.

It’s such a thing. Everybody knew about Cosby. Everybody knew about Shermer. Everybody knew about this guy. They were all too big to tackle.

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