Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WTF philosophy: Northwestern edition

Another news account of the student lawsuit against Northwestern University following an alleged sexual assault by Prof. Peter Ludlow contains even more disturbing details:
 According to the suit, the student told the professor of a philosophy class she took the previous semester about an art event that related to his field of study. The professor asked her to join him, and they met at the professor’s office and drove to the event together.
That night, the professor “insisted strongly” that the student drink with him at several bars and later at his apartment, even though she was underage. She repeatedly asked him to take her back to the Evanston campus, and said she felt uncomfortable and wanted to leave, according to the suit.
At the time, she was “too intoxicated to put up any meaningful resistance to [the professor’s] unwelcome advances,” she claims in the suit.
The student blacked out, then later regained consciousness in an elevator to the professor’s apartment, where he was “furiously making out with” her. She “begged [him] to stop, but he told her it was “inevitable” that they would have sex, the suit claims.
She lost consciousness again and later woke up in the professor’s bed with his arms around her, the suit claims.
The next day, the student told a different faculty member what happened, then confronted the professor who “begged [her] not to tell anyone and told her that he could mentor her academically or pay her money,” the suit stated.
Northwestern’s Director of Sexual Harassment Prevention, Joan Slavin, was made aware that the student had complained about the professor’s conduct and began investigating, the suit stated.
Two days after the art event, the student tried to kill herself “as a result of the stress and trauma of the events with [the professor],” the suit stated. She was diagnosed with PTSD and released from the hospital four days later.
Two months later, Slavin emailed the student, telling her that the university concluded the professor “engaged in unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances” toward her. The director went on to say that the student was “incapacitated due to the heavy consumption of alcohol” purchased for her by the professor.
According to the suit, the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office was made aware of Slavin’s findings, saying they would work with that office on “implementing needed corrective and remedial actions,” the suit stated.
A committee established to decide what kind of disciplinary action should be taken against the professor determined he should be terminated, but “Northwestern ignored its own committee’s decision and recommendation and continues to employ [him] as a professor,” the suit claims.
Remember, all these claims are included in the student lawsuit and have not been confirmed. But these allegations seem to be affecting Ludlow's standing at Northwestern and at Rutgers where he was supposed to be taking up a new job in the next academic year:

Rutgers did not confirm Ludlow had been offered or accepted a position.
“This was not brought to our attention by either the candidate or his employer. We are looking into this matter thoroughly including requesting all relevant information to fully evaluate his candidacy,” Rutgers spokesman Greg Trevor told The Daily in a statement Tuesday.
Leiter Reports, a philosophy blog run by University of Chicago Prof. Brian Leiter, said in November that Ludlow had accepted a senior position at Rutgers. The blog reported he would serve as the director of the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science.
Leiter confirmed the report to The Daily via email Tuesday night, saying the information came from both Ludlow and Rutgers and the professor’s position was “not in doubt.”
And at Northwestern:
Ludlow is teaching two 300-level philosophy courses this quarter. He taught at least one of these classes, Philosophy of Psychology, Tuesday afternoon as scheduled.
Ludlow was set to teach two additional philosophy courses Spring Quarter, but the philosophy department has since removed his scheduled classes from their website. As of early Tuesday morning, the philosophy department listed Ludlow as teaching a freshman seminar and 200-level class. Currently, the department website does not list Ludlow as a teaching any courses this spring. CAESAR no longer lists Ludlow’s freshman seminar, but the 200-level class was still listed as of Tuesday night.
Philosophy Prof. Sanford Goldberg, the chair of the department, directed requests for comment to University Relations.
Lost in all this is the well being of the student ---I hope she is doing well.

Meanwhile, there is this.

And more links from Feminist Philosophers.

Update: Feminist Philosophers also has a statement from Rutgers.

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