Friday, January 3, 2014

What I Saw, What I Heard, What I Read: On Codes of Conduct

I have two stories to tell, in chronological order.

First, my then-girlfriend turned down a graduate school program in the sciences in no small part because she was tipped off by female graduate students that the program was hostile to women, and that multiple influential faculty engaged in sexist and harassing behaviors.

Second, I saw male tenured faculty members target female graduate students during a dinner, after hours at a political science conference when I was also in grad school. The faculty divided up the grad students before sitting at the table, isolating each woman. Looking back on it, it seemed like wolves hunting in a nature documentary.* I talked over and around the faculty members closest to me in an attempt to stay in contact with the women. Some seemed to just want the attention of a younger woman. Others may have wanted more. The two targets of this behavior now have PhD's and tenure-track jobs; I hope, and am somewhat confident, that this incident only took place at dinner, with no repercussions in the form of silencinggaslighting, and the like. We three graduate students reported this to our Graduate Studies Director, and that was the last I heard of it. The next year, at another political science conference, one of the perpetrators stared more than a little too long at a female companion while in the elevator.

So when you see me retweeting pieces about the American Library Association's Statement of Appropriate Conduct at ALA Conferences, boosting signals, the stories above, and others that either I'm not ready to tell, or aren't my stories to tell, are why.

Lisa Rabey has more stories, both hers and others, here (especially on page two). Some of those are below, loosely in the order they were tweeted, since Will Manley's piece was published and then deleted. If I missed any, please both accept my apologies and let me know, either via the comments, or twitter.
The above link mentions race as a factor in harassment as well, which is a cleavage absent from many of the others for a variety of reasons, chief among them that librarianship and Masters of Library and Information Science programs are overwhelmingly white.
* And yes, the aggressive male, the prey... that is an awful, harmful stereotype. And I felt it all the same.

Elsewhere on this site: An Open Letter to Male Librarians.

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