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While journalism and publishing’s “SHITTY MEDIA MEN” list attracted mainstream attention this week after its creator outed herself, media isn’t the only field with an open-source spreadsheet detailing sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination in the workplace. Another list exists for academia, and the sheet hosts over 2,000 entries detailing everything from gender discrimination to rape within universities around the world.
Called “Sexual Harassment in the Academy: A Crowdsource Survey,” the list, started in December, went viral after the Wall Street Journal wrote a story on Thursday, citing it as part of academia’s “#MeToo moment.” Spearheaded by former anthropology professor Dr. Karen Kelsky, she hopes the survey will fight the “conditions in which sexual abuse (and indeed abuse of all kinds) can flourish with impunity” throughout higher education.
“Because it is so difficult for many victims in the academy to speak out about cases of sexual harassment and sexual abuse, I have decided to create an anonymous, open-sourced Sexual Harassment in the Academy survey,” Kelsky writes on her website. “My hope is that this survey will allow victims to find a safe way to anonymously report their experience of sexual harassment. My goal is for the academy as a whole to begin to grasp the true scope and scale of this problem in academic settings.”
Unlike the “SHITTY MEDIA MEN” entries, Kelsky’s list doesn’t name specific employees or professors. Instead, the survey asks for details that paint a larger picture about the alleged incidents, such as the victim’s role at the university, their perpetrator’s job, the field in question, and the institution’s name. By doing so, the list points to a larger cultural problem within academia, suggesting department administrators enable sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination across academic fields.
Incidents vary, too, and some institutions appear multiple times on the list. Rutgers University, for instance, has 18 listings across the survey, ranging from manipulative professors to non-consensual touching. Meanwhile, 15 different allegations exist for New York University, from inappropriate comments to groping. Not all alleged perpetrators are men, either. Several women are reported on the list as well, including a female graduate student who aggressively propositioned a PhD student for a threesome, and a female department chair who made invasive remarks to a pregnant assistant professor.
“Sharing your story, even anonymously, can be transformative for victims,” Kelsky says on her website. “You can see that you’re not alone, that you did nothing wrong, that the structure sets you up for victimization and systematically prevents consequences for the perpetrator.”
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.