Harvard issues its decision on Gary Urton and the charges of sexual misconduct. He was found guilty. Oh, if they only knew it all. I think they have chosen not to. I suggest reading Becky Cooper’s book, We Keep the Dead Close, for more information about this man.
Dear members of the Anthropology Department, Dumbarton Oaks, and Peabody Museum colleagues,
I am writing to inform you of upcoming changes within the Department of Anthropology that will occur as a result of disciplinary actions being taken regarding Dr. Gary Urton. As these changes directly impact the members of the Department, Dumbarton Oaks, and the Peabody Museum, I describe them here, as well as the findings that motivated them.
The Office for Dispute Resolution (ODR) recently completed a thorough and careful review of formal allegations made against Dr. Urton and concluded that he engaged in unwelcome sexual conduct and abused power with individuals over whom he had professional responsibility. Additionally, he engaged in persistent sexual harassment of a member of the community, interfering with that individual’s ability to engage in FAS educational programs and activities. Moreover, ODR found that Dr. Urton provided materially misleading information in the course of its investigation, conduct that had the potential of subverting the integrity of the University’s investigatory processes. The ODR review documented behavior that was in violation of FAS policies on sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and unprofessional conduct. In short, Dr. Urton exhibited a pattern of behavior that betrayed the trust of our community and violated our fundamental institutional values.
Given the gravity of these findings, the following sanctions have been levied against Dr. Urton:
As of June 10, 2021, Dr. Urton has been stripped of his emeritus appointment.
All rights and privileges customarily conferred by the FAS on faculty who hold emeritus appointments, as listed in the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook, have been revoked, including:
- He may not hold the title of emeritus Professor or Research Professor
- He may not teach any undergraduate students or GSAS students
- He may not advise any GSAS graduate students
- He will not have any Library privileges
- He will not have a Harvard email address or access to IT services through the FAS
- He will not have any office space within the FAS
- He will not be allowed to raise funds through the FAS, nor will he have any access to any research funding through the FAS
- He will not have access to any administrative support
- He will not be allowed to attend FAS Faculty Meetings as a guest or in any other capacity
- And he will not receive any FAS mailings to the community.
Dr. Urton is no longer welcome on any part of the FAS campus or to attend any FAS-sponsored events held off campus. In addition, the President has agreed to place the same sanction on the entire Harvard campus and on all Harvard-sponsored events.
The sanctions described above are proportionate to the severity of the behavior observed and seek to uphold and further our shared community standards and the safe, fair, and respectful environment necessary to promote academic excellence. I remind all members of our community that if you witness or experience sexual or gender-based harassment, there are many resources available, including the FAS Title IX Coordinators, the University Office for Gender Equity, Harvard University Counseling and Mental Health Services, the Harvard Chaplains, and the Employee Assistance Program.
Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Henry J. Leir Professor in International Humanitarian Studies
Statement, January 31, 2020
Today the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit’s ruling on my appeal goes public, ending a long legal saga on what is, for me, a disappointing note. The Appeals Court has upheld Judge Leo Sorokin’s ruling in Harvard University’s favor. My Title IX lawsuit alleged gender discrimination in the tenure process, and retaliation for speaking out on behalf of survivors of sexual assault and harassment on the Harvard campus. To the young women — and men — who reached out to me: I believe your painful stories, I am sorry for this outcome, and I hold you all in my thoughts.
Today I am reminded of the gendered politics of credibility. It took 60 women to abrogate Bill Cosby’s denials; some 250 girls and women to bring Larry Nassar to some semblance of justice; and at least 10 women (and several decades) to have Jorge Dominguez banished from Harvard’s campus. I was one woman, but trust there will be others who share my belief that sexual access to students is not part of any professor’s compensation package.
On college campuses nation-wide, senior professors — frequently male — wield tremendous power over their students and junior colleagues: a letter of recommendation; a phone call to a prestigious university press about a particularly promising dissertation; an opportunity to work on a field-based research project to gain valuable skills; the opaque tenure process and the power to determine life-long employment. These gatekeepers operate with virtual impunity, administering silences, humiliation, and career-ending decisions. The black box of tenure, lacking transparency, is precisely how silencing and impunity work to the disadvantage of those who would speak up and unsettle the status quo.
The wrong-doing and abuse of a few is made possible by the silence and complicity of those around them who say nothing, do nothing, to stop systemic gender discrimination and harassment. The call for change can no longer place the narrative burden on the shoulders of those who may have the most to lose: survivors of sexual assault and harassment. I was motivated to action because students reached out to me. When we know that people around us are being systematically harmed, the duty to speak up rests upon all of us. It is the responsibility we have to and for others to use whatever power we may have to stand up and speak out. As the #MeToo movement demonstrates, part of changing gender regimes lies in reallocating the shame from the victim-survivors of sexual violence onto those who should bear the shame for sexual harassment and assault: the perpetrators who have too frequently abused their power with impunity.
Which leads me to the missing women. I frequently open my email to find some variation on the following. A colleague writes, asking for advice and expressing her outrage. She has recently learned that a former student, who had studied for her Master’s Degree under my colleague’s supervision, has been driven out of her PhD program by a sexually harassing professor. What to do but offer the standard package of advice, knowing this young woman will most likely go quietly for fear of retaliation and career-ending retribution if she reports this professor. From the actresses who left the film industry because of Harvey Weinstein, to the musicians/composers/singers run out and ruined by Russell Simmons, to the hostesses/servers/sous-chefs who gritted their teeth and let their rage simmer on low, to the hotel maids who dodged groping guests, to the young women who leave academia to avoid sexually harassing professors whose power over them makes or breaks careers — how can we begin to measure the missing women who leave their careers of choice or the jobs they need because they have been ground down, groped, sexually harassed and driven out? This is about sexual assault and harassment, to be sure. It is about the violation of bodily integrity and personal dignity, with equal certainty. It is also about the loss of employment, career aspirations, dreams and economic security. Today I ask you to consider #TheMissingWomen.
I feel fortunate to be tenured and fulfilled at The Fletcher School at Tufts University. My justice lies in being able to return to writing, teaching and researching full-time, a lengthy and grueling lawsuit behind me. My journey illustrates why women do not come forward; and, this is why we must.
I move forward, thankful to have both my conscience and career intact. Thank you.