Fellow Academics Call for End to Abusive Harassing Behavior

Oakland, CA—November 9, 2017

Mills Professor of English Kirsten Saxton co-authors letter prompted by a disturbing essay published by Dr. Seo-Young Chu in Entropy: “A Refuge for Jae-in Doe: Fugues in the Key of English Major.”

Seo-Young’s gut wrenching essay details the harassment and abuse of power by a former faculty mentor she says raped her nearly twenty years ago. The essay prompted a letter co-signed by five fellow academics that calls “for an acknowledgment of and attempts to rectify the structures of inequity and complicity that have allowed such abusive and harassing behaviors to remain possible.”

“As co-chair of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) Women's Caucus, I am honored to have been part of a group of women scholars who worked on this collective response. Our goal in responding to Professor Chu's searing and brilliant essay was to support our organization, and by extension the larger cultures in the academy, to take steps to protect and mentor our members, especially the most vulnerable among us,” said Professor Saxton. “We hope the end result of Professor Chu’s publication and our collective response is an explicit position by ASECS on providing conditions of equity, security, and productivity for its members of all sexes, genders, races, abilities and academic ranks. Mills College is a community explicitly committed to equity and social justice, and I appreciate their support in sharing this important work.” 

More details with links to the essay and draft letter are included as part of Inside Higher Education’s article “Ghost From the Past.”