The A's and the Bees
The University reprimanded a faculty member for sexual harassment this year for the first time, after a student filed a formal complaint against Martin L. Kilson, professor of Government, for allegedly making sexual advances.
In December, Helene Sahadi York '83 reported to Judith B. Walzer, assistant dean of the college for co-education, that Kilson tried to kiss her on the lips as she was attempting to leave his office after seeking advice on a paper topic for his course.
Dean Rosovsky censured Kilson and asked him to write a letter of apology to York. Kilson subsequently took a sick leave this term.
Several women have filed complaints against faculty charging sexual harassment, but York's is the first to reach this stage.
York testified this spring in a state hearing in favor of House Bill #5172 which, if passed, would outlaw sexual harassment in Massachusetts and allow victims to collect damages in civil suits. State representative Barbara E. Gray originally introduced the bill after hearing from York and students at MIT about sexual harassment in educational institutions. No state statutes cover sexual harassment now.
York last month organized a panel on sexual harassment at the Kennedy School Forum, which many women in the audience used as a chance for personal testimony. One graduate student rose to say that Kilson had a long history of sexually harassing his students. Another woman said she knew of an instance where ten students have complained to an administrator that the same faculty member has harassed them, but no action has yet been taken.
In response to requests by undergraduate women for more information on how to file an official sexual harassment complaint, Walzer said she would ensure that the University publicizes the procedures more thoroughly.