A government professor at Harvard has been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour by as many as 18 women. He has since resigned after the university decided to place him on leave.
The 72-year-old, Jorge I. Dominguez, resigned on Tuesday. The dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Michael D. Smith sent an email saying that he had been placed on leave while Harvard investigates the allegations. Subsequently, Dr Dominguez sent an email announcing his resignation.
He had said that he had tried to “behave honorably” in all his relationships. “I do not go around making sexual advances,” he said. “Any behavior like that, I would regret it under any circumstances.”
Stories from many of his students and assistants have surfaced. Terry L. Karl, an assistant government professor at Harvard during the early 1980s, said that he had made repeated attempts to kiss her, and even made a reference to raping her. When she refused him, he reminded her of how powerful he was. “I must reiterate what I have said before: for me, any type of sexual involvement with you can only be destructive.”
She complained and in 1983, the college temporarily stripped him of administrative duties. Karl said that last year she was contacted by women during the #Metoo campaign who said that his behaviour had continued.
He had been on the Harvard faculty since 1972 and had served as Vice Provost for international studies and as director of Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.
Even though he has resigned, many, including Karl say that the solution to the problem is still far away.
“They kept promoting him and giving him additional administrative powers, which gave him more power over others to abuse those people, to decide their careers, to sexually harass them, all kind of things,” Dr Karl said. “And what I don’t understand and will never understand is — if they knew, if they were warned, how could they have promoted him?”
If men like Dominguez get away with sexual harassment at Harvard, there is a lot more to be done.