Old Main on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus

(Photo: Courtesy of MECU)
The University of Colorado at Boulder has removed the head of its Philosophy Department and stopped all new student admissions into the department until next year.

The move comes in the wake of a report that found pervasive sexual harassment and bullying within the department.

The American Philosophical Association's Committee on the Status of Women released the report citing 15 complaints since 2007.

The report cites several instances of sexual harassment often accompanying heavy drinking at social functions.

It also found that the department has a reputation in the field internationally of being extremely unfriendly to women.

And that many female members of the department are leaving after feeling anxious and demoralized.

Some female students reported avoiding working with faculty members after witnessing inappropriate behavior.

Professor Graeme Forbes has lost his position as department chair, although he will stay on as a professor.

The University told Boulder’s Daily Camera newspaper that anyone who has violated university rules has been held accountable.

Summary of the APA Report Findings

  • Faculty and graduate students alike are pleased with the academic quality of thephilosophy department;
  • Faculty are pleased with the high quality of undergraduate and graduate students;
  • Undergraduates are enthusiastic about the department; their interactions with facultyand accessibility of faculty;
  • However, the committee found that the department has maintained an overallenvironment “with unacceptable sexual harassment, inappropriate sexualizedunprofessional behavior, and divisive uncivil behavior”;
  • The committee noted that this environment has harmed women and men and membersof “every stakeholder group” in the department;
  • It was further noted that much of this behavior has resulted in female faculty avoidingthe workplace and opportunities to socialize with colleagues and in their leaving or“trying to leave” in disproportionate numbers;
  • The report stated a climate of incivility in the department that has resulted in anunprofessional environment that is teaching graduate students inappropriate methodsfor handling harmful or unprofessional behavior among students;
  • The report made many recommendations for changes in culture and practice andrecommended that “recovery processes be both rigorous and guided.