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Good Morning Academics of Mumsnet,
Over the past few years, the ETH way of dealing with internal institutional homophobia, racism, and sexism has left shocked and often sad. I wanted to share the following as I do not think academic excellence should be a hall pass for sexual harassment.
The Swiss press is reporting on the issue of sexual harassment at the ETH in Zurich.
A professor there had been harassing students and colleagues for many years - ETH held an internal investigation - provided lawyers for the professor - but not for the victims - and then cleared the professor of sexual harassment - but found him guilty of breaking the internal guidelines on relationships with students. He has resigned but will remain on full pay until July 2019.
I've linked some articles on the subject below - unfortunately, they are all in German
This does not surprise me in the slightest. I've seen how allegations and accusations are brushed under the carpet. Often it works out quite well for the professor unless s/he's actually done anything illegal as they continue to get paid whilst not teaching! Or are encouraged to go on a long foreign trip.
It is really very depressing.
I've changed my username, for obvious reasons.
This doesn't surprise me in the slightest, and it's not the first time its happened in the Zurich universities. The department I was in was completely toxic, with the focus being on getting high impact papers no matter what the cost. Open drug taking in the department, lots of alcoholics and women viewed as decorative entertainment. Very driven but itinerant researchers with no loyalty or stability who need ETH on their CVs and to make the best use of the crazy amount of funding there is there. ETH act like a premier league football club. They simply buy in the best.
But you also have to consider the dynamics of the university within the city. Zurich itself is full of engineers and bankers, mostly male and foreign and overpaid. The city is therefore awash with lonely single men, prostitutes and drugs, and that atmosphere leaks into the universities. Remember, this is the country that didn't fully enfranchise women until 1971, and harshly punishes whistleblowing. You make your money, publish your Nature papers and then take the money home to buy a house somewhere more civilised with the permanent contract.
I think it speaks volumes that Janet Hering who is chairwoman of the ETH Zurich Women Professors forum is one of the biggest donors to the campaign.
I don’t know how long ago you escaped ETH - well done though - I hope you are somewhere more inclusive now.