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The issue of faculty sexual misconduct is pervasive within academia, and more specifically, our public affairs graduate programs. At least 13% of women in academia experience sexual harassment by a faculty member. For too long, we have relied upon an underground network of individuals who work behind the scenes to protect our students. In this statement to the discipline of public affairs, we call out the institutional designs that permit complicity. An unbalanced student-professor power dynamic, exploited student vulnerabilities, and a lack of effective checks and balances nurture an environment that lets misconduct proliferate. Perpetrators are shielded by institutional protections and loopholes designed to protect universities from liability. In this call to action, we employ the social ecological framework to define achievable steps for confronting sexual misconduct at all levels of our academic system. Finally, we unequivocally demand action, now.


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  • Institution
    • Gainesville

  • Publisher
    • Taylor & Francis

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Author Biography:

      Sarah L. Young is an assistant professor of political science and assistant director of Academic Engagement at the University of North Georgia. She is a nonprofit management, public management, and community engagement scholar. Kimberly K. Wiley is an assistant professor of nonprofit leadership and community development in the Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences at the University of Florida. She is a public policy, nonprofit management, and qualitative methodology scholar.

      Book or Journal Information:

      Journal of Public Affairs Education