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Just saw a fresh Chronicle article discussing a faculty member at Wayne State University and his reputation for grooming/bullying students (copy pasted below due to paywall). Given that we've seen this happen already with Avital Ronell for example, how is a prospective student supposed to know these things? Does anyone keep track of this #metoo stuff?

https://www.chronicle.com/article/I-Was-Sick-to-My/246413?key=M4Uz02RD-3jerweavC_IPA97QCvIXnS9Ap2m130iW5opgtEyr49gNUG3Qd_2E8jESW1sNFRuVHRmazZQQlVMbUt5ckphamdmRVNTTk9hYWJIV0hMcmNXcnpKVQ&fbclid=IwAR1LZIAcmcL46P5vypdZQFJbvkQxgEE9i602wgq8Db9cEe0JLH0FcimRzBE

 

[Article Text removed for copyright reasons -telk]

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Wow. This is just awful. I think perhaps the best sources students deciding on offers can rely on, besides the media if a professor’s bad behavior has been publicized, are existing graduate students within a program. I certainly asked questions about this of current students at my institution. However, and this is what troubles me the most, asking students to be accountable for reporting this shit behavior is really unfair. Especially in programs like English where finding employment after graduation is already incredibly difficult, how can we ask graduate students to potentially burn bridges within their communities before they’ve even hit the job market?

It seems like these sorts of environments which protect abusive behavior are holdovers from yesteryear, when people within these jobs were all white men, who not only enjoyed the privileges of education and leadership, but also the authority of being simply white and male. I like to think of English programs as being often places of real progressivism, but that is clearly, to some extent, wishful thinking.

Thanks for sharing this article! It certainly gives one a lot to think about.

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I agree with kendalldinnienegenerally students in the program will be more honest about professors with reputations (#metoo or otherwise). Unfortunately in my experience this tends to be disclosed or discussed after you've already made a decision to attend somewhere. It helps if you have an opportunity during a visit weekend or via email to chat with students and ask if there's anything you should know. There are generally at least 1-2 students in a grad program willing to be honest with incoming recruits. Some grad student groups have considered keeping track of these types of professors (for example, the NexGen rhet/comp listserv had a whole debate about this very idea), but most agree that publicly calling people out is just too risky for grad students. 

At my current program, I got all the information about department drama, profs to avoid, etc from older grad students early in the semester. Some were more direct meetings where I asked about things I needed to know, but other information was just shared naturally as I progressed through my first year.

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