In university sexual harassment cases, a chilling power dynamic

Kimberly Latta recently accused her former UC Berkeley professor FrancoMoretti, who subsequently taught at Stanford, of sexually assaulting her when she was a graduate student in the 1980s. (Courtesy of Kimberly Latta)

When she was a graduate student at UC Berkeley in the mid-1980s, Kimberly Latta alleged in a Facebook post last month, a visiting professor forced her to have sex with him, upending not only her studies but shaking up her entire career.

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“I could see how absolutely upsetting and disturbing it was,” said Michael Harrawood, a fellow graduate student of Latta’s at UC Berkeley who is now a professor at Florida Atlantic University. “I actually think it really, really impacted her whole future as an academic.”

As women across the country come forward to share their stories about sexual misconduct, the relationship between faculty and graduate students has emerged as one of the ripest for abuse, with heralded professors quietly wielding major influence over the trajectory of their students’ lives.

“That’s who you look up to for a recommendation,” said Annie Clark, co-founder of the group End Rape on Campus. “It’s not talked about enough.”

Now women are exposing the perils of that power imbalance. Last week, a former Stanford University graduate student, Seo-Young Chu, told this news organization how a sexual assault at the hands of her professor, Jay …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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