Caltech professor suspended for ‘unambiguous gender-based harassment’

The Caltech campus in Pasadena.

The Caltech campus in Pasadena.

Caltech has suspended a professor for “unambiguous gender-based harassment” after investigating complaints made by two graduate students.

The professor will not be paid for one academic year and will be barred from the Pasadena campus. In addition, his communications with students in his research group will have to be supervised, and he will be required to undergo training, according to a Jan. 4 memo from Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum and Provost Edward M. Stolper.

An appeal of the sanctions was denied, the Caltech officials said.

Rosenbaum and Stolper declined to identify the faculty member by name.


“Although the details must remain confidential, we nevertheless feel that this situation is sufficiently important that enough information must be provided to permit our community to evaluate the situation and to contemplate the changes required to minimize the chances of anything like it happening again,” Rosenbaum and Stolper wrote in their memo to the Caltech community.

“This painful incident reminds us that shared community values need constant attention,” they added.

It was unclear whether the sanctioned professor had served as the academic advisor to the two graduate students who made the complaint. But Rosenbaum and Stolper said the university will “take tangible steps to improve graduate student advising, mentoring, and monitoring.”


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