Marcy removed from position as adjunct professor at San Francisco State University

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After his resignation from UC Berkeley was accepted Wednesday amid sexual harassment allegations, Geoffrey Marcy, a former faculty member of the campus astronomy department, has been removed from his position as an adjunct professor at San Francisco State University.

The SFSU department of physics and astronomy released a statement the day of his resignation from UC Berkeley, expressing disappointment about Marcy’s behavior and professing commitment to preventing sexual harassment and all other forms of discrimination.

Marcy taught at SFSU for 15 years between 1984 and 1999, and held the title of honorific adjunct professor from 1999 to 2015. Marcy did not teach classes as an adjunct professor but was given special privileges by SFSU, including full access to campus facilities and a university Web page and email.

In response to the incident, SFSU faculty plan to stress student awareness of Title IX rights and increase access to resources for victims of sexual misconduct, according to Stephen Kane, an assistant professor in the SFSU physics and astronomy department.

“The worst-case scenario would be that something happened to a student and they didn’t know what to do, so they did nothing,” Kane said. “We want to make sure that never ever happens and that students can feel comfortable here.”

On Saturday, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported that two women, both former students of Marcy, said in interviews that they were discouraged by campus officials from filing formal complaints regarding his sexual misconduct in the mid-1990s.

“This whole incident has caused people to question whether he had incidents when he taught at San Francisco State,” Kane said.

According to an email from Adrianne Bee, the SFSU interim associate vice president, SFSU administration has yet to locate any documentation of these complaints, and the time frame of the incidents extends beyond California State University records’ retention policy.

 

Contact Jessica Lynn at [email protected].

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  • Kevin Gorman

    Dear SFSU Professor –

    “The worst case scenario would be that something happened to a student and they didn’t know what to do so they did nothing,” Kane said. “We want to make sure that never ever happens and that students can feel comfortable here.”

    That’s not the worst case scenario. The worst case scenario is that something happened to multiple students, and your administration strongly discouraged them from filing complaints, making whatever chunk of your administrators were involved more or less complicit in all of his actions since then. SFSU could have stopped this in the 90’s.

    • Stephen Kane

      I agree, but I wasn’t talking about inaction that may have occurred 20 years before I arrived at SFSU. I’m talking about moving forward and creating an atmosphere where sexual harassment is an open conversation and students know exactly what their rights are. I hope it is clear from the statement released by the Physics & Astronomy department that supporting victims of such crimes is our number one priority and we will take all necessary action to do so. Thus, the worst case scenario moving forward is indeed that students do not know how to report incidents or feel afraid to do so. We would appreciate any feedback/ideas on how to create a more supportive environment for the student population.

      • Kevin Gorman

        Hi Stephen –

        I’ll be in the Bay from around the evening of the third until the evening of the tenth. I’d be more than happy to meet with you in person to discuss ideas about how to create a more safe and inclusive environment for department and students. I both have significant involvement re: Marcy, significant involvement re: prior UCB handling of cases involving sexual violence, and practical experience from quite a few organizations in actually helping to create a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment.

        If you’re willing to meet to discuss this set of issues while I’m in the Bay, I’d love to, and have an awful lot of details about UCB’s administrations past and present failings when it comes to sexual violence issues. I hope your current administration doesn’t have the same set of failings UCB’s does, but it would be beneficial for you to be aware of the details and possibilities that they might, as well as to develop directly a department level plan.

        If you’d be interesting in meeting, I’d be happy to work around your schedule, and can drop you an email tomorrow to discuss as well as to share further details of my background and suggest other people who could usefuly contribute to a small informal discussion.

        Best,
        Kevin Gorman