Although much research on sexual harassment within the academy has been concerned with how prevalent this problem is, it continues to be very narrow in its scope by focusing almost entirely on the abuse directed toward subordinates. This study explores the sexual harassment of women professors by students to gain insight into how widespread the problem is, and to understand better how both gender and status define an individual's vulnerability to sexual harassment. Survey data from 208 female instructors employed at a major university revealed that women professors experience a variety of behaviors, mostly from male students, which range from sexist comments to sexual assault. Furthermore, most professors perceive such behaviors to be sexual harassment, despite the professor's formal power. Generally, women professors are able to deal effectively with these situations, usually by confronting the individual directly or trying to avoid the student, at least in relatively minor instances of sexual harassment.
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I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Women's Studies Program at Purdue University for helping to sponsor and support this research, and to Phyllis Day and Kathleen McKinney for their helpful comments and suggestions.
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Grauerholz, E. Sexual harassment of women professors by students: Exploring the dynamics of power, authority, and gender in a university setting. Sex Roles 21, 789–801 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00289809