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23 Jan

Surveying 221 reported cases at 210 institutions, a forthcoming study in the Utah Law Review found that alleged academic abusers were more often accused of physical harassment than verbal, and that 53 percent of the cases surveyed involved serial harassers.

The professor is on administrative leave and the school has a special committee currently investigating the allegations with its findings expected on January 12.

“The dynamic we are hearing about at large is absolutely at play in higher education,” Anne Hedgepeth, vice president of public policy and government relations at the American Association of University Women (AAUW), told Fox News.

With power over grad students and assistants, she said, professors "are the gateway to many people’s futures.” It's hard to pin down precisely how prevalent sexual harassment and assault by academics is, given that many victims have not reported the crimes for fear of being shamed or professionally ostracized.

She added, “Colleges and universities protect big names and moneymakers with whom they have more or less reciprocal agreements because of their worth to institutional reputation and finances.” Along with institutional malaise, murky language about school policies on student-faculty relationships comes into play.

It has made it more difficult to reach conclusions about what is or isn't sexual harassment under school rules.