|Enmanuel Gomez Choque|
But isn't it pathetic that most members of a university department have to find out the details of misconduct findings from a reporter, rather than from their own institution? Who does that help in the end? Certainly not the institution's reputation, which it worked diligently but ultimately unsuccessfully to protect.
Afterthoughts, March 1, 2020:
Is there something odd about the facts related above? Note while members of the UCSB anthropology department were kept in the dark about this situation--with the possible exception of the department chairs--I was able to get the 50 pages of investigative records via the California Public Records Act. Any citizen can do this. But it's routine for institutions to caution everyone in academic departments that everything must be kept confidential, and only administrators (deans, etc.) are privy to the information. A similar situation unfolded in the case of archaeologist Deanna Grimstead at Ohio State University: Anthropologists there were kept ignorant about the allegations of sexual harassment against her and the findings of the Title IX investigations into them. (I hope it was just a coincidence that these records were released in the cases of accused women.) Yet again, I was able to obtain those documents through Ohio's Public Records Act.
The question arises whether academics are truly barred from knowing what is going on in their own departments, and how their own students have been affected, or whether they are simply too quick to accept what they are told about the necessity of secrecy. While there are concerned faculty members who do try to protect students, over 4+ years of covering #MeToo cases I have found that they are very much in the minority. Sad to say, the overwhelming majority of academics are happy to find excuses to stick their heads in the sand and pretend it is not their business. This is a real betrayal of students who come to them, enthusiastic about their studies and the possibilities of having careers in their chosen fields. Even worse, it many cases it smacks of pure complicity. This must stop if the culture of abuse is to change.
Update March 6, 2020: New allegations of sexual assault by Gomez and attempted coverup by Kurin at the 2018 field school at Wari, Peru.
After the publication of this preliminary report a week ago, I was contacted by a number of students who had participated in Kurin's field school at the site of Wari in Peru. Two of them told me of being sexually assaulted by Gomez during the 2018 season, two full years after the Title IX findings described above. The students also detailed, including in audio recordings they had made of the events, Kurin's attempts to mollify the students and cover up for Gomez's behavior. Kurin's statements to the students went back and forth between pleading with them for understanding, attacking them for their own behavior, and lying about the earlier Title IX findings (Kurin told the students that they had been "investigated and resolved.")
I am still talking with these sources and will be reporting this new evidence in detail next week. Meanwhile I am reproducing here an email I sent this morning to a member of the UCSB anthropology department, one of several members of that department I have been talking to in confidence. In what follows, IFR stands for the Institute for Field Research, which sponsors field schools in archaeology and other areas throughout the world. Willeke Wendrich, whom I have known for a number of years, is the chair of IFR's board of governors.
Further update on IFR's role:
After today's update was published, I received the following email from Willeke Wendrich, the chair of IFR's board of governors:
Michael,I am thoroughly disappointed with your lack of journalistic ethics. You are publishing falsehoods. IFR was not aware of any title IX investigations and accusations prior to the 2018 field school. I made this very clear in our email conversation.Willeke
What's odd about this email is that I had not yet published any claims that IFR was aware of the 2016 Title IX cases. I was planning to include Wendrich's denial that they knew--stated in email correspondence between us earlier this week--in a planned update in the coming days. But in fact, my sources tell me that IFR leaders almost certainly did know, because a member of the IFR board (someone who would have been very aware of rumors circulating in the Andean research community) was informed about it at the time. I have always known Willeke to be an honorable person, so I have to consider the possibility that she was misled by her colleagues, including IFR executive director Ran Boytner, who has ignored all of my requests to speak with him about this. I will have more to say about IFR's role next week, and questions about the role that UCSB Executive Vice Chancellor David Marshall may have played in returning Kurin to teaching despite all of the above.
Update March 11, 2020: I have now published a new report based on misconduct that occurred at Kurin's and Gomez's 2018 field school in Peru.