With a litany of lies, a UC Santa Barbara archaeologist seeks to cover up her own misconduct, punish a reporter who revealed it, and intimidate victims and survivors of abuse. [Updated July 11, 2020: Kurin's attorney basically admits, in print, that my reporting was factually correct]]

UC Santa Barbara

Yesterday I reported the filing of an $18 million dollar defamation suit against this reporter, in federal court, by University of California, Santa Barbara archaeologist Danielle Kurin. As regular readers of this blog know, I have reported extensively on a series of allegations against Kurin. They include enabling and covering up sexual harassment and assault of students at her archaeological field school in Peru, and retaliation against students who filed complaints. I provided the evidence for these charges, both in documents and witness statements, in two lengthy reports earlier this year, here and here.

In yesterday's post,  I pasted the full text of the defamation complaint, with just brief comment as an introduction. Today I am providing a more detailed commentary on the allegations in the complaint, which include some of the most blatant lies and half-truths I have ever seen coming from an academic researcher. I have several reasons for doing so. First, those not familiar with the facts might be tempted to either believe what Kurin has asserted, or wonder if it might be true. Second, by correcting the record, I am providing what I hope will be a useful history to the revelations of misconduct in anthropology and archaeology over the past several years. Third, and perhaps most importantly, I want to reassure victims and survivors that an abuser cannot make their misconduct go away simply by filing a lawsuit, and that the truth cannot be buried. And fourth, I do feel some need to defend my journalistic reputation and my credibility, as a reporter and a journalism professor who has been active for well over 40 years.

(Just before this lawsuit was filed, Kurin made a point of telling everyone in her department that she was going to do it, in a manner that at least some colleagues interpreted as an attempt to intimidate department members into giving her tenure or suffering the consequences (I've described Kurin's litigious history in previous posts.) In truth, many of her colleagues are pretty fed up with Kurin at this point, and such implied threats are not likely to work.)

I will not respond to every point in the complaint, but those I think are most important, using the organizational scheme of the original. The most extraordinary claim Kurin makes in this complaint is that there have never been any findings of misconduct against her. I don't know what she thinks the court will make of the full text of the June 2016 Title IX investigative report, in which her own university concludes that she retaliated against students for reporting sexual harassment by her partner.

Introduction, No. 5:

Kurin claims that my reporting about her is motivated by "actual malice," a key requirement for winning a defamation suit; that I want to "destroy Kurin's reputation and career;" and that I want to "prevent her from obtaining tenure at UCSB."

I have no malice against Kurin, whom I have never met, although I strongly disapprove of the actions she is alleged to have carried out. Nor do I wish to destroy Kurin's reputation and career. Indeed, she has done that herself, and had begun to do that long before I had any idea who she was, by her own behavior going back many years. As for tenure, I do believe, as is my First Amendment right, that both UCSB and its students would be much better off if she did not receive tenure, and thus did not have contact with vulnerable young researchers whose lives she has made miserable in many cases.

Plaintiff, No. 20:

In this section, Kurin lays out her credentials as an academic and her accomplishments. I have no quarrel with her talents as an archaeologist, which I am not at any rate in a position to judge. I have heard that she has made important contributions to the fields of bioarchaeology and Peruvian archaeology, and also that she is an effective writer and communicator.

The key point here is No. 20: "UCSB has scheduled Kurin to apply for tenure in September of 2020." In fact, this is what the lawsuit is all about,  and it is not the first time Kurin has turned to the courts to try to secure her place at the university. While she was on three years' administrative leave following a Title IX finding against her in 2016 for retaliating against students, she sued the University of California, unsuccessfully, because she was denied a promotion she thought she was entitled to. By suing me, I believe that Kurin is attempting not only silence witnesses against her, but intimidate members of her department into giving her tenure despite considerable reservations among her colleagues that her conduct merits it.

Defendant, Nos. 21-28:

In this section, Kurin attempts to portray this reporter, who has written about archaeology since the early 1990s, in an unfavorable light. I am called a "self-described archeologist" (I have never claimed to be an archaeologist, but an archaeology writer) and a "former adjunct professor" (I have taught journalism at Boston University, New York University, and City College of New York, and I expect to teach again in the near future.) In Nos. 25-28, Kurin gratuitously attempts to negatively portray my one book, The Goddess and the Bull" (a "biography" of the Neolithic site of Catalhoyuk) by cherrypicking a handful of negative reviews on Amazon. What this has to do with the merits of her lawsuit are a mystery to me.

Defendant, No. 29:

In this segment, Kurin begins a series of aggravated falsehoods which continue throughout the complaint. She discusses one of the most celebrated and important episodes in the history of the #MeToo movement in anthropology, the investigation and ultimate forced resignation of Brian Richmond, former curator of human origins for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, for sexual assault and harassment. Kurin first states that "Science Magazine fired Balter for misconduct and a 'serious breach of trust'..." in the wake of my reporting on the Richmond case. While it is true that Science ended my contract after this investigation, Kurin is apparently hoping that the court does not look at the sources she links to on this matter, in which "serious breach of trust" is never used (nor has Science or its editors ever used such a phrase.) Kurin also apparently hopes to fool the court into thinking that I was fired for misconduct, another completely false statement. The actual phrase used by Science's news editor was that our parting of the ways came after a "long-standing, mutual loss of trust," a characterization that I agree with entirely.

Kurin also states that I "accused a professor [Richmond] of exaggerated charges of sexual harassment and hounded the accused, his friends, family, and colleagues." Again, the sources she links to contain no such statements, because they are falsehoods. In the end, Richmond's misconduct led to his forced resignation from the AMNH, and Science has continued to stand by my reporting on this case over all these years.

Defendant No. 32:

In this segment, Kurin describes, completely inaccurately, events that occurred in April 2019 at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Albuquerque. These again refer to a celebrated situation, this time in archaeology, in which a Title IX convicted sexual predator--David Yesner, a former archaeologist at the University of Alaska, Anchorage--attended the SAA meeting in the presence of some of the survivors of his serious misconduct. Kurin states that I was "forcibly detained by security" after I tried to "physically assault" Yesner. As anyone who was at the meeting knows, and as is well known in the archaeology community, there were no security personnel present and I did not assault Yesner--I simply escorted him from the conference hall without the use of any physical force at all. Again, my actions, and the plight of Yesner's victims, were widely embraced by the archaeology community, and the SAA later banned Yesner from attending its meetings.

Defendant No. 33:

Here, Kurin describes my reporting on the former executive director of the Institute for Field Research, Ran Boyner, who--by the way--was largely responsible for Kurin being able to run an IFR field school in Peru despite the 2016 Title IX findings. In my post on Botyner, I reported on a number of allegations of misconduct on his part, including sexual harassment, bullying, and retaliation against staff members. Kurin cites a defense Boytner wrote to the charges (which I later reproduced in full in a blog post) as a "persuasive and credible statement." Nevertheless, as I reported very recently, Boytner has been terminated as executive director and no longer has anything to do with IFR.

(At this point I should underscore that Kurin, so far in the complaint, has come to the defense of three alleged sexual predators, all of whom have been forcibly removed from the institutions for which they worked as a direct result of their misconduct. I assume the court will take note of this.)

Defendant No. 35:

Kurin states, again completely falsely, that I was "fired" from my job teaching journalism at City College of New York in May 2020. The source she links to for this defamatory statement is my own description of how budget cuts, due to the coronavirus pandemic, led to my not being reappointed. This and her other statements about me cited above show her own reckless disregard for the truth.

Factual Background:

In this section of the complaint, Kurin makes so many false and inaccurate statements that I will spare the reader by simply correcting them in a few bullet points. The full story is laid out in the two reports I linked to at the beginning of this post.

--Kurin did not cooperate with UCSB's investigation of sexual harassment against students by her partner, Enmanuel Gomez Choque, after the very beginning of the inquiry.

--UCSB charged Kurin with retaliation against students who reported the harassment by Gomez, and did everything she could to try to cover up his behavior. To me that fits the definition of "enabling," especially since Gomez continued his behavior during both the 2017 and 2018 field schools.

--Kurin was found, by the "preponderance of the evidence" standard used in Title IX cases, of retaliation, as I have reported directly from the Title IX investigation report provided to me by UCSB via the California Public Records Act. Kurin seems to object to the word "guilty," perhaps thinking that it can only be used in a criminal sense; I am using it in the more common, colloquial sense.

--IFR terminated its relationship with Kurin after Gomez's sexual assaults on students during the 2018 field school because it held her largely responsible for what had happened. The negligence of IFR executive director Ran Boytner in this matter would later become part of the reasons for his termination from IFR. Kurin states in the complaint, again under penalty of perjury, that IFR dissociated itself from her field school "without prejudice," as if to imply that it had found only Gomez culpable of misconduct. This is flatly untrue. IFR representatives are on record multiple times as stating that they were severing ties permanently with Kurin as a result of her own conduct (this includes Ran Boytner and IFR governing board members Willeke Wendrich and Jason de Leon.)

--Kurin claims she has divorced Gomez and "not communicated substantively" with him for two years. According to my sources, this is a blatant lie, and she continues to associate with him at her field site in Peru.

The rest of the complaint reiterates these basic false statements in some detail, quoting out of my blog posts and other sources. Kurin repeats her false statement that she and Gomez were not found culpable of misconduct, a falsehood belied by the Title IX investigative findings against them from June 2016.

I hope that this commentary will be helpful to those who might be mystified by this whole affair, and to those who know the basic story but might be in need of reminders or specific facts to make fuller sense of it.

I will keep readers of this blog posted on developments as this dishonest and gratuitous lawsuit moves forward.

Update June 19: My email to Danielle Kurin's lawyer, David Scher of the Hoyer Law Group. I believe it is self-explanatory, but I have highlighted some points here (which I did not do in the original.)

Dear Mr. Scher,

I am writing in connection with the above action, which your office has filed in U.S. District Court.

I am still considering whether to waive service, but in principle I have no reason for not doing so. I will let you know shortly.

I have been a working journalist for more than 40 years. During that time I have worked on many stories that were legally sensitive, so I know that the team of First Amendment lawyers I will assemble to defend this action would immediately advise me not to contact you.

However, I want to take advantage of this brief interval before obtaining formal counsel to communicate to you that your client is making a serious mistake by filing this action, and by extension, your law firm.

That's because she cannot possibly win it. The complaint itself provides considerable evidence for that, because it is fully riddled with outright falsehoods and inaccurate information, all of which will be easily provable by the detailed investigations into her conduct which I have already conducted and published.

I was able to download a copy of the complaint and the exhibits from an internet service shortly after it was filed, and so I have already published two blog posts in which I counter her false assertions. You will find them at these two links if you are not already aware of them:

http://michael-balter.blogspot.com/2020/06/archaeologist-accused-of-enabling.html. (This is a cut and paste of the complaint with brief comments.)

http://michael-balter.blogspot.com/2020/06/with-litany-of-lies-uc-santa-barbara.html. (This is a detailed rebuttal of the falsehoods in the complaint.

I might also recommend that you read this article from the Columbia Journalism Review from last year, in which I explain why an experienced journalist, correspondent for Science for 25 years and veteran of reporting for many major publications on a wide variety of subjects, would use his personal blog to write about #MeToo cases.)

Now to the main point. The complaint that your office filed with the court contains so many easily proven falsehoods that I can only conclude your staff did not fact check its contents before putting it before the federal justice system. In yesterday's blog post, I lay those falsehoods out in detail. The statements about me are defamatory in their own right; I will talk with my legal team, but I may have grounds to countersue on that basis. Most egregious, however, is that the true facts were easily determined, simply by reading the very articles she links to (did she, or your staff, think that the court would not read those articles to see whether or not the assertions were backed up?)

But what she says about me personally is less important than the falsehoods she tells about her own conduct and the official record. Amazingly, the complaint maintains that there have never been any findings of misconduct against her. But a simple reading of my blog posts indicates that I have physical and electronic possession of the 2016 Title IX conclusions in which her own university found that she had retaliated against students who had tried to report sexual harassment by her partner, Enmanuel Gomez Choque.

There are numerous other false statements about events and proceedings that concerned her, including the 2018 decision of the Institute for Field Research to severe ties with Dr. Kurin and no longer allow her to run a field school in Peru under its auspices after her husband again sexually harassed and assaulted students.

Your client signed this complaint under penalty of perjury, and yet it includes statements that are demonstrably false and would be easily shown to be false in court. These are also statements that I believe Danielle Kurin knows to be false, or for which there is considerable evidence that she knew.

Last Friday, during a meeting of the anthropology department at UC Santa Barbara where she works, Danielle Kurin told her colleagues that she was planning to file this lawsuit. Her manner and demeanor were widely interpreted as suggesting that she might file suit against some of them as well if she were denied tenure.

Dr. Kurin is also well known for threatening colleagues and students with retaliation by her father, Richard Kurin of the Smithsonian Institution, a powerful scientist. Indeed, many colleagues have suggested to me that Richard Kurin must once again be paying her legal bills in this case, as he has done in previous litigation she conducted against the University of California (unsuccessfully.)

You should know that Danielle Kurin has very little support among her colleagues at the university, precisely because the history of her misconduct is now well known there, after a number of years during which the university tried to keep it secret. This apparently desperate attempt to intimidate the anthropology department at UCSB into giving her tenure by attacking a reporter who has always told the truth about her is not likely to succeed.

As I said at the beginning, writing to the attorney in a case like this is considered unorthodox. However, I believe that it is in the best interests of your client's welfare, and the reputation of your own law firm, that this case be withdrawn. If not, I will instruct my attorneys to defend the action in the most vigorous manner possible.

I will hope to hear from you in the very near future.

Best regards,

Michael Balter

Update June 24: The timing of Kurin's divorce from Gomez.

In the complaint, Kurin and her attorney make the following statement under penalty of perjury:

"Soon after the IFR completed its investigation, Kurin filed for divorce from

The Institute for Field Research investigation of the conduct of both Gomez and Kurin at the 2018 field school was completed in October 2018. On October 17, then IFR executive director Ran Boytner informed the students who had complained about the alleged misconduct that "inappropriate behavior occurred" and provided the following conclusion:

"The IFR will no longer work with Dr. Danielle Kurin, the director of the field school."

Kurin did not file for divorce from Gomez until May 9, 2019, according to records from the Santa Barbara County Superior Court. I don't know if that fits anyone's definition of "soon," but it was at least six months later. I will obtain the final divorce decree and update this in due course.

Update July 10, 2020Update July 10, 2020: I have now created a GoFundMe campaign to help raise the legal expenses for defending this $18 million defamation suit against me. It will be particularly targeted at the costs of doing the kind of vigorous legal discovery (for relevant documents, depositions of witnesses, etc.) that will be necessary to mount an effective defense. I hope you will consider donating, no matter how modestly, and/or distributing this appeal to others. Thanks!

Update July 11: The UC Santa Barbara student paper, the Daily Nexus, has just published its story on the lawsuit. Great job by two student reporters. In the story, Kurin's attorney, Dave Scher, basically admits that my reporting is factually correct. As for my opinion that she should not get tenure, such opinion, which I stand by, is protected by the First Amendment and not defamation.

Post a Comment


Anonymous said…
Everything that Kurin has in this document has already been detailed, refuted, and dismissed with scores of facts and first hand reports in these blogs including the effort to disparage Balter's journalism background so it does seem like she's hoping no one is paying attention. Obviously, the Hoyer Law Group never bothered to read any of it so they will need to assign some interns. Who's idea was it to hire a Washington D.C. firm in the first place, her dad's?
Anonymous said…
It reads as if it were written by Ran Boytner.
Anonymous said…
Hard to believe she'd really see this through to a courtroom. Seems the target audience for this court filing could be UCSB and anyone involved in her tenure process - especially letter writers.
Anonymous said…
As someone involved in other tenure committees, I find Kurin's suggestion that she was denied tenure because of a blog and Facebook posts, regardless of whoever wrote those, to be absolutely ridiculous. If this was the case, half of the tenured faculty in my university would be out of a job.
Anonymous said…
Yup, what that person just said.
Anonymous said…
Twitter: By filing this lawsuit, Kurin has opened a can of words in terms of legal discovery. If it is not dismissed, then deans and other university officials could be deposed to find out just what did happen after her 2016 Title IX and why she was not fired. Theories abound.

The IFR will have to open all of its files. I would think board members, staff, and PI's will be asked to testify. After believing they had taken care of business with the UCLA town hall meeting, the board members are doubtless having another melt-down today.
Michael Balter said…
Re the previous comment:

It may well be that if Danielle Kurin can't have tenure in her department she will try to take everyone else down with her. Let's hope she is thwarted in any such motivation, if it exists.
Anonymous said…
The point of this litigation is to intimidate other victims who have not yet come forward and the faculty at UCSB. I suspect that it's also to try and convince letter writers and UCSB administration that the allegations against her are in litigation and that she will win. I think this intimidation will backfire because the faculty and administration at UCSB will not want such a huge liability in Kurin, both because of frivolous lawsuits to coerce people into doing what she wants and also possible future Title IX, or worse, cases. If I were UCSB, I would rather risk being (unsuccessfully) sued now by Kurin for denying her tenure for her abuses of power (which is generally correlated with dishonest scholarship) than to have the threat of constant lawsuits hanging over their heads.
Anonymous said…
I think you should file a counterclaim against Kurin. Under the same burden of proof, you can argue that:

1. Danielle Kurin, under the pseudonyms Maija Jespersen and Wulf Barnim, wrote harsh criticisms of Balter’s book on Amazon back in 2012 (well before Balter ever wrote anything bad about her!).
2. These negative reviews damaged Balter’s reputation as a popular science author and resulted in financial damages due to reduced book sales.
3. These material and emotional scars deeply affected the relationships of Balter and the editor of Science Magazine, resulting in them parting ways in 2016.
4. When Kurin found about Balter’s allegations in 2020, she called him a “a dirty little liar” in front of three (3) of her family members (Exhibit 64C; https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/funny-shocked-family-cartoon-illustration-shoked-frightened-expressions-33406675.jpg).
5. Because of this horrible defamation, Balter was not reappointed by the Regents of CUNY in May 2020. They also did not give him tenure.
6. In April 2020, Danielle Kurin published a blog on Blogger.com: https://daniellekurin.blogspot.com/
This website only includes posts that praise Kurin, but do not mention anything about Balter, although the latter constantly refers to her in HIS blog. This blatant disregard caused Balter severe damage to his self-esteem.
7. Balter was not, and never was, and never ever will be, accused of anything by anyone in the known multiverse and beyond.
8. As a proximate result of the above-described actions, plaintiff has suffered loss of his reputation, shame, mortification, and injury to himself and his person, in a total amount to be established by proof at trial, but at least $180,000 gazillion dollars.

I will be happy to represent you. I am not an attorney, but I suspect I will do better than Kurin’s legal team.
Anonymous said…
The way UCLA has handled this matter is a disgrace to humanity. UCLA will now be remembered by the international community for all the bad reasons for a long time to come. So shameful!! UCLA staff and students have the choice of either changing this or leaving the god-forsaken place altogether. Why don't the victims start class action against UCLA or culprits involved?
Anonymous said…
For someone who self-describes as “highly rated professor and accomplished researcher with stellar publications,” Kurin is not that great on making evidence-based arguments. For example, the defamation suit states:

53. Unfortunately, many of Kurin’s students, colleagues, supervisors and administrators – the people directly influencing her career – have been deeply affected by Balter’s blogs.


78. Unfortunately, tens, if not hundreds, of thousands, of people have read Balter’s falsehoods (as he himself notes in his blogs) – and those people, largely in Kurin’s circle, her colleagues, supervisors, and management, have all been turned upside down, gaslighted by the piles of Balter’s falsehoods.

But then:

54. Other than the severe damage caused by Balter’s lies, Kurin is highly regarded at UCSB and enjoy a very strong reputation as a professor, mentor, and scholar.

So it’s either Kurin’s students, colleagues, supervisors and administrators were negatively affected by believing Blater’s blog,
Kurin is highly regarded at UCSB and enjoy a very strong reputation as a professor, mentor, and scholar.

You. Just. Can’t. Have. Both.
Michael Balter said…
In reference to this last comment: Yes, I agree, does not compute. But in fact the reason that Kurin's colleagues have been so influenced by my reports is that I have provided detailed documentation and first hand witness accounts of her misconduct, AND Kurin's colleagues now know that she lied for years about the results of the June 2016 Title IX--telling everyone that she had been exonerated. When you tell such blatant lies your credibility can sink like a stone, as has hers.

There are so many blatant lies in the complaint that I don't think Kurin nor her lawyers could really believe they have any chance to win the case, since in the US truth is an absolute defense to a defamation suit. Rather, I think she wants to intimidate people and in particular the victims and survivors of the abuse and retaliation she and Gomez carried out. I am talking to some of the top First Amendment lawyers in the country, because I believe she is going to try to force me to name my sources. Please, everyone, hear this loud and clear: THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. The promises I made to confidential sources will be kept no matter what. And I have confidence that the judges of the US Southern District of NY will not allow her to put vulnerable students and young researchers into an even more precarious position. If anyone reading this is a friend or ally of Danielle Kurin, please make sure she sees this. The stakes are very high and that is how my lawyers and I will play it.
Anonymous said…
Pertaining to this point: "78. Unfortunately, tens, if not hundreds, of thousands, of people have read Balter’s falsehoods (as he himself notes in his blogs) – and those people, largely in Kurin’s circle, her colleagues, supervisors, and management, have all been turned upside down, gaslighted by the piles of Balter’s falsehoods. "

As someone who has known Danielle for many years, none of Balter's reporting rings false. Danielle has been a bully for as long as I've known her and discovery is really going to sink her.
Anonymous said…
From Kurin’s lawyers tweet today:
Mr. Balter accuses Ms. Kurin of being "found guilty" of many things. Ms. Kurin has never been found guilty (or even found civilly liable) of anything by anyone - ever. All I need is Ms. Kurin's criminal and civil history - which is clear. We can win without a thing from Balter.”

So their entire case rests on the semantics of “guilty”, where Balter meant it colloquially while they interpret it legally?
OK, then let’s try this on for size:
1. In their lawsuit and the tweet above, Kurin and her lawyers alleged that Michael Balter “accuses” institutions and individuals, using inflammatory declarations such as: “Mr. Balter accuses Ms. Kurin”; “Balter accused Ran Boytner”; “accusing yet another professor”; “he accuses the university”; “Balter attacks the IFR and accuses it”; “Balter accuses a former IFR board member”; Balter… continuing to accuse Kurin”; “Balter’s false accusations”; “This accusation comes directly and only from Balter’s blogsite”, etc.
2. Balter never wrote in his blog that he personally “accuses” Kurin or any of the above institutions or individuals. Instead, he uses the nouns “accused” or “accusations” when referring to other sources such as victims, witnesses, and official university documents.
3. The legal definition of “accusation” is “A formal criminal charge against a person alleged to have committed an offense punishable by law, which is presented before a court or a magistrate having jurisdiction to inquire into the alleged crime.”
4. Since Balter never made any formal criminal charges against any of the above, anywhere on earth, then he also never “accused” Kurin. Saying that he did is false, slander, defamation, malice, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.
Michael Balter said…
The last commenter makes a good point. I have not been present when anyone has been sexually assaulted or harassed. Like all #MeToo reporters, I rely on statements from victims and witnesses, sources who corroborate what happened, documents of investigative findings about these issues, etc. In Kurin’s case I have all of that, multiply sourced, and no use of rumors or second hand information. This is what reporters do.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for posting the 6/25 update on the Town Hall meeting page, which now holds Wendrich and De Leon accountable for their (semi-) public statements which, in turn, help poke even more holes in Kurin’s lawsuit.

Glaring inconsistencies on first reading:
Kurin’s lawsuit: “UCSB was completely uninvolved in the second incident. Instead, the IFR conducted an investigation. The IFR substantiated an act of inappropriate behavior against Gomez and at least one other Peruvian. It did not find misconduct against Kurin, but decided to end its relationship with her field program, without prejudice”.
But Jason De Leon said: “When the field school ran again in 2018, and then for the first time IFR received notice of what had been going on, we conducted a very thorough investigation and found that, you know, that bad things had happened and that [Kurin] should not be near students at all, and we immediately cut ties with her.”

“should not be near students at all” doesn’t sound at all like cutting ties was “without prejudice”. And “UCSB was completely uninvolved” doesn’t sound at all like Wendrich’s claim that “IFR is actually mo… at least as strict as UCLA in its anti-harassment and discrimination policy. And there is a very strong policy in place, where the Title IX offices will be involved for students who are involved in situations like that.”

If, as De Leon states, “bad things had happened” to students and the IFR and Kurin cannot be trusted to keep their story straight, then there MUST be an outside investigation into this whole affair.

Anonymous said…
The problem is universities in the US, UK, Europe, Australia and elsewhere are self-regulated with policing harassment and bullying problems. This needs to change at a global scale but set a precedence with UCSB. Are there any external watchdogs, perhaps government organization, in the US that could investigate senior managers who appear to have failed in their duty of care to students? Why should they get away?
Anonymous said…
This is an example of how workplace culture is changing in public services in one part of the world. Surely, this could happen in the US, UK and other places.

[Important updates in the Comments]

In a 2019 report published by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption in South Australia (https://icac.sa.gov.au/), 51% of South Australian (SA) health workers reported encountering bullying and harassment at workplace. SA Health was the worst performer among all public offices. The Commissioner has forced changes in work culture. Please check these links.





In April 2020, the Independent Commissioner conducted an integrity survey in all three South Australian Universities. The report is due in August 2020. Many are expecting parallels between the South Australian Health and the universities.
Anonymous said…
It should be borne in mind that Mr. Emmanuel Gomez and two other people were sentenced in 2005-2006 for the crimes of doping with the use of toxic substances and sexual rape against three female student students at UNSCH-Ayacucho (Peru) . One of the victims sued him and won the trial because there was proven evidence and this criminal was detained in jail. He is a character with a criminal record and a final sentence, which can be requested from the Peruvian judiciary to demonstrate that he is a criminal who always had these attitudes towards women, who previously drunk, dopped and raped them.
Michael Balter said…
I would be grateful if the previous commenter could contact me privately so I can discuss documenting these earlier criminal charges. Needless to say I would also like to know what Danielle Kurin may have known about them at the time of her association and marriage to Gomez. Thank you.
Anonymous said…
Gee whiz, this whole Danielle Kurin business starts to remind me of a privy excavation; the deeper you dig, the stinkier it gets.
Anonymous said…
I saw what happened at the SAA meeting, and am willing to be a witness. You did nothing but escort that person out, who should have never been at that meeting in the first place. Right now, most of my colleagues are boycotting the SAA because of it's mistreatment of the entire situation.

I personally know someone who had gone to Kurins field school in 2018 and has seen what sexual misconduct has happened and what Kurin did to cover it up. It should be noted as well that when I brought up working with Kurin on a potential thesis idea, my grad advisor strongly advised me to "look for someone with better credentials".
Michael Balter said…
Thank you to the last commenter, for the offer of being a witness. If you would like to get in touch with me privately we can discuss it. Much appreciated.
Anonymous said…
I searched on the Transparent California website, and saw that Kurin got pay and benefits during her suspension.
Anonymous said…
There is another point of concern here that hasn’t been brought up yet. Kurin’s lawsuit states that in 2018, “the IFR conducted an investigation. The IFR substantiated an act of inappropriate behavior against Gomez and at least one other Peruvian.”
So besides Gomez, there is still “at least one” other sexual predator out there that we know nothing about? And the IFR won’t tell us who he is because they are afraid of being sued (like happened to UCSB and Balter)? Considering the small size of the Andean archaeological community, how could they even justify sending more students to their field schools in Peru with informing them of such potential threats?
I may have students and colleagues who will go to these projects in Peru and may work with those anonymous abusers. If the IFR will not voluntarily release the report of their investigation to the public, then these must be requested as part of this lawsuit document discovery. This is why I donated to Balter’s GoFundMe campaign, and am encouraging others to do so as well.