Target: Ana Mari Cauce, President of the University of Washington
Goal: Dismiss university professor who has been allegedly sexually harassing his fellow employees.
A microbiology professor, Michael Katze, has been sexually harassing multiple employees according to a University of Washington investigation. In addition, it was uncovered that he had spent university funds on personal expenses, including soliciting a prostitute.
This is not the first time his unacceptable behavior has come to light. At least seven complaints about this professor were submitted to the university. The complaints asserted that he had used his university computer to view porn, often showed up to his lab intoxicated, and degraded his employees. Despite this history of reprobation, the university has still not fired him. Tell them to quit dragging their feet and terminate this disgraceful professor.
The university has stated that Katze violated their sexual harassment policies. However, he has done much more than that–he has violated the law. Federal law states that asking for sexual favors and/or initiating unwelcome sexual advances are both illegal in the workplace. Behavior that produces an antagonistic work environment or causes an unfavorable employment decision, like a demotion or firing, is explicitly forbidden.
One of the employees Katze harassed was afraid of losing her job if she did not put up with his advances. The employee in question was subjected to ongoing verbal harassment. Katze continually commented on her body and joked about arranging threesomes with her, in addition to trying to touch or kiss her twice.
Sexual harassment is a serious crime with severe consequences for its victims. People who have been sexually harassed can experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep problems, and high blood pressure. In addition to its severity, sexual harassment is also depressingly common. It has affected 70 percent of women and 45 percent of men in their places of employment.
One way to make it less common is to punish the perpetrators and remove them from positions of power. Urge the university to dismiss this professor from the workplace and put a stop to his disgusting behavior.
Dear Dr. Cauce,
The University of Washington must fire microbiology professor Michael Katze. He has been accused of a variety of sexual harassment claims and your investigation has found him guilty of violating university harassment policy. At least seven complaints against this professor have been presented to the university for offenses like showing up to the workplace intoxicated and watching porn on his office computer. In addition, your investigations have discovered that he spent university money to solicit a prostitute. If this does not qualify for him for dismissal, I don’t know what does.
In addition to violating university harassment policy, Katze’s actions were also illegal. Federal law prohibits harassment in the workplace, including asking for sexual favors and instigating unwelcome sexual advances, both of which Katze did. Harassment that leads to firings or demotions is also expressly forbidden. One employee of this professor claims that she believed that she had to put up with Katze’s unwanted sexual behavior for fear of losing her job.
Firing this professor would go a long way toward assuring his victims and other employees that the professor’s behavior was “not in any way reflective of the University’s values,” as your spokesperson claimed. Dismiss him and ensure that your employees have a safe place to work.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Edith Castro Roldán, Oscar Manuel Luna Nieto