A majority of UC-Berkeley’s astronomy faculty have signed a letter calling for the dismissal of Geoffrey Marcy, an astronomer at the university since 1999, who was found to have sexually harassed his students.
As first reported by BuzzFeed News on Friday, a six-month-long investigation conducted by the university found that, between 2001 and 2010, Marcy had violated campus sexual harassment policies. Marcy, a preeminent researcher in his field, was put on probation, meaning that a subsequent harassment violation could lead to his immediate dismissal.
“After all of this effort and trying to go through the proper channels, Berkeley has ultimately come up with no response,” Joan Schmelz, formerly of the American Astronomical Society’s Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy, told BuzzFeed. “I’ve seen sexual harassers get slaps on the wrist before. This isn’t even a slap on the wrist.”
“While I do not agree with each complaint that was made, it is clear that my behavior was unwelcomed by some women,” he wrote. “It is difficult to express how painful it is for me to realize that I was a source of distress for any of my women colleagues, however unintentional.”
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Janet Broughton, Berkeley’s vice provost for faculty, said, “The university has imposed real consequences on Professor Geoff Marcy by establishing a zero-tolerance policy regarding future behavior.”