Thursday, May 11, 2017

4 hours 42 minutes and 58 seconds...

...of reason.
...without incident.

This is worth watching. You don't have to binge watch it and the sound gets better about 53 minutes in. You don't even have to watch it all. The important thing is that a reasonable conversation that went almost five hours about sexual assault on college campuses actually happened. The audience was clearly not predisposed to the speaker's point of view. Perhaps not incidentally, the invited (i.e., not dis-invited) speaker was critical of the current Title IX regime.

This makes me want to issue a challenge. Would a member of the Astronomy Allies make themselves available in this way? I'm thinking of Joan Schmelz, Christina Richey, and Bryan Gaensler. And, of course, Kate Clancy (tough she's an "ally" but not an astronomer.) Would they accept an invitation for an open-ended conversation about the problem of harassment in astronomy that could go on for four or five hours, depending on the interest of the audience?

It's an interesting asymmetry in these sorts of cases. I, for one, would love to talk about the problem of sexual harassment in astronomy (or science or academia in general) in this sort of way. I would listen to all questions and objections, and I would answer them to the best of my ability. I don't get the sense that the other side of this debate is willing to talk in this sort of open and unstructured way.

KC Johnson is very impressive here. And, like I say, very generous with his time. It is amazing to think that there was opposition to this conversation even taking place (see 03:02:00).

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