Avital Ronell, an American philosopher and a professor of German and comparative literature, has been suspended by New York University after an investigation found that she sexually harassed a former graduate student.
One of her students, Nimrod Reitman, a male Ph.D. student, filed a complaint last September with the university against the 66-year old scholar.
Prominent intellectuals including some leading feminist came to her defence.
The university’s Title IX investigation found Ronell guilty of physical and verbal harassment, but not of other actions alleged by Reitman, including sexual assault, stalking and retaliation.
Last month, Ronell's colleagues sent a letter signed by about 50 scholars among them prominent feminists to the university defending her against the accusations.
According to reports, the letter was made public by Brian Leiter, a professor of Philosophy and law at the university of Chicago Law School in a blogpost titled 'Blaming the victim is apparently OK when the accused in a Title IX proceeding is feminist literary theorist".
Ronell’s colleagues also warned the administration that if she were to be terminated or relieved of her duties “the injustice would be widely recognized and opposed.”
Critics have called this attempt by the scholars hypocritical for going against the "party line" in which accusers should always be believed.
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