When Academics Defend Colleagues Accused of Harassment

Among those who rallied to Ronell’s defense were a host of prominent philosophers, led by one of the country’s most notable feminist scholars, Judith Butler. They wrote a letter to the university asserting Ronell’s innocence and arguing that Reitman harbored malice towards the professor. “We deplore the damage that this legal proceeding causes her, and seek to register in clear terms our objection to any judgment against her,” they wrote. In a draft of the letter, which was published by Brian Leiter on his philosophy blog, Leiter Reports, the professors admitted that they did not know all of the details of the case. But Joan A. Scott, a signatory and professor emerita at the Institute for Advanced Study, a research center in Princeton, New Jersey, told The Chronicle of Higher Education that “many people who

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