The true victims

By Gus Bode

I am writing because the ‘reporting’ in the DAILY EGYPTIAN of the John Simon harassment case is inaccurate and distorted at best.

The real question seems to be: Who are the true victims here? There are people who have felt they were harassed, people with real issues and valid complaints. And until this process is finished, no one knows the reality of this situation. People quoted in these articles are speaking about things they know nothing about – they merely offer speculation and hearsay. This situation is not a university conspiracy or a political ploy, these are real and valid charges from dedicated employees who came to work every day and endured what they felt was inappropriate behavior.

All the facts, all the witnesses, all the evidence should be examined before making the type of incriminating statements in these DAILY EGYPTIAN articles. It seems there is a misnomer out there that brilliant men – men who excel academically and professionally – could not possibly be guilty of harassment. But if you look at the history of human behavior, anyone is capable of bad behavior.


That does not detract from their brilliant work, or their abilities professionally, but the two can and do co-exist. Until recently when laws that benefit victims were enacted, many people (a majority of them women) had to endure the injustices of their workplace if they wanted to keep their jobs. Today, when there is finally protection for victims of harassment and they are safe to use it, they should not be made to feel they are doing something wrong when they invoke those laws. Victims should not be made to feel powerless or vulnerable because the person harassing them happens to be brilliant or powerful.

Regardless if you are a secretary, receptionist, faculty member, janitor or student, everyone shares the same right to work in a safe and comfortable environment. If these charges are not valid, if everyone has made them up, that will come out in the end, but the process must be allowed to run its course and the victims must be allowed to speak. No union or lawyer or friend of the accused should be allowed to bully them, or publicly condemn them. Ironically, that seems to be the very thing they were exposed to in the first place. Sean McGahan’s articles make the people involved, the people who had valid complaints, look and feel like the aggressors, like the wrongdoers. These articles try to intimidate them and cause them to question if they are doing the right thing, will anyone believe them? Will they now be looked at as political pawns or not be taken seriously because the unions and reporters, among others, have portrayed them as marginal at best? Are they people who do not matter because they are not brilliant academic scholars?

Allow the legal system to weigh the facts, let the legal process play itself out, and let’s demand objective reporting so people can decide for themselves who the real victims are in this case.

Granderson is a graphic designer for Morris Library.