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U. of Colorado Removes Philosophy Chair Amid Finding of Sex Harassment

The University of Colorado at Boulder has removed the chairman of its philosophy department after a report said the department had maintained “an environment with unacceptable sexual harassment, inappropriate sexualized unprofessional behavior, and divisive uncivil behavior,” The Daily Camera reported, another in a series of such episodes that have cast an unflattering light on the discipline.

The university has also suspended graduate admissions to the department for the fall of 2014.

Philip P. DiStefano, Boulder’s chancellor, revealed the department’s change of leadership in a message on Friday. The university also released a report—conducted at the university’s invitation by the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on the Status of Women—saying that such behavior had “harmed men and women members of every stakeholder group in the department.”

University officials said they could not discuss whether any members of the department had been punished. But Bronson Hilliard, a university spokesman, told the newspaper that “anyone who has violated university rules has been held accountable under university policies.”

Mr. DiStefano said J. Andrew Cowell, chairman of the university’s linguistics department, would take over leadership of the philosophy department. The chairman he is replacing, Graeme Forbes, had led the department since the fall of 2010 and will remain a professor in it. Mr. Forbes declined to comment to the newspaper about the report.

Mr. DiStefano pledged that the department would take steps to improve its climate, such as mandatory training on the issue of sexual harassment, training on bystander interventions, and workshops to improve faculty collegiality and scholarly climate.

“I want to make it clear that we cannot allow patterns of misconduct and breaches of integrity to go unchecked,” Mr. DiStefano said. “I expect this campus to operate at the highest levels of personal and professional integrity in everything we do. As we move ahead, we must stay on the course of creating an inclusive campus that fosters student success, improves retention and progress toward graduation, and that elevates the university’s reputation in all ways, at all times, with all our key stakeholders.”

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