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Economics Students Pen Letter Over Harassment and Discrimination

Days after a Harvard University investigator found renowned economics professor Roland G. Fryer Jr. involved in serious sexual misconduct, more than 100 current graduate students and research assistants have written an open letter.

Students from various universities across the country have raised concerns regarding discrimination and harassment in the economics profession.

“Abuses of power, bullying, and harassment damage peoples’ health and happiness, ruin careers, and reduce the quality of scholarship in economics. Moreover, it is well documented that these abuses of power disproportionately harm women, minorities, and queer individuals,” reads the letter.

“These frustrating realities have pushed us to ask how economics can address the power imbalances that drive out talented individuals, prevent the inclusion of underrepresented groups, and collectively damage our discipline.”

The report, accessed by The New York Times, found Fryer, who won a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2011, of sexually harassing women at workplace, including bullying and retaliation

Students have called upon departments and American Economic Association (AEA) to take certain steps to address their growing concerns, including creating, communicate, and enforcing department-level standards of conduct, implementing a discipline-wide reporting system to document bad behavior, among others.

“We are tired of seeing friends and colleagues who could have been brilliant economists forced out by the terrible climate in our discipline. We are tired of leaders in the field refusing to see problems happening right under their noses. And we are tired of having these problems distract from what we came here to do: meaningful, high-quality economic research.”

Earlier this week, Fryer tendered his resignation from the executive committee of American Economic Association months after the association said that it would wait for the conclusion of the investigation and further streamline its process of nomination.


Economic Association Denies Knowledge of Fryer’s Investigation


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