A graduate student in philosophy at one of the programs "Strongly Recommended" by the SPEP/SAAP Guide to philosophy programs writes:
As a member of one of the "SPEP departments" which is valorized for its "women-friendly climate", I feel compelled to relate a little detail of how considerations such as this work out locally.
Our department was recently involved in a major scandal concerning a male professor who [it was alleged] repeatedly made sexual advances towards undergraduate students and even groped a young freshman in his office during his office hours. The department response to these allegations came not from the departmental faculty, or Affirmative Action, but from the graduate students (including myself), who were appalled by such conduct as well as the seeming lack of concern from the departmental and university administration. This disconnect prompted us to compose an open letter effectively forcing the issue and listing our remedial demands.
No only were many faculty members (with a few notable exceptions) hostile to this, but a feminist faculty member actually expressed concern that, were this matter to become public, it would hurt our reputation as a feminist and "women-friendly" department—for which we were, at the time, up for an award.
We won the award, but this faculty member remains in his place, is still the "director of undergraduate studies", is still teaching required classes, and is still holding office hours in the privacy of his own office.
This should tell you all you need to know about such rankings.
Many people have now called upon Linda Alcoff to remove this misleading garbage from the web--as I said originally, it is the one part of the new SPEP Guide to philosophy programs that is really scandalous and irresponsible, as all the information since has suggested. I am loathe to start publishing the names of some of the "strongly recommended" departments in the SPEP Guide that are, in fact, rife with sexual harassment and other problems (as I've learned during the past week), but at least my sources are actually faculty and students at the programs, as opposed to the hearsay on which Professor Alcoff and her partners in crime have relied.
UPDATE: I have now been contacted by a faculty member at the Department described by the graduate student, above, who confirms the allegations, which concern the University of Oregon, a SPEP department "strongly recommended" by Alcoff et. al. for its "Climate for Women" and which also received recognition from SWIP UK for being women-friendly (though I believe SWIP UK has now realized the mistake, and will revoke the award).