...and I will have more to say about it either later or more likely tomorrow, due to some pressing deadlines. Thanks to many different readers, on all sides of these issues, who have e-mailed me.
ADDENDUM: As I will explain in more detail, I also want to issue a public apology to "Current Student" for the way I expressed myself, which was intemperate and unfair to the concerns she raised, which some others have helped me see. I would gladly apologize in person if I knew who she was. I still do disagree with some of the content of what she said (which I will try to explain more constructively), but I lost my temper and made statements that were utterly disproportionate and harmful. I retract them and wish "Current Student" nothing but success in her future academics pursuits, and hopefully in a climate free of sexual harassment and gender inequities.
FURTHER ADDENDUM (3/10): I regret that I have been unable to finish revising Friday's post about the poll and the often toxic atmosphere surrounding these issues, mainly due to other obligations, both professional and personal. I did get a lot of helpful suggestions I need to incorporate, so that the revised version is actually constructive (unlike the original posting). I hope to get it up during the week. I will share a quite apt e-mail I received from a female colleague elsewhere: "I'm very tired of the lynch-mob self-righteous mentality that rules philosophy cyberspace, and also tired of the culture of sexual harassment. It's all just exhausting." Indeed.
AND ANOTHER: I should have the revised post up on March 17. I want to explain here, however, more of the context for the material for which I apologized, above. I decided to participate in a discussion of these issues at another blog. Anyone can review the record, and see that I tried to respond substantively to a variety of criticisms, and also apologized early on when I mischaracterized someone's objection. After much back and forth between myself and other commentators, someone using the pseudonym "Current Student" arrived to tell me off:
Brian Leiter, since you’re here, I think you should know that myself and a number of other women in the graduate student community found your latest post nothing short of sickening. The actions of the students at Northwestern were inspiring, and they deserve praise for supporting a member of their community and mobilizing so quickly to protect themselves and their peers.The fact that you are most concerned with academic freedom and due process in the face of this likely sexual assault is indicative of your extraordinary level of privilege as a person who will never need such protections from abusive and dangerous mentors.
I understand better [after reading the original post] why you were so annoyed with "Current Student," but I think I read what "Current Student" wrote differently. I did not read the claim that discussion of due process or of academic freedom itself was sickening. I read something more like this: when Leiter, who is very clearly an important insider in the field, protests the protesters and concentrates on due process and academic freedom (which protect Ludlow's teaching), this suggests that the establishment is circling the wagons around someone against whom there has been a finding of wildly inappropriate conduct with an undergraduate woman, and that's demoralizing to youngsters in the profession who want to improve the climate for women. So understood, "Current Student" response is reasonable and should not be dismissed. You could remind him or her that you *agree* with the aims of improving the climate, etc., and just add that you think it important that our progress on those fronts not entirely neglect due process and academic freedom. I might be overreaching here for some middle ground, but the polarizing effects of the internet seem to have seized not just your critics but also you, and I'd like to think that there is a lot of room for agreement.