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News Picks : Caltech suspends astrophysics professor for gender-based harassment

By: Physics Today
13 January 2016

Science: On 4 January Caltech president Thomas Rosenbaum issued a letter to faculty and students describing the university's response to complaints of gender-based harassment filed by two graduate students. The university has not named the professor, but news reports have identified him as theoretical astrophysicist Christian Ott. Caltech opened an investigation into the complaints in June 2015, and a faculty-led committee found them to be valid. In September the university suspended Ott without pay and banned him from campus for one year. He also is receiving personalized coaching to become a better mentor and must prove he has been rehabilitated before being allowed to advise students without supervision. In the wake of a similar, poorly handled incident at the University of California, Berkeley, that caused outrage in the astronomy community, American Astronomical Society president Meg Urry of Yale University says she is encouraged by Caltech's response.


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