Terry Karl lost count of how many times he tried to kiss her. In his office, in her office, at a hotel during a conference. She remembers the night in her car when he confided that he would be the next department chairman, and that he would review the book she was writing. It was unfortunate, he said, that he had to decide the fates of people he liked. He moved his hand to her thigh, beneath her skirt, and leaned in for a kiss.
It was November 5, 1981. Karl had been at Harvard University for less than a year. She was an assistant professor of government, and Jorge Domínguez was her senior colleague. He had tenure; she didn’t. Domínguez would soon be president of the Latin American Studies Association; she studied Latin America. He sat on the editorial boards of prestigious journals like American Political Science Review and Social Science Quarterly. He was already a name in the field, while she was still establishing hers. He could be helpful to her — or not.
For two years, according to Karl, Domínguez made numerous sexual advances, disregarding both verbal and written pleas to stop. It eventually led her to file a complaint, and Domínguez was found guilty by the university of “serious misconduct.” Domínguez was removed from administrative responsibilities for three years and told that any future misconduct could trigger his dismissal. Karl considered his punishment a slap on the wrist. Meanwhile, she decided that she couldn’t remain at the same university as Domínguez considering what he’d done, and what she feared he might do.
She left. He stayed.