Sex and Denial in Scholarly Garb


  • A preliminary version of this paper was presented at the convention of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, 1986. This research was supported in part by a grant from the Women's Educational Equity Act, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Education.

Requests for reprints should be addressed to Louise F. Fitzgerald, who is now at the Department of Educational Psychology, University of Illinois, 1310 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820.


Although much has been written concerning the sexual harassment of university students, no research has yet directly examined the behaviors of university professors themselves. The present study describes the responses of 235 male faculty members of a prestigious, research-oriented university who responded to a survey inquiring about social and sexual interaction among faculty and students. Although the majority of the responses focused on mentoring and social interactions, a sizable minority (26%) reported sexual involvement with women students. In addition to item frequencies, a structural analysis of the phenomenon of academic harassment is presented, and discussed in the context of the subjects' responses to an open-ended invitation to comment on the study.