Sparky's Debates: #MeToo movement brings new discourse to campus

An attempt to encourage thoughtful conversation on different opinions

This series features curated State Press columns with different points of view surrounding a similar topic. Its purpose is to promote healthy debate about alternative ways to think about certain discussions. Every voice matters and contributes to a more diverse and representative dialogue.

We hope not only to highlight the grey area of potentially polarizing topics, but to also encourage respectful recognition and conversation of varied perspectives whether you agree, disagree, are indifferent or unsure. The selected columns are intended to get you listening, thinking and talking. 

In this segment, we will feature two State Press columns that offer different thoughts on ASU professor Lawrence Krauss, who remains on paid administrative leave amid a University investigation of sexual misconduct allegations.

While cases of sexual harassment and assault have always been prevalent on college campuses, the Me Too movement, which calls for greater awareness of sexual assault and harassment, has brought attention to an issue that many saw as previously  inadequately addressed by administrators.  

A new level of discourse and public awareness has led to a largely student-driven movement on campuses nationwide to address the issue. While many see this as an important new development in the fight against sexual assault, there has been controversy regarding the level of due process given to the accused.

Obviously you want to prevent sexual assault and harassment on campus, but how are such issues best addressed? And should the accused face consequences while investigations are ongoing?

Responses to sexual assault allegations should be sensitive and complex

Lawrence Krauss, founder of the ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration, speaks at an Origin Projects event at the Orpheum Theater, in Phoenix, Arizona, on Oct. 19, 2016. 

This column by Adrienne Dunn explores ideas of due process within university affairs in regard to sexual assault. Dunn notes that while Krauss has been suspended from his job at ASU and has seen several organizations cut ties with him, ASU's investigation into his alleged behavior is still ongoing. For Dunn, sexual assault is an immense problem on college campuses that needs to be addressed, but any action must be prefaced by the principle that the accused should be presumed innocent until their guilt is proven. 

"While it is incredibly important that victims of sexual assault are heard and taken seriously, those who are accused deserve to garner the benefits that come from the principle of innocent until proven guilty."

Lawrence Krauss allegations represent a larger issue of sexual harassment in STEM

Professor Lawrence Krauss speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. Photo courtesy of Janice Sinclaire, communication director for the Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists. 

Columnist Karishma Albal takes a look at misconduct allegations against Lawrence Krauss in the context of greater issues of sexual harassment and assault within the STEM field, where harassment, while fairly widespread, often goes unreported. Albal believe that with new awareness by the public of issues of sexual assault and harassment issues, ASU should address the issue, making sure that they never hire someone previously linked to sexual misconduct allegations. 

"Sexual harassment in STEM is both overlooked and underreported by women, often due to their fear of having their credibility questioned or even losing their jobs."

Reach the editors at and or follow @Marinodavidjr and @alexandrawolfe_ on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this opinion blog are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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