10 November 2017
Along with fellow members of ASECS, the Executive Board read with horror Professor Seo-Young Chu’s essay “A Refuge for Jae-in Doe: Fugues in the Key of English Major,” published in Entropy on November 3, 2017, which detailed her rape and abuse at the hands of the late Stanford University Professor and ASECS member Jay Fliegelman. Last year, when this incident was brought to the Society’s attention, we contacted Professor Chu, and with her permission brought to the ASECS Board and the Graduate Student Caucus, which confers our Graduate Mentorship Award, a proposal to remove his name from this award. The letter Professor Chu addressed to the Board, and which she has now published, moved us deeply. The proposal was accepted unanimously and the name immediately removed from the award. The Board deeply regrets the pain caused to Professor Chu, and perhaps to others, with the initial naming of the award. Professor Chu’s extraordinary courage in bringing the details of her experience to public attention now allows us to make clear the reasons for the name change, and we are grateful that she has called upon our Society more fully to address the problem of harassment and other forms of predatory behavior.
The ASECS Board unequivocally condemns all forms of harassment, discrimination, and abuse, including mistreatment based on sex, race or status. In the months ahead we will be developing policies for incorporation into our bylaws that make clear that harassment and discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated. This process will require the commitment of our entire membership to join together in a firm endorsement of our standards and values. On behalf of our Society, we accept this charge, and we thank Professor Chu and our colleagues for their eloquence and passion in urging us forward.
Executive Board of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Susan S. Lanser, President
Dena Goodman, Past President
Melissa Hyde, First Vice President
Jeffrey S. Ravel, Second Vice President
Jill Bradbury, Treasurer
Lisa Berglund, Executive Director
Jenna M. Gibbs, Member at Large
Julia Simon, Member at Large
Lisa Freeman, Member at Large
Tony C. Brown, Member at Large
Mary Terrall, Member at Large
Misty G. Anderson, Member at Large