MANY OF THE SENIOR FACULTY MEMBERS COLLEAGUES SIDED WITH RAVINA
The fact that many of the senior, tenured professors in their finance and economics division sided not with Bekeart but with Ravina could not have helped the defense of either Columbia University or Bekaert. The faculty, in fact, filed three separate petitions with Columbia Business School Dean Glenn Hubbard, each one of them demonstrating considerable support for their junior colleague.
In his closing arguments, Sanford noted that support from her colleagues. “No one from Columbia besides Professor Bekaert has claimed that Professor Ravina was making this up,” he said. “In fact, Director Dunn, Columbia’s own investigator, testified that he thought Professor Ravina honestly expressed her beliefs about what was happening with Professor Bekaert. He thought Professor Ravina was deeply affected and troubled by what she had experienced. And faculty at Columbia Business School were so concerned about Professor Ravina’s situation that they repeatedly escalated their concerns all over the university. To the division chair, to the dean of the business school, to the executive commitee, to the provost of the university, and even to the president himself of Columbia University.”
Testimony in the case showed that the university’s Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action (EOAA) conducted a shockingly superficial and incomplete review of Ravina’s charges. On the witness stand, Michael Dunn, the EEOA’s then director, conceded that he only interviewed one other person, besides Ravina and Bekeart. That person was a research assistant and graduate student who immediately admitted that she was “biased” in favor of Bekeart who she described as a “father figure” and who would serve on her dissertation committee. The student, Nancy Xu, had stopped working on the collaboration between Ravina and Bekeart in December of 2012, long before the relationship openly devolved into a bitter dispute.
UNIVERSITY ALSO FAILED TO FOLLOW UP ON TITLE IX TRAINING FOR BEKAERT
Dunn, in fact, conceded there was no formal investigation, just a “preliminary fact-finding review.” Attorney Sanford called the investigation “a complete sham.” Dunn admitted on the stand that he hadn’t even prepared any questions for Ravina when he first interviewed her and that he never followed up with her on any of the 170 pages of emails between her and Bekaert that she had sent him. Even worse, Dunn said that his highly limited “investigation” was narrowly focused along the lines of sexual harassment and failed to probe Ravina’s claims of gender discrimination, retaliation or other discriminatory harassment.
Bekaert’s own emails conceded he stopped working on their collaboration for several months because of his dislike for his one-time mentee. Dunn also failed to follow up on a recommendation from Dean Hubbard that Bekaert undergo one-on-one Title IX training, even though he had initially agreed with that recommendation. Instead, Bekaert was sent at his convenience to a one-to-two hour training session on appropriate professional communications.