University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa alumna Karen Kelsky, a prominent figure in the national #MeToo movement, returned to the Mānoa campus in October 2018, to give a presentation on sexual harassment in higher education. Kelsky, who earned her PhD in anthropology at UH Mānoa in 1996, set up a public online survey on sexual harassment in institutions of higher learning when the movement started, and the response was overwhelming, receiving about 2,500 entries in six weeks.

Kelsky has since been traveling the country, speaking out on issues of sexual assault in academia, with a focus on empowering victims and training people in leadership.

“The most important thing is constant trainings and education that is mandatory and that also involves role play,” said Kelsky in an exclusive interview with UH News, where she said role playing is key. “So that people who are are in vulnerable positions can really start to practice setting healthy boundaries and identifying problematic behaviors, when it is small, because perpetrators groom their victims.”

Kelsky is a columnist for the Chronicle of Higher Education and author of The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your Ph.D. Into a Job. She is the founder of The Professor Is In, a consultancy for academics on the job market.

Her appearance on the Mānoa campus was sponsored by the UH Mānoa Better Tomorrow Speaker Series, Hawaiʻi State Commission on the Status of Women, the UH Mānoa Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, UH Office of Institutional Equity, UH Alumni Relations, UH West Oʻahu, UH Mānoa anthropology, American studies and women’s studies departments, UH Mānoa Campus Climate Committee, UH Mānoa College of Social Sciences and the UH Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law.

woman sitting by a desk

Karen Kelsky