On the 14th March the ETH School Board made a public press release in the face of rising dissatisfaction with how it has dealt with several allegations of misconduct at the school. The school announced that it will be firing a professor in the former Institute for Astronomy following an investigation into bullying.
ETH Zurich has submitted a request to the ETH Board to terminate the employment relationship with a professor in the former Institute for Astronomy. To avoid as far as possible similar cases from escalating in future, ETH Zurich is adapting its structures and processes and is launching a comprehensive package of measures to improve the quality of leadership and supervision at the university.”
The president of the school, Prof. Dr. Joel Mesot also apologized for the mistakes made in investigating these claims, and recognized these were institutional errors. Speak Up! welcomes this step, as an important and necessary moment in moving forward towards more transparent and professional processes for preventing, investigating and condemning misconduct.
Following the press conference, the School Board held an open event for members of the ETH to again apologize, present the measures and answer questions from students and staff. The preparation, communication and presentation of this event was a great improvement compared to how ETH addressed (or failed to address) these issues in the past.
Speak Up! attended the event, with members from several ETH departments currently involved in investigations into misconduct. It was able to take this opportunity to applaud the school board for apologizing to the victims involved in these cases, and communicating in a more transparent manner. Speak Up! stands ready to collaborate with the School Board in implementing change – but also to challenge and hold the school accountable should it fail to do so.
Speak Up! will closely follow the development of these measures, how they are implemented, and how they can be complemented by further institutional change.