Nicole Hemmer exposes sexual harassment at the Miller CenterHistorians in the News
tags: Miller Center, Nicole Hemmer, sexual harassment
... Nicole Hemmer, an assistant professor of presidential studies at UVa, took to Twitter recently with a thread about her time at the [Miller] center, describing it as a place where "I’ve experienced more harassment than anywhere else I’ve worked."
Hemmer highlighted a panel, in 2015, on which she felt diminished by a colleague. "Thinking about that moment now, three years later, still leaves me flushed," she wrote. "After the panel, I sat in my car and cried. But in the moment, pinned in place by the publicness of it all, I simply laughed it off."
Hemmer did not name the offender, but a video of the event can be found online. In a discussion on "Media, Technology, and Partisanship," Hemmer’s fellow panelists joked that her reputation had been sullied because she combined traditional scholarship with journalism and podcasting. That was all good-natured ribbing. But then Blackmon, the center’s former television host, jokingly implied that she had lost her credibility because of some sexual dalliance. He asked Hemmer "where exactly in the building" she was when she lost it.
The video provides a striking portrait of how, in a public and professional setting, slights of this kind can go unchallenged and even be validated with laughter. Everyone laughs, including Hemmer, whose discomfort is barely betrayed moments later when she takes a long drink of water.
Hemmer’s tweets broadened the focus of the Miller Center’s cultural problems, which had to that point been laid at the feet of a handful of council members. The public narrative, while embarrassing, was a manageable story about a few old men who were out of touch with the times. They were relative outsiders. But Hemmer’s testimony complicated the story, pointing to the everyday experiences of women in the center who were casually demeaned by their own enlightened colleagues. ...