National

British woman sues Ritsumeikan University over power harassment

Kyodo

A British woman has filed a damages lawsuit against Ritsumeikan University, alleging that it failed to reprimand male professors who made remarks about her that constituted harassment and prevented her promotion.

Blake Hayes is demanding ¥70 million in compensation from the operator of the university. The lawsuit was filed with the Kyoto District Court on Thursday.

She became an associate professor of international studies at the university in 2009 and was nominated for the position of professor in 2015.

But her potential promotion was voted down after two male professors criticized her at a faculty meeting, saying she is “high-handed” and “presses her opinion on others,” according to her claim.

They also made remarks suggesting she had forged her doctorate.

The university recognized those remarks as power harassment last year but did not punish the men and also did not hold another vote on her promotion. Hayes left the university the same year.

Hayes told a news conference in Kyoto after filling the suit that she wanted the public to know that she is not the only woman being harassed and that it is not something people have to bear.

The operator, Ritsumeikan Trust, said Thursday it cannot comment on the matter because it has yet to receive the complaint.

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