Academics outraged by presence of ex-UAA anthropology professor at conference
A former University of Alaska Anchorage anthropology professor, banned from campus over credible accusations of sexual misconduct against female students, is provoking a heated debate about ethics in the #MeToo era after showing up at a national conference.
Attendees at the Society for American Archaeology’s 2019 conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico posted on Twitter this week blasting the organization for its lack of response to Dr. David Yesner’s presence.
Yesner, who had been considered for emeritus status at UAA after retiring in 2017, was the focus of a Title IX investigation. Nine women came forward to describe incidents spanning decades in which he allegedly assaulted one woman, harassed others and made sexually suggestive comments.
By Friday, the conference’s hashtag #SAA2019 was dominated by mentions of Yesner’s presence as attendees warned each other about him.
The Scientist magazine reported that journalist Michael Balter had been ejected from the conference for confronting Yesner at the event.
On Friday afternoon, SAA officials said they had received formal complaints about an attendee, without identifying Yesner by name. The post drew numerous comments, which called for an apology to attendees and questioned whether the society would act before the conference ends Sunday.
Men in the archaeology community also denounced the society's handling of Yesner's attendance.
Requests for comment from the society weren’t immediately answered Friday afternoon.
The Alaska Anthropological Association notified members in a post that as a result of the Title IX investigation Yesner faces several consequences:
1) The Professional Achievement Award presented by the Alaska Anthropological Association in 2014 is hereby revoked.
2) Membership in the Alaska Anthropological Association is prohibited.
3) Participation in the Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association and/or any events or activities sponsored or hosted by the Alaska Anthropological Association is prohibited.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, resources are available on the Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) website or by calling the statewide crisis hotline at (800) 478-8999.
Janis Harper contributed information to this story.
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.