By Segan Helle
By Segan Helle
Last Friday, October 5, protests continued in support of former Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) employee Mayli Shing who has brought allegations of wrongful termination and sexual and racial harassment against her supervisor. This protest, which was staged at the newly opened Smith Campus Center, marked the fourth rally since Shing was terminated by the University. Shing and her supporters are calling for the University to rehire her at HUHS.
Shing, who is a member of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW), is being supported by members of the Harvard No Layoffs Campaign, Harvard RAD Collective, Harvard TPC Coalition, Our Harvard Can Do Better, and the Student Labor Action Movement. All five organizations have signed on as sponsors of the most recent rally for Shing.
Prior to termination, Shing was an employee at Harvard for over 10 years. During her time at Harvard, Shing filed three complaints against her supervisor for alleged sexual harassment and racial discrimination, with the first complaint being filed in December 2015. Shing was terminated on February 6 of this year. Employer records indicate that Shing was terminated for arriving to work early on multiple occasions. Shing and her supporters allege that she was terminated in retaliation for speaking out against her supervisor and issues of sexual and racial harassment.
Some members of the Harvard community view Shing’s battle as part of a larger issue of University indifference to victims of harassment.
“I’m feeling very frustrated after the publicity surrounding Professor Dominguez’s [a Harvard professor currently on leave after facing allegations of sexual harassment] rampant harassment of women that continued for decades, the university’s response seems directed primarily toward protecting its own reputation, and discussing the problem as an intellectual abstraction, rather than implementing any concrete solutions for specific cases, like Mayli’s,” Desiree Goodwin, a member of HUCTW currently employed as a Harvard Library Assistant said. “The university’s dismissive response to people who have reported incidents of harassment, and have suffered retaliation in response does nothing to encourage victims of harassment to come forward. Real people are suffering, and endless academic double talk is not going to resolve it.”
The first rally in support of Shing was hosted in front of the Smith Campus Center on February 15 of this year. Shing and the University still have not reached a settlement.
Segan Helle ([email protected]) will provide updates on Mayli’s story as events unfold.