Tuesday, September 06, 2022


Antarctica is a hard place to work. You're cooped up with the same people for months working and sharing close quarters. Different people sometimes answer to different agencies. And some are jerks. A few years back the first flight to the Pole at Austral Spring brought a US marshall to arrest a man. I don't know what means they'd taken to constrain the culprit before the marshall arrived.

It seems the Antarctica program has had problems with sexual harassment. Apparently the bulk of this is at McMurdo, which has twice the population of all the other stations combined, and apparently has much laxer staff vetting. The upper echelons think most of it is alcohol-related, but complainants disagree. Because this is voluntary survey and focus-group based, there aren't numbers of incidents, much less broken out by who and when.

Harassment training modules are designed for workplace issues, and don't fit so well the environment where workplace and living place is the same place with the same people. They need better designs. Coordinating complaints and responses between (e.g.) the Air Force and the NSF seems like a no-brainer, but hard. (important things are always simple; simple things are always hard) Figuring out who causes problems and why (alcohol can breed misunderstandings) might go some way towards cleaning things up.

I've never been there. If I'd gone: I'm an older man and orders of magnitude less likely to be pursued, I'm not into the dating or bar scene so I'd not be hanging out with young ones who were, and I'd not be taking liberties with non-existent subordinates. I don't think I'd have seen any harassment. It'd be like different worlds.

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