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Editor resigns after accusations of harassment

The American Journal of Political Science, a journal published by the US Midwest Political Science Association, has temporarily stopped receiving manuscripts for publication until it can find a replacement for former editor William Jacoby, who resigned from his position amid allegations of sexual harassment. Jacoby is a researcher at Michigan State University. In January, political scientist Rebecca Gill, now an associate professor at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, wrote a personal account on social media of how she was sexually harassed by a teacher while studying her graduate degree, explaining the effect it had on her self-confidence. She also shared the story at an academic meeting. She did not mention Jacoby by name, but he was identified in comments and discussions on the post by many colleagues who suffered similar experiences.

The Midwest Political Science Association conducted an investigation, but could not reach a consensus on Jacoby’s guilt. The institution chose to allow him to remain as editor until the end of the year. His more immediate exit, however, became a formality after he used the journal’s website to defend himself and plead his innocence. The post quickly attracted criticism and was later deleted. A letter signed by 85 researchers called for Jacoby’s immediate dismissal for abusing his position as editor. At an emergency meeting of the editorial board on April 20, the journal “accepted Jacoby’s resignation.”

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