Christian D. Ott, a tenured professor of theoretical astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology, has resigned in the wake of an investigation that found he had harassed two students.
"This has been a difficult situation for our community," the Caltech statement said. Caltech declined to provide any further comment to BuzzFeed News, and Ott did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to more than 1,000 pages of emails and chat messages submitted to the investigators, first publicly reported by BuzzFeed News, Ott had become infatuated with Kleiser, whom he then fired due to his feelings. He later confessed his actions in increasingly inappropriate and erratic emotional exchanges with Gossan.
Gossan filed a complaint with the university's Title IX office in the spring of 2015, which Kleiser joined soon after. Prior to Gossan's complaint, Kleiser had no idea she had been fired for reasons unrelated to her scientific work.
Kleiser is relieved that Ott resigned. But her experience with him, as well as the "lukewarm" response from many in the faculty to news of the problem, has led her to decide to leave academia once her PhD is complete.
"I didn't see a lot of action on the part of people that I considered to be my role models in my field," Kleiser said. "So that's kind of difficult, and I think that makes it harder to want to stay and eventually take a permanent position in a place like this."
— Claire N. Saunders (@ClaireNSaunders) August 1, 2017