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Addressing Sexual Harassment in Chemistry: Dr. Maria Dulay Shares Her Story

Maria Dulay

Dr. Maria Dulay

Photo Credit: Binhong Lin
Jan 16 2018

Posted In:

In the News, Staff

The September cover story of Chemistry & Engineering News (C&EN), “Confronting Sexual Harassment in Chemistry,” shined a harsh light on the problem of sexual harassment in academia. Since its publication, Dr. Maria Dulay, referred to as “Nancy” in the C&EN story to protect her privacy, has bravely come forward to share her story of sexual harassment when she was a research scientist at Stanford.

Maria’s statement below reflects the devastating and profound impact of sexual harassment on its victims.

“There is a predominant thought that sexual harassment at universities involves primarily students and professors, but sexual harassment can happen to anyone and by anyone – faculty, staff, and students.  If you’ve read the CE&N article on sexual harassment (Sept 18, 2017), you have already met me.  I, Maria Dulay, am “Nancy.” There were many days, had it not been for my two kids, that I did not want to get up in the mornings.  During the 12-mile drive from home to campus, I usually felt numb.  There were times when I would just sit in my car and cry.  I cried a lot in those days; no one ever saw me.  My harasser, a staff member (and now a former staff member), started with comments about my physical appearance, then unwanted physical contact.  When I continued to refuse his “invitations” to events outside the workplace, I believe he retaliated against me by ignoring paperwork that needed his signature.  To get through the day, to ignore the pain and the grief, I focused on creating strategies to avoid crossing paths with him.  I honestly viewed every day as going into a battlefield.  Today, by allowing myself to have this voice – by speaking out – it gives me back my power, and it helps me to craft a different narrative for myself.  For every bad person, there are many more good people who value your dignity as a human being.  I am proud of what our department is doing to change this culture of sexual harassment.  There are transparent leaders who want to focus on the right things, and who want to weave good values into the fabric of this department and the university.”  

                                                                                                              - Dr. Maria Dulay, Researcher, Stanford Department of Chemistry

The Stanford Department of Chemistry supports Maria and is committed to changing the culture of sexual harassment. During winter quarter, all students, faculty and staff members in the Department of Chemistry will be encouraged to attend an in-person sexual harassment training. In partnership with the Sexual Harassment Policy Office, we have also developed and distributed an informational flyer on sexual harassment that is available to download here.

These steps are part of a larger departmental effort to create and foster a respectful workplace culture and address sexual harassment and violence.

For further information on addressing sexual harassment at Stanford, please visit