חשיפה: הבכיר מאוניברסיטת חיפה, שהואשם כי הוא מטריד מיני סדרתי, הוא פרופ’ צבי איזיקוביץ מבית-הספר לעבודה סוציאלית
Yesterday, I posted that the University of Haifa had an accused serial sexual harasser among its most senior faculty. Though I believed I’d identified the suspect, there was enough uncertainty I deemed it wise to delay exposing him. Now, I can with confidence say that the professor is Zvi Eisikovits. A combination of a source and my own research has confirmed this identification.
He is a professor of social welfare and criminology. A former dean of the School of Welfare and Health Sciences and director of the School for the Study of Society. His online CV notes:
“Eisikovits is a nationally and internationally known research expert in interpersonal violence and in the use of qualitative research methods in studying woman abuse.”
He’s almost modest by comparison to Donald Trump. He has, according to his own accounting, secured more than $4.5-million in research funding for the University during the period 1979-2015. Linor Alaluf’s story in the Israeli media portal, The Hottest Place in Hell, describes him as one of the most successful at securing grants among all faculty members. Among those who awarded him funding are the W.T. Grant Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, the Israel Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and numerous ministries in both Israel and Germany (his research involved the Holocaust as well). There is one curious funder on his list: Traiana Technologies. An online stock market source describes the company’s business:
Traiana is a market infrastructure technology firm for cross-asset, pre-trade and post-trade processing and risk management for FX, exchange-traded derivatives, OTC products, credit default swaps and synthetic and cash equities. The company works primarily with global banks, broker/dealers, buy-side firms and trading platforms.
The firm says it connects 1,000 firms via a cloud-based network called Harmony and supports 15,000 cross-asset trading relationships on the platform. Traiana claims Harmony’s system handles $2 trillion worth of transactions daily.
Why would such a company fund an $800,000 research study on the incidence, prevalence and reporting of child abuse. This would appear to be a favor done for him by a corporate officer, rather than a bona fide research funder. It makes one wonder who’s overseeing the research and how the researchers will be accountable to the funder, since as a stock-trading company, it has little or no ability to monitor the project it’s funding.
He is also a board member of Amcha, an NGO that offers support and assistance to Holocaust survivors. Apparently, he has secured employment for his graduate students at the organization. This would appear to a clear conflict of interest and to breach academic ethics guidelines. As chairman of Israeli Friends of Rambam Hospital, one anticipates he would offer the same benefits to his students.
Alaluf’s article mentioned one of the complaints of his detractors was that he played favorites and offered such “goodies” to his favored students, not necessarily based on their academic expertise, but rather based on loyalty and catering to his wishes and pet peeves. Similarly, he denied such emoluments to those in disfavor.
Eisikovits is apparently in the United States currently for six months. It’s not clear whether this is a sabbatical or a forced leave of absence. The Boston University School of Social Work lists him as a visiting professor.
When I contacted the current department chair at the University of Haifa to ask if any faculty members had been accused of sexual harassment, she replied “not that I’m aware of.” I’ve sent her a new set of questions more specifically about Eisikovits’ whereabouts and current faculty status. I tried to call him at his Haifa office phone and got a message saying that no one may leave messages for this faculty member at that extension. This confirms he’s isn’t on campus. In her article, Alaluf confirmed that the faculty member suspected of these acts (whose name was originally mentioned, but later censored by judicial gag order) of bullying, harassment and assault was away from campus. Though no one could say why, where he was, how long he would be away, or whether he was returning.
This is an odd video featuring Eisikovits introducing a panel at the Tel Aviv University in which he admits that his collaborator on a research study may be “the last friend I have at the University of Haifa.” He also somewhat mordantly calls himself a “celebrity” though clearly of the infamous sort.
As I noted yesterday, there is bitter irony that a professor studying bullying, sexual violence within the family, and domestic abuse would himself be guilty of the same behavior. The titles of some of his books, lectures, and articles only emphasize the discordancy and raise eyebrows: Is that a “No”? The interpretation of responses to sexual harassment; Escalation of Violence in Intimate Relationships; Children of Battered Women; Violence in the Family–an Israeli Perspective; Choice and empowerment for battered women who stay; The experience of forgiveness among older abused women; and Locked in A Violent Embrace: Understanding and Intervening in Domestic Violence.
All this reminds me of the medical dictum: physician, heal thyself. But in this case it appears a man who dedicated his career to studying violence and its impact on its victims, has become a source for his own research. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of his academic victims isn’t considering the subject of academics who sexually abuse and harass their students. Alas, it would seem a rich source of study.