By Silvia Marin
“Thirteen Reasons Why” author Jay Asher has been uninvited from participating in MSMC lectures due to reports of sexual harassment accusations.
In February 2018, the Associated Press reported that Asher departed from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. There were allegations made within SCWBI which opened an investigation and led to Asher either leaving of his own accord or being expelled from the organization.
However, a spokesperson for Asher came out to turn down these comments. According to his reps, Asher had voluntarily left the organization after receiving “harassment from a group of authors with whom he had consensual relationships” after they learned about each other. He later released an apology to his family and those affected for the consequences of his decisions.
Asher was expected to participate in two programs at the Mount in the following weeks, including a suicide awareness and prevention lecture and a Banned Books Symposium. After news of the accusations came out the school withdrew the invitation.
“Once the planning committees of these respective programs learned of the sexual harassment accusations, as well as his expulsion from the writer’s organization, the decision was made to cancel his appearance,” says Jennifer Park, assistant librarian at the Mount.
These past few months, the Mount has increased its efforts to stand up against sexual harassment on campuses. They are now working with Safe Homes to provide aid to those who may need counseling or assistance while also putting on group programs. The athletic department has also been heavily involved in the Title IX initiative to stop harassment in schools.
The school is still scheduled to host the Banned Books Symposium March 10. The keynote speaker will be James LaRue, Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom.
Corrected as of Feb. 28, 2018