The Last Straw

Speaking up about injustice and bad behavior in a professional setting – as a witness, or as the target of it – is hard. It’s uncomfortable, it’s difficult, and it can generate backlash and other risks for yourself and your career. In this episode, we talk about that moment when people finally decide to say something or do something. Simine shares the story of how she decided to go on the record about being groped at a conference – what brought her to that decision, and what happened as a result. And we talk about other cases of people speaking up about harassment, discrimination, professional misconduct, and more, including Jennifer Freyd’s pay discrimination lawsuit against the University of Oregon. We talk about the burden of knowing something is wrong, how this dilemma often falls disproportionately on people who are vulnerable in other ways, and what factors can help somebody speak out. Plus: we respond to a letter about department leaders who are obsessed with bean-counting of grant dollars and impact factors.


The Black Goat is hosted by Sanjay Srivastava, Alexa Tullett, and Simine Vazire. Find us on the web at, on Twitter at @blackgoatpod, on Facebook at, and on instagram at @blackgoatpod. You can email us at You can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher.

Our theme music is Peak Beak by Doctor Turtle, available on under a Creative Commons noncommercial attribution license. Our logo was created by Jude Weaver.

This is episode 69. It was recorded on October 30, 2019.