“What she told us was pretty much exactly what was in the statement that she released but with vastly less detail,” said Elizabeth A. Armstrong, a sociology professor at the University of Michigan.
Another fellow, Jennifer J. Freyd, a University of Oregon professor known for her work studying sexual violence, also remembers the conversation, relaying that Dr. Tyson described how the incident was “clearly a traumatic experience.”
Dr. Tyson did not tell anyone in 2004 about the encounter with Mr. Fairfax, according to people close to her legal team, and she did not notify the police or file a complaint with them.
But throughout academia, there has been an outpouring of encouragement for Dr. Tyson, 42, who has taught at Scripps College in California and Dickinson College in Pennsylvania over the last decade, and earned a Ph.D in political science from the University of Chicago.
More than 740 academics have signed a letter of support for her, according to its organizer, Nadia E. Brown, a political scientist at Purdue University who said Dr. Tyson also told her that she was assaulted. A GoFundMe account, set up by a political scientist at Menlo College in California, had raised more than $20,000 as of Friday morning.
“Everything she said in her statement was exactly what she told me when we talked,” said Diane L. Rosenfeld, a founding director of the Gender Violence Program at Harvard Law School, who said Dr. Tyson told her of the alleged assault in December 2017.
“She’s not doing this for any fame,” Dr. Rosenfeld added. “She’s not suing him for money, so disbelievers and doubters can’t say, ‘Oh, she just wants money.’ She just wants, as she says, the Virginia voters to know who this person is.”