- DataCamp, a startup that runs data-science courses, disclosed in an April blog post that an unnamed DataCamp executive made “uninvited physical contact” with an employee in October 2017 and that the company had taken “corrective actions” after learning of the behaviour, which it described as “inappropriate.”
- Two DataCamp instructors and a source familiar with the matter told Business Insider that the executive the company did not identify in the blog post is Jonathan Cornelissen, DataCamp’s cofounder and CEO.
- DataCamp declined to comment on the identity of the executive in question or specify if their role had changed, but it said it “conducted a thorough investigation and took actions we believe were necessary and appropriate,” and that “as a matter of policy, we do not disclose details on matters like this, to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.”
- “We do not retaliate against employees, contractors or instructors or other members of our community, under any circumstances, for reporting concerns about behaviour or conduct,” DataCamp told Business Insider.
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The data-science community is reeling after the data-science-learning startup DataCamp penned a blog post acknowledging that an unnamed company executive made “uninvited physical contact” with one of its employees.
DataCamp, a startup valued at $US184 million that has raised more than $US30 million in funding, disclosed in a blog post published in April that an incident occurred at an “informal employee gathering” at a bar in October 2017. The unnamed DataCamp executive had “danced inappropriately and made uninvited physical contact” with the employee on the dance floor, the post said.
DataCamp, which operates a platform where aspiring data scientists can take courses in coding and data analysis, didn’t name the executive involved in the incident in its blog post. DataCamp called the executive’s behaviour on the dance floor “entirely inappropriate” and “inconsistent” with employee expectations and policies.
Two DataCamp course instructors, including the Ph.D. student Os Keyes, and a source familiar with the matter told Business Insider that the executive in question is Jonathan Cornelissen, DataCamp’s cofounder and CEO.
When reached by Business Insider, DataCamp declined to comment on the identity of the executive but provided a statement.
“When we became aware of this matter, we conducted a thorough investigation and took actions we believe were necessary and appropriate,” DataCamp said in a statement to Business Insider. “However, recent inquiries have made us aware of mischaracterizations of what occurred and we felt it necessary to make a public statement. As a matter of policy, we do not disclose details on matters like this, to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.”
“We do not retaliate against employees, contractors or instructors or other members of our community, under any circumstances, for reporting concerns about behaviour or conduct,” the statement continued.
Business Insider also reached out directly to Cornelissen for comment but has not heard back.
A person familiar with the matter said DataCamp plans to provide an update within the next 48 hours.
An open letter signed by 100 frustrated instructors
In the April blog post, the company said it took “corrective actions” with the executive in response to the incident that included sensitivity training, personal coaching, and “a strong warning that the company will not tolerate any such behaviour in the future.” Additionally, DataCamp said it hired a chief people officer and held mandatory trainings for employees and management.
DataCamp published the post about the incident only after more than 100 instructors penned an open letter to the company about its “mishandling of sexual misconduct,” Keyes told Business Insider. Keyes and the other instructors sent the emailed letter to DataCamp on April 3, Keyes said, a day before DataCamp’s blog post went live.
The letter, which was viewed by Business Insider, called on DataCamp to publicly address this accusation and take action to prevent further issues from happening.
“Although DataCamp has communicated to some instructors that there has been an investigation by the DataCamp board into sexual misconduct, major concerns remain,” the letter said. “Because we care deeply about fairness and safety, the data science community, and DataCamp itself, we are unable to cooperate with continued silence and lack of transparency on this issue.”
Many of the signees view DataCamp’s response so far as inadequate. Keyes called DataCamp’s post a “non-statement” and decided to boycott the platform – and remove their course offerings – in response.
Keyes isn’t alone. Several instructors have publicly said they havepulledtheir courses from DataCamp. Influential open-source communities, including RStudio,SatRdays, and R-Ladies, have cut all ties with DataCamp.
Work at DataCamp? Contact the reporter of this story at [email protected]
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