Locking the Barn Door
You are a university president. You naturally wish to avoid scandal and negative publicity during your administration. The time to make it mandatory for all faculty and staff to undergo training in how to avoid sexual harassment is:
A: When you take office, or shortly thereafter.
B: After one of your professors is caught emailing female students a quid pro quo: A’s if they would expose their breasts and allow him to fondle them.
If you are University of Iowa president Sally Mason, you will, of course, pick option B.
If this is only the first time the esteemed Professor Miller has engaged in such shenanigans, I will eat his shoes rather than puke on them. I’m betting it’s not.
Meanwhile, over at the University of Missouri,
Two tenured faculty members at the University of Missouri at Kansas City have agreed to resign to avoid disciplinary action, one year after the university paid $1.1-million to settle a lawsuit alleging rampant sexual harassment by those professors.
In July 2007, the University of Missouri reached a settlement with two female employees who claimed the university had been unresponsive to their complaints about two professors, C. Keith Haddock and Walker S. Carlos Poston II (The Chronicle, July 27, 2007). The lawsuit, filed in 2006, alleged that the two faculty members created a “sexually hostile work environment” in the health-research laboratory they jointly supervised by making sexual advances, cracking explicit jokes, and groping female colleagues.
At the time of the lawsuit, Mr. Haddock and Mr. Poston, both professors of psychology, were removed from the lab and reassigned to the medical school at the Kansas City campus. A court deposition indicated the two were among the university’s top grant winners.
On Monday the two men agreed to resign their tenured faculty positions, effective September 30, rather than face tenure-revocation or dismissal proceedings. Under the terms of the deal, Mr. Haddock and Mr. Poston will be permitted to complete their academic and research obligations and will receive salaries until August 31, 2009, the end of their contract year. The two men have agreed not to seek future employment with the university.
Emphasis added by me. Do you suppose that has anything to do with why they get to keep collecting salaries for one whole year more, AND “complete their academic and research obligations”, after they’ve already cost the university a million dollars? This isn’t even a case of locking the barn door after the horse is out. It’s more like going over to the barn door and asking the horse not to continue shitting all over the barn, if you don’t mind, until you see fit to leave.
I really wonder what you have to do to get fired from a university.
I swear to christ, this blog must be grinding down my sense of outrage. Check out this post on a similar topic from two years ago. I just can’t muster up the same rhetorical level I used to, it seems. I can’t tell you how tired I am of writing about this shit. I can’t tell you how tired I am of getting to use my “sex offenders” blog category. I can’t tell you just how fucking tired I am that 36 years after Title IX, I am still writing about professors wanting to see their students’ boobies. Go to the store and buy a fucking tittie mag if you really need to see some boobies!
Of course, this is what the system counts on. It counts upon there being so much of this shit flung in our faces day after day after day that we stop trying to get at the source of the shit-slinging and just call it a good day when we keep the shit wiped out of our eyes for a few hours.
Alas, I am all too unfunnily reminded of this cartoon, which I used to keep taped over my desk during my graduate school days. (Ah, the eighties! It was fun to be a feminist then!)
The title is “The Feminist Enlightenment Takes Time” (artist is Wendy Hoile). Indeed. I doubt that poor washerwoman has made it much beyond that white dude’s eyeglass she was working on back in the eighties.
Feminist enlightenment. Some days I think I’d call “we’ll try not to grope you anymore because hard as it is for us to believe, it seems like you don’t like it” a major victory.