Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Sexual policing and sexual abuse

No matter what ones position may be on the prohibition of consensual relationships between students and professors, I would hope that any person who takes the teaching learning enterprise seriously would be offended by the the University of Iowa’s presentation of its rationale of said policy.  I do not think it is an overstatement to characterize that presentation as drivel.  It does not reflect any serious engagement of the issue.  The idea that relationships between human beings are complex, that sexual relationships between human beings are complex and multidimensional is given no recognition in the University of Iowa statement. In spite of the fact that I have read many similar statements of other universities, I still find it mind boggling that any institution of higher education would publicly embrace such verbiage.  I would expect that any student or professor would be embarrassed to be associated with this statement.  My impression is that the statement is the sort that is directed to children with the hope that it would scare children to be good. It is certainly not the kind of statement that would facilitate independent and critical thinking.

Ultimately the persons who write such statements do not want independent and critical thinking.  They want what all authoritarians want and that is obedience.  No matter that such is occurring at a university, the game remains the same with the game winners getting obedience of their professor subjects and of their student subjects.  This authoritarian framework is consistent with the notion of treating adults as children who cannot decide for themselves, think for themselves, consent for themselves.  Of course, in the present case, it is female students who are held to be unable to think or consent for themselves, and are in an incapacitated state as a result of predator professors.  Of course, it is the administrator powers that be which wishes to assume the power position over the power incapacitated and childlike female student.

The power dynamic is never publicly recognized by these administrators even as they take control of others and force them to do what they want them to do.  Maybe the power dynamic would have a greater chance of recognition if we stopped referring to them in bureaucratic terms and addressed them for what they are- sexual police, for sexual policing is what these policies and their promulgators are all about. 

We know that what police in general do not want in relation to performing their jobs, and that is to be hamstrung by the alleged civil liberties and civil rights of those subject to their enforcement.  No wonder that in the statements of the genre of the University of Iowa statement that no mention, no allusion,no credence, no recognition is given to issues concerning civil liberties and civil rights.  Such concerns are simply of no import to the promulgators and enforcers of these sexual codes.  Of course, when it comes to sexual regulation and sexual oppression, history has shown that the sexual police wish to pursue the  sexual perverts and purveyors unrestrained by the niceties of polite society. 

In the university, the problem has been not only the capitulation to the sexual police as is presently  happening at Middlebury College, but also in the polite rhetoric embraced by those opposing the sexual policing.  In this area the dankprofessor believes it is time to call a spade a spade, to accurately refer to persons who enforce these codes as sexual police who engage in sexual policing are violators of basic civil liberties and rights and who in their authoritarian pursuits force persons to attend indoctrination sessions in which if successful they are brainwashed to believe and to obey. 

And last but not least, it must also be pointed out that these sexual police like all sexual abusers prefer to operate in secret, out of the public purview, with said secrecy justified in doublethink terms- “these are confidential personnel matters”.

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If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor™
© Copyright 2007

  

November 28, 2007 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, higher education, secrecy, sexual policing, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating, University of Iowa | Leave a comment

By and On Philosophy Professor Richard Taylor

From the NY Times Magazine

March 29, 1987

ABOUT MEN; A Fulfillment

MY OLDEST SON is 39 years old, my youngest barely 1. The nearly four decades that separate them include my entire professional career, from graduate school into retirement. They include, too, the births of my grandchildren, two failed marriages and then marriage, once again, to someone too young to remember the Beatles. I, at 67, remember silent movies.

A man in his 60′s does not expect to fall in love with a woman of 18, and much less does he expect her to fall in love with him. Past failures had, in any case, left me cynical. But this beautiful student, whom I would so unpredictably marry five years later, never had any doubts almost from our first accidental encounter. She had, I eventually learned, seen me sometimes from her dormitory window and pronounced me ridiculous, but our lives were changed by our meeting and by the letters back and forth that soon followed. The constancy of her feelings, which made irrelevant to her our difference of age, finally replaced my cynicism with gratitude and wonder.

I was not much aware of the passage of the years until my infant son, who will rejoice under the name Aristotle Eli, made his existence deeply felt in my life. I had always mingled easily with students and was surprised whenever they referred to some of my colleagues as the younger professors. Even the start of my Social Security and annuity checks had little impact on my feelings. I got the senior-citizen discount on movie tickets, sometimes on dinners too. Such benefits extend to spouses, so my wife was entitled to them too, but we never claimed them. She was too young for that part of the senior citizens’ world. Even I felt out of place there.

I have raised children of my own before, as well as a little stepdaughter who now has her Ph.D., but fatherhood this time is totally different. I had no role with my other children until they came home from the hospital with their mother. This time my wife and I went several weeks to baby classes in joint preparation for birth, and I saw my son lifted from her womb. My wife, expecting me to draw from experience, sometimes raises elementary questions of infant care which I cannot answer at all.

There are two other big differences, both psychological. One is readily understood and was almost predictable. The other is profound and touches upon the meaning of life.

Death had always seemed to me 100 years away until my new son was born. Now I began to feel the passing of every precious day. My thinking had always been given over to abstractions. Now mundane concerns began to press in on me. I immediately felt the need for life insurance, lots of it. Until the baby came, I had no clear idea what insurance I had. This was quickly attended to, and I passed the required physical exam easily enough. Then I composed a will. I looked at my investments, which had been casual, few and long neglected. I urgently found out what they might be worth – not much, but rather more than I would have guessed. I found out I could safely die any time and my wife and baby would not be thrown onto welfare. But youth is gone forever. I now make little, periodic investments in Government securities carefully chosen to mature when my infant Aristotle is ready for college. I get up at night, not to fuss with philosophical manuscripts, but to examine once again my modest investment position, life insurance contracts, retirement benefits, medical insurance and survivors’ benefits. The evening news brings the report that Benny Goodman died. So did Cary Grant. And Desi Arnaz. And Horace Heidt. My wife never heard of some of these people. I wonder whether she noted how old they were. I did. A profounder effect of late fatherhood has been a new awareness of something in myself, and apparently in others, that I had never thought much about. The first time I held my new son in my arms I felt as though I were dreaming. I still feel that way every night as I rock him to sleep in my arms, lulled by the nocturnes of Chopin, then gently lower him into his crib. Sometimes I doze myself, his head against my chest, and the reality becomes the dream. I have loved children before, but other things competed for my thoughts -my manuscripts, my standing in the university, my friends, my future. Now I stand outside the university. Challenges there are all past. I know where I shall always live and what my income will be. My thoughts are free to focus entirely on my wife and baby.

When I was a graduate student, I had a professor, nearing retirement, whose two marriages had been childless. He had an obsessive love for a cat. His unabashed devotion to his cat was regular conversational fare even beyond the university. It seemed a quaint idiosyncrasy, but I understand it now. I have since noticed many instances of older couples, past hope for children, whose emotional lives have come to center upon some dog or cat.

At another university, one of my associates found himself suddenly with unsought custody of his infant grandchild. He did not need this. He was a towering figure in his field. Yet that infant reshaped his life and, while his custody lasted, overwhelmed every other interest he had. This baffled me at the time.

This sort of thing is familiar, but who has tried to understand it? Loneliness does not explain it. The way old people dote on their grandchildren is legendary, too. I used to assume it was because they had nothing better to do.

Psychologists have written much about the need to be loved.

Less has been said about the need to love. Your love becomes overwhelming when its object is helpless and dependent and your own hold on life seems uncertain. Perhaps Plato was right when he said that our love for our children springs from the soul’s yearning for immortality.

I lower my sleeping son into his crib. The Chopin record will shut off automatically after a while, and the house will be still until the baby’s first importunate cry in the morning. One more precious, irreplaceable day is ending, and I am fulfilled.

———————————————————————-

Richard Taylor died in November of 2003.

RICHARD TAYLOR [1919-2003]

TRUMANSBURG – Richard Taylor, well-known as a beekeeper in Trumansburg, died peacefully on October 30th, after a long battle with lung cancer.

Dr. Taylor was a retired philosophy professor, who held tenured professorships at Brown University and the graduate faculty of Columbia University. In addition he held professorships at many New York colleges, including Hobart William Smith, Hamilton, Union, Wells, University of Rochester, and Hartwick.

Professor Taylor authored over a dozen books in philosophy, plus several in beekeeping. His last book, composed during his illness, will be published in February 2004.

He is survived by his precious companion, Connie Bright; four strong sons; and a beautiful stepdaughter.

There will be no funeral or memorial service.

The family has entrusted arrangements to the Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South St., Trumansburg. www.ness-sibley.com

TESTIMONIALS ON RICHARD TAYLOR

From Philosophy Now, Issue 44

Richard Taylor Remembered

One of the most colourful and engaging of modern philosophers (and of Philosophy Now contributors) is recalled by Robert Holmes, Barry Gan and Tim Madigan.

I first became acquainted with Richard Taylor when I was on the editorial board of Free Inquiry magazine, the secular humanist publication of which he was a frequent contributor. While his articles tended to be hard-hitting denunciations of the foolishness of organized religions, he went out of his way to assert that he himself was not a secular humanist. Yet he was delighted by his induction into the International Academy of Humanism, and proudly displayed his certificate on the wall of his study. This was my first introduction to Richard’s love of paradox and Socratic whimsy.

Over the years, Richard was incredibly helpful to me in my own stop-and-start attempts to get a PhD in philosophy. When I would bemoan my difficulties in writing my dissertation, he offered the sage advice that I should write exactly one page a day, and in a year’s time I’d have more than enough pages to justify the degree. Somehow this never quite worked for me but I admired his own discipline and skill as a writer. When I finally did complete my dissertation, he kindly agreed to be my outside reader. We shared a fondness for the writings of Arthur Schopenhauer, whose extreme pessimism delighted us both.

What I most appreciated about Richard was his joy in living. He truly found meaning in life through his philosophical explorations, and always maintained a healthy sense of humor about them. Hubris was never one of his sins. He and I would get together with some frequency to discuss philosophy and life in general, and I arranged for him to give talks to various groups of which I was a member. Once, he and his close friend Robert Holmes engaged in a strenuous debate over the topic of euthanasia, in a course I was teaching on medical ethics. Bob had mentioned to us both that he had to leave the class early for another appointment. When he suddenly dashed out, many of the students thought that he had been so offended by Richard’s remarks that he took umbrage and left in a huff. I had to explain to them the next class meeting that philosophers typically engage in such vigorous disputations, and Richard and Bob’s friendship had not been destroyed. When I related this story to Richard, his eyes twinkled with delight.

When I learned from him that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, I decided that I would make these gettogethers a more regular occurrence. Every few weeks thereafter, he and I got together for lunch on a Sunday afternoon, along with other philosophical friends he had accumulated over the years. I considered this my own version of Tuesdays with Morrie, and benefited immensely from his erudite yet down-to-earth discussions of politics, sex, religion and all the other topics we are told to eschew in polite company.

Richard Taylor was a true epicurean, who met his final days with the equanimity of one who had lived life to the fullest. He was and is an inspiration to me. I very much miss my Sundays with Richard.

© DR TIMOTHY J. MADIGAN 2004

Tim Madigan is Editorial Director of the University of Rochester Press and a U.S. Editor of Philosophy Now.


It is strange to be writing a memoir about Richard Taylor: only a few weeks ago a number of us gathered with Richard at a little restaurant in upstate New York, as we had done frequently over the past year. “Don’t get me started on Bush,” he said. “I tired myself venting about him on the way up here.” I was surprised because Richard used to tweak me and my critical views of the U.S. by sending me copies of his letters to the editor extolling, for example, the virtues of American fighter pilots. One of the things I loved about Richard was his Socratic penchant, always with a twinkle and a smile, for tweaking almost everyone he could. He could not stand complacency, vanity or puffery.I first heard Richard Taylor’s name when I was a freshman at Miami University in 1966, where I announced to my philosophy professor that I was transferring to the University of Rochester. The first words out of his mouth were, “Oh, great department! Doesn’t Richard Taylor teach there?”At the time, I didn’t know who Richard Taylor was, but I found out quickly enough. He was the first professor from whom I took a philosophy course at Rochester. The course was History of Ancient Philosophy, and a regular attendee in that class was Richard’s dog, a German shepherd named Vanee. I was never sure how to spell or pronounce the dog’s name. The way Richard said it, the V sometimes sounded like an F. But every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Richard would wander into class wearing a pair of khakis, a pair of work boots, some heavy duty socks, and a flannel shirt. He would lift himself up onto the desk, light his cigar, and Vanee would curl up beneath him, under the desk. Then, as Richard captivated us with his stories of Plato and Aristotle, Thales and Epicurus, he would slowly gather up the ashes from his cigar into a neat little pile, and at the end of class, he would dispose of them and wander out the door with his dog.One of the other students in that class was Taylor’s own son Chris, whom I got to know a bit during my undergraduate years. Another was Teddy Seidenfeld, who later became, like me, a professional philosopher. I can’t help but wonder who else was in that class, and how many of us are now philosophers. Nick Smith, who also became a professional philosopher, is one name that comes to mind. He may have been in that class, too.I never took another class from Richard while I was an undergraduate, but when I returned to the Department of Philosophy at Rochester in 1978 as a first-year graduate student, Richard remembered me. He had replaced his trademark classroom cigar with a thermos of tea, and Vanee had long since passed away. Polly, a Dalmatian who always sported a red bandana to match Richard’s, had taken Vanee’s place. Richard supported and befriended me. I felt honored by his friendship. As a graduate student I saw sides of him I hadn’t known as an undergraduate. At conferences he would go out of his way to introduce me to famous philosophers. In Rochester he would make it a point to invite me and others to small dinner parties at his apartment. I would encounter him at the school swimming pools, where he regularly swam laps. And at one point in my graduate student career, my wife and I took a course from Richard on beekeeping, and I discovered that he was a well-known author on beekeeping. He marveled at the miracles of nature. His home on Cayuga Lake hosted colonies of purple martins.

Later, when my wife and I moved to Olean, I learned the truth of what I had once heard Richard proclaim at a department meeting, that well-known though he was as a philosopher, he was far better known as a beekeeper. When people in town would hear that a Richard Taylor was coming to speak on philosophy at the university, often they would say, “Richard Taylor, the beekeeper?” I have never met a beekeeper who hasn’t heard of Richard Taylor.

Richard was a frequent guest of the Philosophy Department at St Bonaventure University. He delighted in poking fun at the Catholic underpinnings of the University, gleefully seeing via his presentations just what barbs he could direct at the Church. Later, in the evenings, he would ask me, expectantly, “Were there any priests there? Do you think I offended them? Oh, I hope so!”

So I will remember Richard always, but not because of his beekeeping and not because of his philosophical writings. I will remember him because he was, like Socrates, a gadfly who delighted in making others uncomfortable about their selfimportance or their conventions. But he was also, like Socrates, a loving man and faithful correspondent who, while all of us gathered ‘round a few weeks ago, went gentle into that good night.

© PROF. BARRY GAN 2004

Barry Gan is a professor of philosophy at Saint Bonaventure.


Richard Taylor died on October 30, 2003, at his home near Trumansburg, N.Y. after a nearly year-long struggle with lung cancer. He was 83 years old. Richard took his PhD at Brown University under the late Roderick Chisholm and taught principally at Brown, Columbia and Rochester, from which he retired in 1985 after twenty years of teaching. His visiting appointments included those at Cornell, Hamilton, Hartwick, Hobart & William Smith, Princeton, Ohio State, Union and Wells.He remained active until the end, writing and meeting for philosophical luncheons with friends and former colleagues. His last book, Understanding Marriage, written largely during his illness, and by his own account a nonphilosophical work, is slated for publication in 2004. He is perhaps best known philosophically for his books, Metaphysics (1963), Action and Purpose (1966), Good and Evil (1970) and Virtue Ethics (1991). Never one to take his work with grim seriousness, he laced the index to the metaphysics book with entries such as: “Mice, difficulty of getting rid of,” and “Graveyards, how we all sink thereinto.” The entry for “Fatalism,” (also the title of his influential 1962 Philosophical Review article that even critics called “ingenious”), included a reference for “odiousness of” followed by another for “sublimity of.” His works were widely anthologized and translated into many foreign languages.Deeply influenced by the ancients, disdainful of Kant, and admiring of Schopenhauer, Richard made his own philosophical way, without regard for popular trends or conventional academic expectations. This distanced him from some but endeared him to others. He marveled at how some philosophers could discuss seriously whether earthworms have souls but scoff at an examination of love and marriage. He didn’t exempt his own work from criticism and came to dismiss some of it as of little account when he turned his back on the analytic tradition that had nurtured him. Not only his philosophical views but also his moral convictions underwent constant re-examination. Although a commissioned officer on a submarine in World War II, he became a convinced pacifist by the end of his life. “I was late coming to it,” he said in his final days. He loved dialectic and thrived on philosophical discussion. In a story that Thales would have understood, he told how he and Chisholm once became so absorbed in discussing the Absolute while returning to Brown University from a conference in New York that they ran out of gas.An internationally-known apiarist, Richard authored books on bee-keeping and wrote regularly for bee journals. Bee enthusiasts travelling to the Northeast often went out of their way to visit him. His near-legendary honey stand at the roadside in front of his country home operated on an honor system, secured only by gentle solicitations to honesty posted on its walls.Among the many philosophers who studied under him as graduate students were those with interests as diverse as Norman Bowie, Steven Cahn, Myles Brand, Keith Lehrer, Eric Mack and Peter van Inwagen. A festschrift in his honor, entitled Time and Cause: Essays Presented to Richard Taylor was edited by Peter in 1980. A collection of his works, entitled Reflective Wisdom: Richard Taylor on Issues that Matter, was edited by John Donnelly in 1989. But it may be that his greatest impact was upon undergraduates. A few days before his death, a student from 25 years before described how Richard would stroll into the lecture hall accompanied by his dog, prepare himself a cup of tea, then proceed to discuss philosophy with the class in unpretentious language. Students would applaud his courses at the end of the semester. “He was,” she said simply, “an incredible teacher.”

© PROF. ROBERT L. HOLMES 2004

Robert Holmes teaches philosophy at the University of Rochester.


© 2007 Philosophy Now. All rights reserved.—–
If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor™

November 26, 2007 Posted by | love, student professor dating | Leave a comment

Fear and loathing at the University of Iowa

I am going to present the University of Iowa student professor consensual dating policy.   And engage in a critique of said policy. University policies in the area of sexual regulation once established are very seldom critiqued.  I speculate that why such is the case is that people fear that if they criticize they will become suspect. Such is regrettable since universities are often held to be the environments where critical analysis of social policies should flourish.  In any case, I will present the policy and within the text of the policy I will present my comments. The text of the policy will be highlighted.

 5.1 RATIONALE.

The integrity of the University’s educational mission is promoted by professionalism that derives from mutual trust and respect in faculty-student relationships. Similarly, the University is committed to the principle of protecting the integrity and objectivity of its staff members in the performance of their University duties. It is therefore fundamental to the University’s overall mission that the professional responsibilities of its faculty and staff be carried out in an atmosphere that is free of conflicts of interest that compromise these principles.

This opening statement is on the whole laudatory and vague.  Who could possibly be opposed to mutual trust and respect in faculty student relationships or for that matter any set of relationships?  I would trust that all of the present Democrats and Republicans campaigning for the presidential nomination in Iowa would absolutely agree.  I would also agree with the last part of the opening paragraph that faculty student and staff relationships “be carried out in an atmosphere that is free of conflicts of interest that compromise these principles.” Of course, such would apply to the entire university, even to the President and to the UIOWA’S Board of Trustees.  In any case this would be an OK introduction for an across the board conflict of interest policy.

Romantic and/or sexual relationships where one member of the University community has supervisory or other evaluative responsibility for the other create conflicts of interest and perceptions of undue advantage. 

OK, the prior paragraph was not an intro to a general conflict of interest policy.  If conflicts of interest are inevitably created in such relationships, why would not a conflict of interest policy be sufficient to deal with such conflicts?  And why is it assumed that such relationships inevitably create perceptions of undue advantage?  Are all relationships the same?  Once you see one relationship, you have seen them all!  Are not some relationships conducted in a more private manner than other relationships?  If they so desire, is it not quite possible that the parties of such relationships can simply closet themselves and avoid being perceived as being involved in a relationship?  Of course, passing has a long history in the sexual arena, homosexuals passing as straight, even engaging in heterosexual marriage in order to have the appropriate front for the dominant society.  However, there is another element here, and that is some professors who are not sexually engaged in a romance with a student but have close relationships with students may be perceived as being too close to any particular student, and along with this perception there may also be an imputation of sexual involvement.  In any case, I would hold that in almost all universities, including Iowa, that perceptions of undue advantage by some students regarding other students run rampant, and having this policy will not make one iota of difference as to perceptions of undue advantage.

There are also special risks in any sexual or romantic relationship between individuals in inherently unequal positions of power (such as teacher and student, supervisor and employee). Such relationships may undermine the real or perceived integrity of the supervision and evaluation provided, and the trust inherent particularly in the student-faculty relationship. They may, moreover, be less consensual than the individual whose position confers power believes. The relationship is likely to be perceived in different ways by each of the parties to it, especially in retrospect.

Yes, the relationship may be perceived in different ways by the parties of the relationships.  But so what. Is this not the case in almost all relationships?  Are husband and wives ever in complete agreement as to how the marital relationship is perceived?  In fact, I would argue that hardly ever do faculty completely agree with each other about anything.  Are faculty of one mind?  Are students of one mind? 

And, as far as the part about their being so-called special risks  faced by individuals in differential power positions, such risks are not all that special.  In all relationships romantic there are always risks that uniquely apply to each relationship. For example, the risk of venereal disease, the risk of experiencing hurt. etc. etc  How would it be possible for anyone to argue that there are no risks that particularly relate to love and marriage?  Of course the statement implies that power differentiated relationships (asymmetric relationships) are more risky than non-power differentiated relationships (symmetric relationships).  Of course stating such is the case does not make it so.  The Iowa policy does not present any evidence that asymmetric relationships are more risky than symmetric ones.  And what the policy fails to note is that one component of heterosexual attraction is a power component.  To a degree, part of the dynamic fueling these bans is an anti-heterosexuality perspective which comes to symbolize for academic feminists male power over women, and such symbolism becomes more potent for them when you have the older male prof and young female student.  This is the asymmetry that so offends so many academics.  Of course, the question is whether feeling of offense should be a basis for regulating sexual behavior.

Then the policy goes on to state such relationships “may undermine the real or perceived integrity of the supervision and evaluation provided, and the trust inherent particularly in the student-faculty relationship.”  On the other hand, such relationships may not undermine said integrity; it may simply have no effect in regards to trust.  And it could be that said relationships could even have a positive effect.  The burden is on the shoulders of the University to demonstrate empirically that such undermining is likely to occur.  What is of course ignored in the prior paragraph and ignored throughout the policy is that there can be positive effects for the student and professor couple.  One of the positive effects may be the love and caring.  To fail to recognize the importance of love between two persons is irresponsible.  To ignore the possible positive effects is absurd.  To ignore that such relationships can continue in love and merge into marriage and even parenthood should be beyond the pale of any educated and not so educated person.  And I would expect that persons who profess to be so knowledgeable about these relationships know that at times what binds these couples together is a love of knowledge which leads to a knowledge of love.  For example, can such advocates simply discard the relationship between Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger as being without value?

Moreover, such relationships may harm or injure others in the academic or work environment. Relationships in which one party is in a position to review the work or influence the career of the other may provide grounds for complaint when that relationship gives, or creates the appearance of, undue access or advantage to the person involved in the relationship, or when it restricts opportunities or creates a hostile environment for others.

Again as to harming or injuring others, such relationships may not harm others.  The writers of this policy simply cannot comprehend the possibility that there may not be any harm.  I suppose that the writers were lawyers who view the world in terms of harm and injury and lawsuits.  For them, love does not make the world go around, it makes them want to stop the world by offing love.

Such relationships also have the potential for other adverse consequences, including the filing of charges of sexual harassment and/or retaliation under the University’s Policy on Sexual Harassment (II-4) if, for example, one party to the relationship wishes to terminate the relationship to the other party’s objection. In those circumstances when sexual harassment is alleged as the result of a romantic and/or sexual relationship, the existence of the relationship is not a per se violation of the Policy on Sexual Harassment. However, the apparent consensual nature of the relationship is inherently suspect due to the fundamental asymmetry of power in the relationship and it thus may be difficult to establish consent as a defense to such a charge. Even when both parties consented at the outset to a romantic involvement, this past consent does not remove grounds for or preclude a charge or subsequent finding of sexual harassment based upon subsequent unwelcome conduct.

As noted and agreed upon such relationships can have adverse consequences.  However, the writers of this prohibition fail to note that such relationships may have positive consequences, not only on the parties to the relationships, but to parents, relatives, friends and fellow students who share in the joy of love.  The writers of these policies see no joy.  It may be that they project their joylessness, their feelings of being unloved and of hurt and of being victimized on to others, and end up attempting to do to innocent others what had been done unto to them before they lost their innocence.

This policy applies to consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships between individuals of the same sex or of the opposite sex.
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5.2 PROHIBITED RELATIONSHIPS — POLICY STATEMENT.

For the foregoing reasons, all romantic and/or sexual relationships between faculty and students in the instructional context are prohibited at The University of Iowa. [Note: This policy applies only to relationships involving students. However, romantic and/or sexual relationships in other contexts -- between faculty members, between faculty and staff, or between staff members, where one person supervises the other -- also may be problematic, and are governed by III-8 Conflict of Interest in Employment.]

If these are all the foregoing justifying reasons, the university has not built a case.  And in building their non-case, they avoid dealing with tough issues such as freedom of association, the right to sexual privacy, etc., etc.  For them rights are irrelevant; they feel they can write whatever they want to do in their quest to right wrongs.  They follow in the “tradition” of Bush/Cheney in the righting of wrongs. 

No faculty member shall have a romantic and/or sexual relationship, consensual or otherwise, with a student who is enrolled in a course being taught by the faculty member or whose academic work is being supervised, directly or indirectly, by the faculty member.

For definitions of “faculty” and “instructional context,” please refer to II-5.5 below.
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5.3 DISCOURAGED RELATIONSHIPS REQUIRING DISCLOSURE AND MANAGEMENT.

In light of the potential for apparent and actual conflicts of interest, the following relationships are strongly discouraged at The University of Iowa; where such relationships arise, however, they are required to be disclosed and managed as indicated below:

  •  
      (1) Outside of the instructional context, a faculty member (including graduate students with teaching responsibilities) who engages in a romantic or sexual relationship with a student must promptly disclose the existence of the relationship to his or her immediate supervisor if there exists a reasonable possibility that a conflict of interest may arise. When a conflict of interest exists or is likely to arise, such relationships appear to others to be exploitative of or create apparent advantage for the student, and may later develop into conflicts of interest prohibited by II-5.2 above in situations that cannot be anticipated fully.
      (2) A potential conflict of interest exists when the student is a graduate student in the same department or academic program as the faculty member, or is an undergraduate student and is majoring or minoring in the same department as the faculty member. A conflict of interest also may arise if the student is studying in a department separate from the faculty member. When a potential conflict of interest exists or is reasonably likely to arise, the faculty member must promptly disclose the relationship to his or her supervisor. (3) Once the relationship is disclosed, the immediate supervisor will evaluate the situation to determine whether an actual conflict of interest exists or is likely to arise and will develop a management plan to address the potential conflict of interest. The faculty member has the professional and ethical responsibility to remove himself or herself from any decisions that may reward or penalize the student involved and otherwise adhere to the management plan. Of course, this disclosure policy is a flagrant violation of the student’s right to privacy.  Such a disclosure policy to be an ethical one must adhere to what is apparently an alien notion to these policymakers that students have rights and that students have a right not to consent.  Said disclosure policy reveals these policies to be a sham, a sham in that they do not protect students, a sham in that institutional power is used to force professors to reveal their sexual and heretofore private lives to administrators.  b. Between staff members and students. Romantic and/or sexual relationships between staff members and students employed under their supervision are governed by the University of Iowa Policy on Conflict of Interest in Employment (III-8). It may sometimes be difficult to determine whether the staff-student relationship exists in an employment or in an instructional context. Where such an ambiguity exists, the context will be assumed to be instructional and the relationship subject to the prohibition set forth in II-5.2 above.
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  • a. Between faculty and students.

5.4 EXAMPLES OF PROHIBITED AND DISCOURAGED RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN FACULTY AND STUDENTS.

  •  
      (1) Student B is in a class taught by Professor A. The Consensual Relationships Policy prohibits a romantic or sexual relationship between these two parties in the instructional context. When the class has concluded and Professor A has submitted the final grades, this policy may continue to prohibit Professor A from engaging in a romantic or sexual relationship with Student B, or may discourage such a relationship, depending upon the academic affiliation of Student B and the likelihood that a conflict of interest may arise. (2) Professor A and Student B, a graduate student in Professor A’s department, are involved in a romantic relationship. This policy prohibits Professor A from teaching and supervising Student B, and mandates disclosure and management of any potential conflict of interest. (3) The partner of Professor A enrolls in an academic program at the University offered by the same college in which Professor A’s department is located. If the partner enrolls in the same academic program or department as Professor A, this policy requires Professor A to disclose the relationship and that any potential conflict of interest be managed to ensure that Professor A does not teach or supervise the partner, or involve himself or herself in any decision that may reward or penalize the partner. If the partner’s academic program operates independently of Professor A’s department, Professor A would not be required to disclose the relationship unless the potential for a conflict of interest might arise. (4) Graduate Student C and Graduate Student D are married and enrolled in the same academic program. This policy prohibits D from enrolling in a class taught by C (as instructor, teaching assistant, or grader) and vice-versa. If C (or D) were to complete his or her graduate program and acquire the status of faculty member (such as adjunct professor, visiting professor, or assistant professor) in the same department, this policy would apply as in paragraph (2) above. Former Graduate Student C would be required to disclose the relationship to the DEO and remove himself or herself from any decisions that may reward or penalize Graduate Student D.
  • a. The following examples are provided for illustrative purposes only. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of situations in which this policy applies. b. These examples illustrate the application of this policy which applies only to relationships involving students. However, romantic and/or sexual relationships in other contexts may also be problematic, and are governed by III-8 Conflict of Interest in Employment.
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    What these examples reveal is the totalizing nature of this policy.  The havoc that administrators can wreak under this policy is limitless.  And the havoc will occur in the context of these administrators who are now functioning as the sexual police will be put forth in secrecy under the mantel of privacy and confidentiality.  “I am sorry, but I cannot comment on this confidential personnel matter.”  And I am sorry for all those professors and students at the University of Iowa who just don’t get it, who just don’t get that these policies do not empower them but only empower administrators who are free to do whatever they essentially want to do as the sexual police of University of Iowa.  And I believe that one of the things they want to do is to simply cast off, dismiss any critique of their work, of their policies. One can test this notion if they dare.  At the next consensual relationship (sexual harassment) workshop you are forced to attend, raise the sort of criticisms raised here and see what happens. And feel free to report back to the dankprofessor.  And if you want to do this but are unable to do so, it is because you feel the fear, and your silence affirms the victory of the fear mongers…
    —–
    If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
    Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.
    Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor™
    © Copyright 2007

November 24, 2007 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, feminism, higher education, secrecy, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating, University of Iowa | 2 Comments

Middlebury College “capitulates”

Middlebury College has taken a giant step toward the promulgation of a student professor consensual relationship policy regulation.  Such occurred on November 12 at a meeting of the Community Council of Middlebury College.  In a near-unanimous decision, Middlebury’s Community Council ultimately endorsed the spirit of the proposed policy.  The spirit of said policy was delineated by University of Virginia professor Ann Lane who on September 24 at a lecture at Middlebury which according to middleburycampus.com “urged administrators to take a stand against relationships that place students in a position of relative weakness.”  “What does it mean when you are having a relationship with someone who has great power over you?” asked Lane during her talk.

Middleburycampus.com never does tell the reader what it means, but whatever the meaning may be, Lane considers it to be a negative meaning.  Of course, whether an intimate relationship be asymmetric or symmetric, meaning would vary from relationship to relationship.  Lane engages in gross stereotyping and never considers the possibility of such relationships having positive meaning.  She is more concerned not with the parties to the relationship but the meanings that persons such as herself attach to the relationship. And Professor Lane does not like any such relationship.  Of course, it is much easier for her to deal with her advocacy of this position without having to confront the couples she wishes to regulate and dismiss.

The Community Council meeting of November 12 was characterized by middeburycampus.com as “a short but heated 20 minute debate.”  The nature of the heat was not delineated, but said heat did not last very long in the Council with only one dissenting vote against recommending a revision in the proposed Middlebury consensual relationship policy. The Council did not incorporate that part of the proposed policy that allowed for the dismissal of the offending professor.

In any case,  I expect that in reaching their decision the Council was satisfied that the Middlebury College community was presented with only one side of the issue represented by Ann Lane.  If Middlebury had lived up to its history of providing a liberal education for its students, they would have not only presented Ann Lane but an academic opposing such bans as well.  The fact of the matter is that Ann Lane has engaged in one on one debates on this issue.  I know that such has been the case since in the 1990s I engaged in such a debate with Professor Lane.  Assuming that Middlebury has not invited a person representing the other side, such still can still be done prior to the adoption of any policy on consensual student professor relationships.  In fact, I will go out on a limb and volunteer myself to engage in a presentation on this issue at Middlebury College.

From what I know of the debate on this issue, I do not believe that a scintilla of evidence was presented that demonstrated that Middlebury has suffered in any way during its 200 year history as a result of having a consensual policy which did not go beyond simply discouraging romantic or sexual relationships between students and professors. The Community Council ended up embracing a Carleton College policy which held that student professor relationships have been “found to undermine the trust, respect and fairness that are central to the success of Carleton’s educational mission.” 

To take away the mating/dating rights of adult students and professors at any college, the burden should be on the college to provide evidence that such relationships have undermined the success of the educational mission of the college.  I believe that no such evidence has been presented at Middlebury, and that the promulgation of this policy simply represents a form of sexual Puritanism with a feminist veneer. 

In the 1970s, the anti-homosexuality campaign had for a period of time the anti-homosexual crusader Anita Bryant, now in the 2000s anti-homosexuality has been replaced by anti student professor relationships with Ann Lane replacing Anita Bryant.  We have gone from an Anita Bryant campaign to “save our children” to an Ann Lane campaign to “save our students” since Lane de facto regards students as children who need the protection of persons such as herself.  Nothing new here, persons arguing against the power abuse of others and then arguing that they should have the power to take away the rights of others.

Following is a list of members of Middlebury College Community Council, o7/08.

 Tim Spears, Dean of the College, co-chair
Eric Hoest ’08, co-chair

Administration Appointees:
David Donahue,
Associate VP for College Advancement
Alfredo Ramirez, Special Advisor for Student Community Development
Liza Sacheli, Marketing Manager, Center for the Arts (alternate)

Faculty Appointees:
Noah Graham, Assistant Professor of Physics
Emily Proctor, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Staff Council Appointees: 
Michael Glidden, Counter Worker Barista, Dining Services (ex-officio)
Linda Ross, Assistant Director of Custodial Services
Peggy Fischel, Manager of Telecommunications Services (alternate)

Student Appointees:
Mary Dwyer
Dean Atyia
Peyton Coles
Canem Ozyildirim
Cordelia Ross
Caitlin Sargent
Elizabeth Goffe
Sarah Attman
Abigail Blum
Eric Hoest
Thomas “Max” Nardini

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If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.  Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor™
© Copyright 2007

November 18, 2007 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, fraternization, higher education, Middlebury College, sexual politics, student professor dating | Leave a comment

Having sex while bicycling

The BBC reported yesterday that a British man had been arrested for having sex with his bicycle in his bedroom at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr.  He was discovered by room cleaners who were shocked when they saw the man having a sexual tryst with the bicycle.  They called the police. Robert Stewart was arrested and pled guilty to a charge of sexually aggravated breach of the peace, and has been registered as a sex offender for three years. Sheriff Colin Miller told Stewart: ” In almost four decades in the law I had come across every perversion, but this is a new one on me.”

Obviously,  Sheriff Miller had not engaged in due vigilance during his 40 years when observing bicyclers cycling in public.  Of course, if he was only looking at male cyclists, he would have missed female cyclists engaging in flagrant sexual abuse of their bicycles and of course abuse of themselves.  The fact is that there has been a long and mostly unknown history of female cyclists in engaging in sexual gratification while bike riding.

Ellen Garvey in BREAKING THE BOUNDS writes about the history of female bicyling-

“Bicycling for women lofted onto the scene in the 1890s. Until then, bicycles were relatively dangerous high-wheel models, ridden almost exclusively by athletic young men. With the development of the “safety” bicycle (which had wheels of equal size, a chain drive, and air-filled tires), cycling became more accessible. Women, who already had abundant motives to move beyond their chaperoned and constricted lives, seized the opportunity to ride.

Women’s rights advocates were ecstatic. Cycling became more than just a way to get out and about. Feminists exulted that the bicycle would force dress reform–allowing them to go uncorseted and wear divided skirts or bloomers–and believed that once women commanded such physical freedom they could surely throw off other oppressive constraints. Suffragist and temperance leader Frances Willard, who learned to ride at age 53, called her bicycle an “implement of power.”

Where women saw liberation, conservatives saw a threat. They claimed that “mannish” cycling women, caricatured as strutting and smoking cigars, would ride beyond social controls and either refuse marriage or become so sexually loose that they’d be unmarriable.

The oddest form of assault on women’s riding was an outpouring of dozens of medical articles that attacked cycling not only as likely to make women masculine but also as a threat to sexual purity. As one doctor wrote, “The saddle can be tilted in every bicycle as desired. . . . In this way a girl . . . could, by carrying the front peak or pommel high, or by relaxing the stretched leather in order to let it form a deep, hammock-like concavity which would fit itself snugly over the entire vulva and reach up in front, bring about constant friction over the clitoris and labia. This pressure would be much increased by stooping forward, and the warmth generated from vigorous exercise might further increase the feeling.”

It gets stranger. To bike makers, opposition to women’s cycling was an obstacle to sales. So manufacturers addressed the “problem” with a doggedly concrete and literal solution: modified seats that eliminated contact with genitals.

Ad copy for these “hygienic” seats typically warned of the “injurious” or “harmful pressure exerted by other saddles,” carried medical endorsements, or declared their saddles free of “pressure against sensitive parts”–all euphemisms drawn from medical writing. (I find it somewhat ironic that modern versions of the split-seat and soft-nose designs are now targeted at men suffering from cycling-related urinary, numbness, or erection problems.)

The “stooping forward” posture that our good doctor objected to was the position adopted by “scorchers,” or the fastest riders. Speed was seen as dreadfully inappropriate for women–it let them roam even farther–so speed was specifically linked to saddle masturbation. For instance, another physician complained that “the moment speed is desired the body is bent forward in a characteristic curve . . . [and] the body is thrown forward, causing the clothing to press again the clitoris, thereby eliciting and arousing feelings hitherto unknown and unrealized by the young maiden.”

Despite these barriers, women continued pushing the boundaries of cycling. Just as they do in our era, bikes offered too much escape and independence to ignore.”

Although this post is somewhat off topic for this blog, it is not completely off topic.  It is most probable that female cyclists scorching across campus can disturb and offend the more sedate professors and students.  Unquestionably, such riding has its place off campus  in formally demarcated bike lanes.  However, the dankprofessor believes that if female students are seen riding along side male professors, such behavior should have zero tolerance on American and even on Canadian university campuses.

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If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor™
© Copyright 2007

November 15, 2007 Posted by | bicycling, sex | 2 Comments

Workplace dating taboo and the workplace con as applied to the academic world

 The San Francisco Chronicle has just published an extraordinarily good and in-depth article on dating in the workplace. To follow are excerpts from the article interspersed with commentary from the dankprofessor.

However, blog readers should be aware that these excerpts compose a small percentage of the entire article.  For those seriously interested in workplace as well as university place dating do click the Chronicle link and read the entire article.

For some prefatory commentary, the dankprofessor observes that this article puts to shame the notion that universities which embrace student professor dating bans are only embracing what has been embraced in the corporate world and is working in the corporate world.  Professor Gayle Binion of UC Santa Barbara,  the leading advocate of bans for the UC system, has used this argument ad nauseum.  For example in the recent LA Times article on campus banning, she argues in defense of the banning that limits on banning are common in many workplaces and academia is “kind of late coming to it.” So what is good for the corporate world is held by Binion to be good for the academic world. But as this article points out that not only are dating bans not good for the corporate world, but that widespread enforced dating taboos never really existed  What I felt at the time about the Binion statement and what I can now state without inhibition is that her argument is utter poppycock.  Read on to fully appreciate said poppycock.

“… The phrase “office romance” is so stigmatized that its very mention can elicit smirks. But the reality is about as far from its sleazy reputation as one can imagine. Workplace dating is the taboo that wasn’t. Finding a mate on the job has become downright respectable. After all, if Bill Gates can meet Melinda French at the office, what’s to stop the rest of us from doing the same thing?

It’s likely that the greater acceptance of workplace romance has a lot to do with its inevitability, given the changing nature of American society. The most recent figures from the Census Bureau show that the median age of marriage for women is just shy of 26; for men, 27. In 1970, those numbers were 21 and 23, respectively. It follows that the older you are, the less likely you are to marry your college sweetheart. Says Renee Banks, human resources director at Chronicle Books (no relation to The San Francisco Chronicle): “I definitely think it’s a reality that work is where people meet these days. When you don’t meet at college, that’s a pool of people that’s taken away from you.

After college, the pool of candidates moves to the office, and since Expedia.com statistics show that 40 percent of employees log more than 50 hours of work a week, their personal lives are chopped down to virtually nothing. Work is the place where people spend the majority of their days, make their friends and yes – meet mates. Said Ann Fishman, president of Generational Targeted Marketing, a New York- and Louisiana-based marketing firm: “People move to New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco for work, so they are disconnected from family and friends. Where else are they going to meet people if not the office? A health club?”

The Internet, you might respond. But even bloggers – many of whom spend their lives online – are beginning to dismiss online dating services as an ineffective way of meeting a significant other. “People my age are sick of the impersonal nature of Internet dating,” says Jessica Valenti, 28, the voice behind the popular blog Feministing.com and author of the book “Full Frontal Feminism.” Valenti is now dating a man she met through work; he hired her to write for the Web site where he works. “It’s nice to be around people who care about the same things as you do. My blogger boyfriend understands if I am on a computer at 2 a.m., and isn’t offended.”

Office romance gets a bad rap because the phrase conjures up images of Christmas party hook-ups and Clintonesque gropings, but potential couples tend to take months, if not years, to recognize and act on the vibe between them. (This is in no small part because of an understandable instinct to protect their paychecks.) As a result, people who form an emotional attachment at work often won’t make a move until they’re absolutely sure there’s something substantial between them that might go the distance, which is precisely why it so often does.”

….

“Pixar, like most of the companies we contacted for this article, would not discuss its workplace romance policy, if any. But if Pearl’s and Stanton’s perception that there is none is correct, Pixar is in the majority. Nearly 70 percent of companies have no policy at all. Sometimes emphatically so. Said Netflix spokesman Steve Swayze: “We like to think of ourselves as rule-averse. We hire adults and we expect adult behavior. Personal stuff is personal, and if it isn’t interfering with work, it’s not worth spending any time on.”

Pixar gets the dankprofessor’s highest award for furthering freedom of association in the workplace.  Such a simple notion that is generally discarded by those who are into power and control of their employees- their employees are adults and that personal stuff should be personal. The fact that such a notion is held to be an anachronistic one by almost all human resources personnel and the cadre of lawyers advising and defending employers indicates the level of disconnect existent in the workplace as well as in the university place. The article continues-

“Very few companies ban workplace romance entirely, probably for a very pragmatic reason: Enforcing such a ban is nearly impossible. Says Robyn Zazulia, 27, who met her fiance Alex Rogin, 34, when they worked on a project together at Wells Fargo: “I have a very good girlfriend who worked for a small company of 200 people, but there were very clear rules, explicit rules prohibiting intercompany dating. But nobody followed it; there was a lot of inter-company dating there because they worked together at far-flung places without friends or family around.” And why would companies want to try to outlaw behavior that enhances so many employees’ lives? Each couple interviewed for this story said that they were only one of many at the same firm.

The companies that do have a written policy on office romance commonly prohibit supervisors and subordinates from being romantically involved in an effort to avoid conflicts of interest and charges of sexual harassment. For example, Schwab restricts management or supervisors from having a close personal relationship with employees they supervise. In the event such a relationship forms, the parties are required to report it to their superiors or to human resources. Said Sarah Bulgatz, Schwab’s director of corporate PR: “They can work together – absolutely – as long as one is not the direct or indirect supervisor of the other.”

Nevertheless, as we found when we did the research for our book “Office Mate: The Employee Handbook for Finding – and Managing – Romance on the Job,” there is an enormous disconnect between the attitude of HR directors toward office romance and the paranoia of corporate attorneys and public relations departments when it comes to discussing the topic, which may be why people believe that companies frown on interoffice dating. In the example of one company we contacted for this story, an executive said that in-house counsel would not allow him to discuss the firm’s office romance policy on the record. We had intended to interview a young female employee of one of the company’s subsidiaries, but when she sought permission she was told she couldn’t even voice her opinions on the topic – let alone talk about her own experiences dating colleagues – if we said where she worked. Which means that it’s fine to date the people you work with, but talking about it could get you fired.

Chris Edmonds-Waters, head of HR for SVB Financial Group, a diversified financial services firm of 1,600 employees in San Francisco, says companies should stop being afraid of talking about office romance, whether within or without the company. “It’s good corporate hygiene,” he says. “All companies should have a policy on workplace relationships and should communicate that policy because it guides people’s behaviors and gives them a resource to use if they run into a sticky issue. It’s the fair and right thing to do.”

Policy or none, managers who find couples forming where they see potential risk occasionally ask them to sign a legal document pioneered by a San Francisco law firm called – you can’t make this stuff up – the “love contract.” According to Stephen Tedesco, a partner at the firm of Littler Mendelson, they do “steady business” writing contracts that confirm there is a romantic relationship between the two parties, that it is consensual, that no offensive conduct has occurred and that they agree to conduct themselves in a professional manner. Says Tedesco, “The love contract does prevent someone from rewriting the past if the behavior goes from non-offensive to offensive.”

It also guards against the possibility that an office romance – particularly between people who are highly placed – does not become fodder for a claim of sexual favoritism in response to the sort of behavior made famous in the early 1980s by William Agee, CEO of the manufacturing conglomerate Bendix. Agee hired a fresh grad from the Harvard Business School named Mary Cunningham and proceeded to promote her up the ranks so quickly that a national scandal ensued. They later married. Thanks to a 2005 California Supreme Court ruling, co-workers who witness such favor-granting are free to file a third-party claim of sexual harassment.

But outside of such blatant misbehavior, colleagues have no problem with co-workers who couple. According to a new survey from Yahoo! HotJobs, almost half of the respondents said they don’t really care if two co-workers become involved. If anything, they approve; 56 percent say they support colleagues becoming romantically involved, as Jennifer Taylor and Eliza Laffin discovered. When Jennifer Taylor was hired at Macromedia in the spring of 2003, her boss kept talking about a colleague named Eliza. “You and Eliza are going to love each other,” the boss would say. “You’re from Vermont; she’s from Vermont; you went to Brown; she went to Brown – you’re just going to love each other.”

In a city where single women chronically complain about the shortage of available men, the matter-of-fact acceptance of workplace relationships by Bay Area companies offers unattached workers a new way to look for love. And interestingly, it’s just as effective for older singles – men and women, gay or straight. When Careerbuilder.com broke down its office romance stats by age, they found that the numbers of workers who said they have had an office romance is virtually the same from ages 25 to 64. Schwab’s Sharon Hanna, 56, is living proof. She had met Dana Jones, 52, back in 1990 when Jones joined the department where Hanna worked as a supervisor. They were lunch-break friends for years before she launched into a dinner-party-giving phase immediately after breaking off a relationship. “One night the date I’d invited for myself was a total dud and after the party my girlfriend said, ‘Ditch him; the interesting guy at the dinner was Dana!’ That was a pivotal moment; until that moment I was oblivious.”

“If we hadn’t met at work we would never have gotten together,” Hanna added.

End of excerpts.

The dankprofessor wishes to highlight the statement in the article “..that the greater acceptance of workplace romance has a lot to do with its inevitability.  Such will be inevitable where you have a high concentration of eligible men and women who are in close proximity with each other on an everyday basis.  Romances will occur in such a setting; only thru a creation of a totalitarian regime in which the workplace is saturated by informants can the numbers be decreased.  Of course, the implementation of such a regime will not lead to worker efficiency, but rather lead to the workplace being dysfunctional.  Interestingly enough, advocates of such bans hold that if there are no such bans, such will lead to demoralization of employees and at the university the disintegraton of the teacher student learning process.  Such is about as far from the truth that one can get.  The opposite is closer to the truth- the fewer the bans the greater likelihood that there be a more productive workplace and university place.  The powerful bottom line is that these bans simply cannot undermine, effectively combat the principle of dating propinquity; maybe I should call it the law of dating propinquity.  People will seek eligible persons out in their immediate environment for dating and mating; only a police state can diminish the level of propinquitous mating and dating.

Of course, the reality of pervasive dating within the workplace is obscured to outsiders by rules that supposedly function to prevent such dating.  The major function of such rules is generally a window dressing function, a public relations function that communicates to the world at large that sexual harassment rules and fraternization rules are being embraced.  In other words, many companies are not walking the walk but rather talking the talk when it comes to these rules.  As noted in the article, the major sin is talking about the rules not being applied and not the violation of said rules. 

Another way of looking at this situation is not walking the walk but talking the talk is a giant con game, and the victims of the con include our universities which embrace these rules since it is believed that they work in the so-called real world and since also  within the university there are feminist ideologues who justify said rules in the context of differential power precludes consent. Combining workplace con artistry with the campus feminist mystifying rhetoric, campus administrators, professors, and students end up being the victims of this con voluntarily giving up their rights to consent and their rights of freedom of association.

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If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor™
© Copyright 2007

November 13, 2007 Posted by | consensual relationships, corporate dating bans, dating, ethics, feminism, fraternization, higher education, sexual politics, student professor dating, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

More on Middlebury College

More needs to be said about the article by Tracy Himmel-Isham and Jon Isham advocating a ban on consensual student professor romantic relationships at Middlebury College.  The writers present a myriad of negative effects which supposedly occur on campuses without  a consensual relationship policy. Such negative effects include an undermining of trust in the classroom, an undermining of parental faith in the integrity of the College and a demeaning of the professional reputation of the faculty.  Given the writers’ vision of a college or university without a consensual relationships policy, few students and faculty would find such an environment to be hospitable to the teaching and learning enterprise.

But here is the nub of the problem for Himmel-Isham and Isham, Middlebury College has been a college for over 200 years without a consensual relationships policy, and as far as I know Middlebury has not suffered any of the negative effects that the authors outlined in their article.  If what they profess is true, all the accolades that have been given to Middlebury College over the decades and centuries is just hype; all the goods words simply represent a thin veneer protecting naïve others from seeing Middlebury College as a den of iniquity.  However, I do not believe that Middlebury is a den of iniquity.  What the dankprofessor believes is that the writing of Himmel-Isham and Isham is pure hype; that the authors ignore the history and culture of Middlebury in their usage of scare techniques in order to recreate Middlebury College.

Of course, the dankprofessor cannot help but speculate as to what led to these two writers to be outspoken on this issue at this time.  Might they have been spurred on by “outsiders” who wish to change Middlebury into being a sexual regulating college?   The writers published their article in October 2007 and in September 2007 the Middlebury community was preached to by Ann Lane, University of Virginia Women’s Studies professor, who has crisscrossed America spreading her vision of what universities like Middlebury should do to save their students from so-called predatory and sexually obsessed professors.

Make no mistake about it Ann Lane is a zealot when it comes to having her vision of student professor relationships as being the one true vision.  Such zealotry is apparent in the writing of Himmel-Isham and Isham.  Such zealotry apparently led these authors to become true believers and forget about the illustrious 200 year history of Middlebury without any Lane approved policy. Such are my speculations.  Maybe these two writers have a history of being outspoken on this issue.

Maybe they opposed and/or boycotted the 2007 Middlebury commencement address given by our former president, William Jefferson Clinton who as we know engaged in a president-intern sexual tryst with Monica Lewinsky.  Maybe it is and was their belief that great presidents and great professors simply are no longer great if they engage in this genre of relationship and merit impeachment as president or termination as professor.  Fortunately, Middlebury did not take this position and honored President Clinton by inviting him to be the keynote speaker for the 2007 commencement.

And the invitation to Clinton for the 2007 commencement speaker was preceded by Rudy Giuliani as the keynote speaker for the 2005 Middlebury commencement.  So the invitation to Clinton cannot be written off as being idiosyncratic.  For Middlebury, greatness in public life cannot be written off by private conduct, sexual or otherwise.  Of course, Giuliani’s sexual escapades when he was the mayor of NYC were not exactly private, publicly appearing as a married man with his mistress and then publicly announcing he was divorcing his wife in a news conference prior to even telling his wife of the impending divorce.  Of course, sexual politics do make strange bedfellows as indicated by the recent endorsement of Rudy Giuliani by Pat Robertson.  But the sexual political reality at Middlebury until recently has not been strange; commencement invitations are extended to Clinton and Giuliani, not to Pat Robertson or persons of the genre of former special prosecutor Kenneth Starr.  What is strange is Middlebury not simply extending an invitation to Ann Lane, but the apparent willingness of so many persons in the Middlebury community buying into the sexual politics of Ann Lane.

In any case, the bottom line in regards to  the present issue is whether Middlebury College will respect adult students and adult professors right to privacy, a right which is consistent with the history of Middlebury College.

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If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor™
© Copyright 2007

November 10, 2007 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, fraternization, higher education, Middlebury College, sexual politics, student professor dating, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Middlebury College

Middlebury College is in the process of developing a policy regulating student professor consensual relationships and the  following op ed article by Tracy Himmel-Isham who is the Assistant Director of Career Services and Jon Isham who is the Luce Professor of International Environmental Economics present arguments in favor of adopting a policy at Middlebury.  Following are key excerpts from this article accompanied by my comments.

“Consider the negative effects when a professor and a student whom s/he supervises are engaged in a romantic and/or sexual relationship. Multiple conflicts are bound to arise because of the power differential. Fellow students are justified in questioning, “What has happened to the mutual trust in this classroom?” Departmental colleagues of the professor should ask: “How will this relationship affect our professional reputation?” And if the College turns a blind eye, parents of Middlebury students have the right to demand “What kind of a community is this?!””

Of course the advocates of the ban know with certainty that there will be negative effects of a student professor relationships  and said effects are bound to impact on mutual trust in the classroom.  For some reason, they appear to believe that the intimate aspects of the relationship takes place in class rather than outside of class.  Why would a professor integrate his or her personal intimate relationships into the class framework?  If such is the case, it is inappropriate not because the relationship is between a student and professor but rather because one of the parties in the relationship is an exhibitionist.  If a professor engages in verbiage unrelated to the class relating to the beauty of his girl friend or how evil was his mother, such a professor should be warned that such behavior is inappropriate.  For some reason, the writers believe that professors involved in such relationships are adolescents who cannot control their behavior and will exhibit their conquest to others in the classroom.  Such is absurd,; of course all stereotyping is absurd.  Might the embracing of this stereotypical imagery by highly educated persons   possibly represent a reflection of the writers projecting their own feeling on to these professors who they severely condemn?   Could such condemnation represent a form of self-flagellation? 

As to effecting the professional reputation of Middlebury, such is unlikely to occur, and as far as I know has not occcurred.  I say such is unlikely to occur since so few student professor relationships ever receive public attention.  Again, the people involved in these relationships are not exhibitionist, are not celebrities seeking the attention of the masses.  It would be fair to characterize their relationships as pedestrian, eligible men and women seeking to be loved in the context of meeting in a university community.  Often the couple meets in the context of the love of knowledge, sharing the similar intellectual passions, which in time may be transformed in part into a knowledge of love.  These two writers simply seem unable to understand that loving and learning can go together.  Nothing extraordinary or perverted about that ?

Then the writers express concern about the parents of Middlebury students and their right to demand.  It is unclear what they have the right to demand.  I gather that the writers believe that they have the right to demand the the university control their children as to whom their children are intimately associated.  Such is a type of control many parents would like to have, but should not have in the university since at the university their children are not the children of the university but are adult students attending Middlebury.  In any case, as stated previously, in the real world many parents are delighted that their daughter has affiliated with a university professor, has escaped the hookup culture and the binge drinking which are often a part of student culture.  As I have indicated previously, I personally have never met a parent who disapproved of my dating their daughter; being welcomed into their family was the norm.

The banning advocates continue by invoking Carleton College as being a model for Middlebury as to their consensual relationships policy.

“The well-being of the learning and teaching community at Carleton College depends upon the existence of a relationship of trust, respect, and fairness between the faculty and the students. Romantic and/or sexual relations, even if consensual, between faculty members and their students (those whom they currently teach, advise, supervise, coach, or evaluate in any way) violate the integrity of the student/teacher relationship as described above. Such relations are therefore prohibited by the College and constitute grounds for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.”

This language gets it exactly right. Trusting, respectful and fair relationships between faculty and students are central to a college’s academic mission. Indeed, the teacher-student relationship, as celebrated in the recent launch of the Middlebury Initiative, defines our community.”

Carleton nor the Middlebury advocates present an iota of evidence that the integrity of the academic enterprise is affected or been affected by consensual student professor relationships  The reality is that such relationships have become the boogeyman of academia.  If the writers are concerned about integrity I suggest that they focus on student cheating, both faculty and student cheating; plagiarism, both faculty and student plagiarism.  These are issues dealing with academic integrity, not ones dealing with whom one dates.

I do agree with the writers that there should be trust, respect, and fairness between the faculty and students.  Of course, such should also entail trust between faculty and faculty.  Intruding into the personal lives of professors and students does not reflect trust, it reflects meddling. As for fairness, fairness in this case is not treating professors differentially based on who they choose to date but rather fairness is professors treating students the same in the classroom irrespective of any other relationships they may have regarding any particular student, eg, whether any particular student be a son or daughter of a colleague or of an administrator or if they like or dislike a student, or if they find a particular student attractive or unattractive, etc., etc.

“Note that the Carleton policy does not – repeat, does not – forbid all sexual relationships between faculty member and student. Specifically, it acknowledges that some romantic and/or sexual relationships do not “undermine the trust, respect, and fairness that are central to the success of Carleton’s educational mission.” This is an essential part of such a policy. A respected colleague of ours recently told us: “I have been at Middlebury for a long time, and I have seen loving relationships develop between professors and students, relationships that have become strong, long-lasting marriages.” At the same time, this colleague pulled no punches: “Of course, sexual relations between a faculty member and a student whom he or she currently supervises are indefensible.”

I can’t help but imagine if the aforementioned colleague checked out each of these couples determining with certainty that the relationship did not begin with the student in class or continued with the student in class.  If the professor pulls no punches, such would mean he would have thoroughly checked out these couples and become a meddling ogre in the context of defending the integrity of  Middlebury.

“We wonder about those who might object to Middlebury adopting a version of Carleton’s “Statement on Consensual Relations.” Perhaps some might think that it violates a tenured faculty member’s freedom of expression. But consider the following: if you are reading this article and somehow object to the Carleton Policy, then would you be willing to speak up for its converse?”

Well,  the dankprofessor is not at Middlebury and am speaking up for its “converse”.  What the policy does is violate both the students’ and professors’ freedom of association, of ones freedom to choose ones date and/or mate.

“We encourage all members of our community ­- students, faculty, staff, parents, alums, and trustees – to ask: “What kind of a community does Middlebury want to be?” Should our community dismiss sexual relationships between faculty and students as just one more privileged expression of academic freedom? Or, just as Carleton College did five years ago, should we declare support for “trust, respect and fairness” and therefore prohibit sexual relations between a professor and a student whom s/he supervises? Faculty council not only needs to take this issue seriously: they should recommend a policy that reflects the aspirations and moral integrity of our community.”

Yes, it is a decision as to what sort of community there is at Middlebury.  I would hope that the Middlebury community does not want to dismiss any consensual relationship.  Relationships between students and professors are not a “privileged expression”; they are expressive of basic rights of adults.  One can dismiss children, but not adults.  Those who take away such rights, no matter for what principles, end up demonizing others, infantilizing students and turning over the private lives of students and professors to administrators who are free of sexual biases and prejudices, who gain no gratification from controlling the sexual lives of others.  Getting beyond this fantasy thinking, it is more likely that professors and students who simply wanted to be left alone are now put in the hands of Big Brother and Big Sister administrators who simply are into power and control in the name of protecting the integrity of Middlebury.

Unfortunately I must end now since I want to keep up with the mass arrests of political dissidents in Pakistan, arrests which are, of course, being made to protect the integrity of the democratic process in Pakistan.  Let the elections begin.

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If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor™
© Copyright 2007

November 9, 2007 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, fraternization, higher education, Middlebury College, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating | 1 Comment

The professor as THE sexual outsider

The professor as THE Outsider seduces students and destroys morality as we know it.  Of all the treatises I have read on the condemning of student professor relationships this one by Kentucky Youth Pastor Kyle McDanell is the most extreme.  It does not come from a feminist perspective.  I assume that the youth pastor articulating this believes he is coming from an Evangelical Christian perspective.  Whatever the underlying theological or ideological framework may be, the good pastor does not hide his utter disgust at the the thought of student-professor intimacies.  As he says, the idea of Professor Abramson allowing such things on campus- “that’s just gross”.  For the pastor, Abramson’s writing just boils down to justifying sin.  And make no mistake about it, he believes having sex with a professor is a sin. As he states- “Thus, man will do everything it can to rationalize, normalize, legalize, and excuse everything; such as, having sex with a professor. Even among “consenting adults.”

Justifying student professor intimacies becomes the last straw for this pastor.  For him, rationalizing such consensual behavior comes to represent a form of human depravity. In his words- “Has our culture come this far that we can rationalize everything. This is the result of human depravity with postmodernism on top. Postmodernism is essentially make it up as you go. And when it comes to ethics, you can justify anything.”

Obviously this pastor has a visceral reaction when it comes to student professor relationships.  I have previously argued that such feelings are of the type that occur when there is a violation of a taboo, such as an incest taboo.  There is a feeling of utter revulsion and that anyone promulgating such a violation must be dealt with severely.  But professor student relationships do not have a history within Christianity of representing such a violation.  So it would be reasonable to ask what might be the origins of this revulsion?  Such is revealed in the following passage “Liberals, therefore, don’t want to be told that any form of sex is wrong; homosexuality, bisexuality, experimenting, multiple partners from multiple genders, transgender, and eventually polygamy, bestiality, and incest. This is how freedom is defined, and you see it in this professors argument. He doesn’t want to be told that sex between a student and an adult are wrong.

So when the pastor thinks of student professor relationships he thinks of child adult sex.  The professor becomes the child molester because the student cannot be an adult.  I believe that this is the default assumption held by many persons going way beyond Christian evangelicals.  It goes back to our childhood when the teacher is always the adult and the student is always the child.  Many persons just can’t get beyond this framework.  No matter that the student is 25 or 35 or 55; the student is always a child and always a victim. The idea of student and professor studying and learning together as two adults and loving each other as two adults and as marrying each other as two adults and parenting as two adults just goes beyond the mental capacity of those holding this hardcore default assumption.

And yes, there are other reasons that many persons are threatened by professor student relationships, but in the dankprofessor’s opinion, most of these other reasons are age related reasons, eg, the fear of the younger woman taking men from older women, the idea that young women are owned by young men and vice versa.  

In this context of age norm violation, the true believer will almost always see the student as child victim, no matter what the age of the adult female student.  The infantilizing of female college students is maddening to female students so infantilized.  And unfortunately no matter what her protest may be such protests are seen as the cry of a victim who has been brainwashed by her victimizer. Of course, the true believer often presents a veneer that disguises an underlying sexual agenda.  And that veneer is grading.  But the veneer is thinly veiled not anchored in disgust and anger and fear.  The prejudicial grader is not THE Outsider threatening the natural order of things. In fact, as  the dankprofessor has previously argued, academics as a whole put little or no value on grading.  What grading does in the present context is that it functions as a smokescreen hiding the underlying sexual dread.  The professor as outsider is not dreaded as a grader gone awry, but rather as a sexual outsider preying on our children. The professor as a sexual outsider has replaced the homosexual as sexual outsider.  

Note the similarity in rhetoric of the Pastor to the rhetoric of the extreme anti-homosexuality of the 1970s.  One of the leading 1970s

homophobes was psychoanalyst Abram Kardiner.  In 1971 in an open letter to the editor of the American Journal of Psychotherapy he stated:

“Homosexuality cannot make a society, or keep ours going very long.  Homosexuality operates against the cohesive elements in society in the name of a fictitous freedom…And no society can long endure when either the child is neglected or the sexes war upon each other.”

Essentially Pastor McDanell and those of the anti-homosexual genre of Abram Kardiner see themselves standing at the abyss both fighting The sexual outsider united in a stand that they believe will save our children. 

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If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor™
© Copyright 2007

November 6, 2007 Posted by | fraternization, higher education, homosexual, political correctness, sexual politics, student professor dating | 1 Comment

Imperial Leather launches hugging campaign in the UK

In a previous post I bemoaned the developing taboos re hugging in the workplace and university place.  Now as I find via the Hindustan Times that the hugging taboo has become very well developed in the UK.  Imperial Leather financed a study on the hugging taboo and is now appealing to the UK public to embrace hugging( pun intended).  If any readers of this post are from the UK, I would appreciate receiving their word on hugging taboos in the UK.

Report from the Asian News International brought to you by the Hindustan Times

London, Nov. 3 — There’s nothing more comforting than a hug. However, psychologists warn that the trend of political-correctness is killing the innocent cuddle.

The finding is based on a study conducted in the UK.

Dr. David Holmes, senior psychologist of Manchester Metropolitan University, said that people have become so nervous about giving others a hug for fear of the consequences that the hug is close to extinction in the country.

“Political correctness is partly to blame as we have been conditioned not to touch anyone anymore as it can easily be deemed inappropriate,” the Daily Mail quoted him, as saying.

“Life now is all about having minimal physical contact. It is a real shame, but on the serious side it is a scientific fact that animals who receive little affection are unhappier than those that receive more contact.

“In addition, these days we are just too busy to hug…

A spokeswoman for Imperial Leather, which conducted the study, appealed for Brits to join the quest to bring back the hug.

“Physical contact is a human need, and although often forgotten, hugs are essential to combat and cope with every day stresses,” she said.

“Our study found having huggable, snuggleable soft skin makes us feel happier when coming into contact with loved ones.

“Imperial Leather are appealing to the great British public to join us in our quest to bring back the old-fashioned hug.”

Dr David Holmes added: “Overall, we should get back to hugging. It is good for us after all.

Published by HT Media Ltd. with permission from Asian News International

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If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor.

November 4, 2007 Posted by | hugging, political correctness | Leave a comment

Update on Professor Birmingham and the and the UCONN Law School

The Hartford Courant reported on November 2 that Birmingham would be reinstated as of the Spring semester, but in addition they reported that Birmingham would not be allowed to teach Feminist Legal Theory which he was orginally scheduled to teach.  No explanation was given by Dean Paul as to the dropping of this course. 

Also do check out Hartford Courant Forum on the article; it is a must read. Readers and alumni take Dean Paul to task for demeaning the academic enterprise at the University of Connecticut Law School.  The fact that Dean Paul continues to be dean and that no UCONN law professor has publicly spoken out on this case is damning.  Who will rein in this dean?  Truly, this is political correctness run amok.

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If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor.

November 4, 2007 Posted by | academic freedom, ethics, higher education, political correctness, Uncategorized, University of Connecticut | Leave a comment

Legal strategy to overturn student professor dating bans

The Wulfila blog has a post of interest today on the relevance of the Supreme Court 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision which affirmed a right to sexual privacy.  Please do check this  blog post out.

Today’s blog entry must be brief since I am off shortly to see AMERICAN GANGSTER. I am not sure if I will have time to blog tomorrow, but fear not a huge amount of material continues to come to my attention that merits the attention of the Dankprofessor blog. 

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If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor.

November 4, 2007 Posted by | higher education, student professor dating, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The love that dare not speak its name

In my prior post on the LA Times being bamboozled by the UC administration as to the number of professors dismissed for violating the UC student professor dating code, such bamboozling can be quite effective.  Such is likely to be effective since the whole process is usually shrouded in secrecy.  Charges for violation are confidential and the outcome of such cases are confidential.  The name of the alleged victim is confidential as well as the one who is so charged.  Of course, it is much more likely that more persons know the name of the alleged offender than the alleged victim.  Many times there may be no complaining victims.  In the UCLA case, a third party functioned as an informant; whether this informant violated the privacy of of the student and professor was simply of no concern to the UCLA chancellor.  The fact that the UCLA chancellor spoke out on this case is what is so exceptional.  Obviously the chancellor felt that he had to speak out to make it clear to all concerned that UCLA had a no tolerance policy for professors who violated  the consensual dating code and it was of no import to him that the professor had a very strong record of service to the UCLA community; it was also of no concern to him that many students rallied in support of the professor and essentially begged the UCLA administration to not dismiss the professor.  Shortly after these public pronouncements  the professor was no longer seen on campus.

But here is where this situation takes a bizarre turn.  Two years later as far as the UC administration is concerned, this dismissal never occurred.  The UC administration is being quite serious when they state there has never been a faculty dismissal under this code.  What happened to this professor is shrouded in secrecy.  What I speculate happened is that the professor resigned and retired in the context of signing a confidentiality agreement which meant he simply disappeared from campus.  I have no idea how many more professors may have disappeared from UCLA or from any of the other University of California campuses.  I challenge any student or professor to come up with names and numbers in this area.  I doubt that few will take up this challenge since any student or professor seeking such information will probably be held to be under suspicion, and may be subject to various violations of privacy.  The fact is that one professor from a mid-western university who published an article on student professor dating a few years ago in a sociology journal ended up being charged with sexual harassment; the professor so charged is a woman; the outcome of her case I believe is pending. 

The Dankprofessor holds that SECRECY is a key component in attempting to understand the contemporary context of student professor relationships.  A major, if not the most major, function of these codes has been to drive student professor relationships into the closet, the creation of a new campus underground.  Fewer and fewer professors are willing to engage in scholarly writing on the subject.  For those who do and even hint that these bans are problematic one can be pretty sure that the most hideous labels will be applied to them.  When Professor Abramson received his initial public attention in the Chronicle of Higher Education, commentaries published in the Chronicle focused on the good professor’s physical appearance indicating that his look was the look of a lecherous professor.  In the 1990s when I was one of the few male professors speaking out against these bans, I was subject to myriad character assassinations; such did not deter me, but I do feel that these attacks did deter others from speaking out.  Today I can’t find paper presentations in any of the major social science associations meetings, whether it be the ASA, APA, regional sociological and psychological associations.  There are many many papers on homosexuality and gays, the subject is now thoroughly out of the closet, and thoroughly in the closet when it comes to student professor relationships.  Academics play it safe, both students and professors, both tenured and untenured in adhering to appropriate norms regarding the love that dare not speak its name.  Of course, I am one of the few exceptions, I only wrote about gay life when the preponderance of gays were still the closet.  In 1971, I published an article entitled “Coming Out in the Gay World” which foresaw the upcoming positive changes in the creation of a “public” gay world and a world where homosexuality would no longer be the love that dare not speak its name.  Then and now advocates of the closet argue that going public would offend too many good upstanding citizens. So many of the attempts to repress speech and association in contemporary academic life relate to offending sensitive others.  How sad! How utterly sad that more and more academics are committed to not offending others.  How sad that as of this date not a single professor at the University of Connecticut Law School has come forward in defense of their colleague, Robert Birmingham!

It was back in 1994 in the journal Radical Teacher that sociologist Toni H. Oliviero wrote about the dangerous consequences relating to secrecy that would result from banning student professor relationships.  Quoting from this article-

“I am thinking of two things here. First the ways that prohibitions construct the silence of concealment. The establishment of anti-sex rules would create the need to lie (just when gays and lesbians are daring not to in significant numbers). Axiomatic is, There will be sex. There will be consensual relations between all sorts of people. Some of those relations will be only ostensibly consensual, in your view or mine. But sex will happen. Do we want to drive it underground and cause a sexual relationship between two adults to take its shape, even in part, from the narrow and twisted constraints that secrecy imposes? When you prohibit something, you cannot then talk about how to do it as well as possible, or as harmlessly. This constraint on our ability to learn is not in keeping with any notion I can imagine of ourselves as teachers or as citizens.”

Yes, another apt title for this post would be ACADEMICS IN CONSTRAINTS, CONSTRAINTS MADE AND IMPOSED BY ACADEMICS.

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If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor.

© Copyright 2007

November 2, 2007 Posted by | academic freedom, ethics, fraternization, higher education, homosexual, political correctness, secrecy, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating, the closet, UC, UCLA | Leave a comment

   

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