Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Sexual dissidence or sexual diffidence?

How about an MA in Sexual Dissidence chaired by the dankprofessor? Just a fantasy? Not really, you actually can get an MA in Sexual Dissidence at the University of Sussex in the UK, but no, the dankprofessor is not part of the Sussex program. To my knowledge, this is the first offering of a degree program in Sexual Dissidence in the UK or anywhere else.
Why might such pioneering work begin at Sussex? Maybe it’s all part of the name game.

So if you are interested in the Sussex program, be at Sussex tomorrow, January 30; invited are “…prospective and interested students to our Postgraduate Open Day to be held on Wednesday, 30 January from 12 pm – 2.30 pm in The Bramber House Terrace Room. Information on all MA’s, including Sexual Dissidence, will be available, and you will be able to meet and talk with Faculty. Sandwiches and refreshments will be provided.” To get more info on the progam, click here.

Well, after the dankprofessor read about the program, I concluded there was no place in the program for me since the program is dealing with the currently “in” academic topics like post-colonialism, non-heteronormative sexualities, etc.
Such is not to suggest that this Sexual Dissidence Program may not have much to offer. But I can’t help but wonder if the sexual dissidence name is a misnomer. Can sexual dissidence be manipulated in such a way to exclude anything bordering on heteronormativity? Cannot one be heteronormative while being a sexual dissident? Automatically excluding heteronormativity from the rubric of sexual dissidence seems to me to be indicative a severe case of sexual diffidence.  So the dankprofessor speculates that the Sussex Sexual Dissidence MA program might be more appropriately named the Sexual Diffidence MA Program.

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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 dankprofessorTM
© Copyright 2008

January 29, 2008 Posted by | higher education, sex, sexual politics, University of Sussex | Leave a comment

Campus zealotry and demagoguery

Here is the quickest way to eliminate female student male professor consensual sexual relationships from the university place, simply do not allow college entrée to female students who are privy to be sexually attracted to any professor. Of course, the immediate reaction by anyone of sound mind, of anyone who has an iota of understanding of the sexual scene, knows that such would be an impossibility. In an environment in which there is a high density of of eligible single men and women, there will be sexual attraction, and dating and mating.

But here is the nub of the matter, those who fuel the movement to ban these relationships have a retrograde view of female sexual attraction and sexuality. They simply eliminate said sexual attraction. They uniformly engage in a psychological denial that female students could be attracted to male professors and have the capacity to act on that attraction. Note that in the dankprofessor’s presentation of the initiation of the banning movement at Ohio State, there was absolutely no deviation from the line that female students could ever be attracted to a professor or act on such an attraction. This was consistent with the fact that one-third of the appointees to the Working Group had made a commitment to rape prevention and rape counseling. Arguments of the type made in support of these bans at Ohio State and at most other universities are at their core arguments against rape. To advocate against this position, sets up the advocate as advocating against rape prevention. No wonder that at Ohio State the reception of the Working Group report was embraced and never directly criticized.

Once one understands that the core proponents of the movement to ban student professor sexual relationships see themselves as campaigning against rape and rapists, their self-righteousness and disdain for anyone introducing a civil liberties perspective becomes understandable. Arguing for due process, presumption of innocence in their view simply becomes an argument in support of rape and rapists. Putting forth an argument as I have done that professor
student relationships would not be a problem for anyone if female students were not sexually attracted to professors at one time or another is simply discarded. Such is discarded since in their rape framework the female student is never capable of consent, and always merits the protection of the powerful and benevolent other.

And here we come to the utter mystification of the whole process. In order to protect the female student from the predator/rapist professor they deny the very existence of female power in the context of sexuality. They strip away the female student’s sexuality by reducing her to a childlike status in which the consent of the female-child is an impossibility. Banning advocates continuing mantra is that differential power precludes consent while they put themselves in a higher power position and attempt to preclude female students from dissenting to their power dynamic. Antithetical to this framework is the view that female students have sexual autonomy, are not in an agentic state, are capable of consent and the burden of proof is on those persons who argue that in any particular case, a female student or for that matter any student is not capable of consent.

Of course, many persons might critique my analysis by arguing that most of the support for these bans come from those who are against conflicts of interest and prejudicial grading. And such may have some validity since most often at a point prior to the adoption of these sexual codes, the arguments are put into a desexualized and bureaucratized policy code lingo. They end up being put forth in a polite and impersonal framework. So at a certain point the zealots and true believers are in part replaced by the bureaucrats who now do their dirty work. But irrespective of whether it is the zealots doing the arguing or the bureaucrats doing the enforcing, their framework is the same- authoritarian, authoritarians demanding obedience. And if the authoritarians have won or in Thomas Hanna’s perspective, the humanoids are in control, their will be few dissenters since the mass of the professoriate are in a state of fear, of being afraid that if they speak out that they will end up being one of the accused.

Or summing up my argument in more cogent terms, when it comes to dealing with student professor romances, zealotry and demagoguery on campus have effectively displaced pedagogy.

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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 dankprofessorTM
© Copyright 2008

January 27, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, feminism, fraternization, higher education, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating | Leave a comment

Undergrad students prostitute themselves to pay college fees

The British Guardian reported yesterday that a large number of French undergraduates have been engaging in prostitution to pay for their university fees and books.

 As reported in the Guardian:”A memoir by a 19-year-old language student and a book of interviews with undergraduate sex workers has shocked France, lifting the lid on a practice which appears to be increasingly common. A new study showed a large online market for student prostitutes, describing how male clients, who are often rich, married executives, advertise online for young, undergraduate “escorts” whom they prefer to street prostitutes. These clients pay on average €400 (£300) for a two hour meeting with a student, including sex and “time to talk”.

One student union estimated that 40,000 students are working as prostitutes. Others dispute that number, but the minister for higher education, Valérie Pécresse, acknowledged that the “phenomenon” was hard to quantify because of the taboo surrounding it. She said the government had not done enough to “concentrate efforts” on helping poor students juggle conventional part-time jobs.

Laura D, a 19-year-old student of Spanish and Italian, details in her memoir, Mes Chères Etudes, how she began working as a prostitute aged 18 when she could not afford her rent, books, or food, despite a part-time telesales job. Her parents – a nurse and a labourer earning just above the minimum wage – could not support her, but their jobs meant she did not qualify for aid.

Once, she asked a client for a laptop computer as payment. He brought one to their hotel meeting, but subjected her to violent sadism without her consent.

Eva Clouet, author of the book of interviews with student sex workers and clients, said those who had spoken out wanted a review of student aid, an increase in purpose-built student housing and the ability to combine normal part-time jobs with a university workload.”

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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 dankprofessorTM
© Copyright 2008

January 22, 2008 Posted by | higher education, prostitution, sex, sex work, sex workers, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Arbitration Board Reinstates Bird

The Canadian Press reported today that an arbitration board has ordered the reinstatement of Gregory Bird, a psychology teacher and general studies program leader at Lethbridge College in the province of Alberta.

Mr. Bird admitted to having sex with three female students and an internal investigation held by the college found him guilty of “inappropriate relationships with students” and dismissed him from the college. The arbitration board consisted of an arbitrator, two college representatives and a faculty association representative; they ordered that Bird be reinstated by May 1.

The Canadian Press also reported that all three students were consenting adults, none of the students claimed to have received preferential treatment from the professor. The professor testified that two of the women he had known prior to their becoming Lethbridge students and two of the women took classes from him while he was dating them. Investigation of the professor was initiated by a complaint from a former student. It was unclear whether the complaining student was one of the three involved students. The complaint led to an investigation and Bird’s firing.

Mr. Bird argued that he could not be fired because the college did not have a rule banning student professor intimacies.  The Board ruled that “Employees should not lose their jobs for breaking unwritten rules in areas where the line between right and wrong can be ambiguous. ” The college argued that Bird’s actions were a violation of the college’s sexual harassment policy. As for the college lacking a policy on consensual dating, Lethbridge College Vice President stated:
“Why would you write a policy that presupposes faculty might sleep with students?”

The college has yet to make a determination as to whether to appeal the arbitrator’s decision. Arbitrator’s decisions can be appealed on the grounds that the arbitrator violated the terms of the arbitration. Appealing the arbitration even if ultimately unsuccessful can significantly delay the return of the professor to the classroom.

The Canadian Press reported: “If Mr. Bird does return in May, he will do so without back pay and will be subject to conditions set out by the arbitrator. They include not being allowed to date or have sex with any student at the college and having to inform his supervisor if he dates a former student who has been out of the college for less than a year. He must also notify the college if one of his future students is someone with whom he has had a close relationship.”

Presently, Lethbridge College is developing a policy on student professor relationships.

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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 dankprofessorTM
© Copyright 2008

January 19, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, fraternization, higher education, Lethbridge College, litigation, sexual policing, sexual rights, student professor dating | 2 Comments

Getting rid of attractive students

The dankprofessor has argued that at the core of banning student professor sexual relationships is an anti sexual dynamic, a dynamic that is often stated in rather stark terms which puts such relationships in a child molestation framework with the professor being the sexual predator and the student being the innocent child or childlike female student. Some times the framework is closer to a rape framework with the professor being an adult rapist and the student an adult or near adult rape victim. Whatever be the specifics of the framework, the outcome is the same- the female student is unable to give consent. This sounds pretty outlandishly anti-sexual . However, some have argued that this sexual banning really is not anti-sexual, and that the reason for such bans is to protect the grading process, to eliminate the possibility that the enamored professor will prejudicially grade the loved one. To put the argument in a nutshell, professors are committed to non-prejudicial grading and sacrificing the rights of students and professors from loving each other in a grading context is a necessary sacrifice. On the surface this sounds like a reasonable argument. However, the overwhelming predominant academic reality is that professors provide only lip service to the sacredness of the grading process; lip service since professors generally do not emotionally invest themselves in grading; “good” grading does not help one get hired, promoted or tenured. Investing oneself in good grading, emphasizing how one is a committed non-prejudicial grader will not help one advance in academia. At whatever university and in whatever discipline, valued and remembered professors will be remembered as good teachers or good researchers or good scholars and not as outstanding non-prejudicial graders.

And given the lack of value put on grading, there is little or no emphasis on the prevention of prejudicial grading. There are no workshops on the prevention of prejudicial grading. There is much rhetoric in contemporary academic life about matters relating to race, gender and class, but nothing of a formal or informal nature directed toward professors as to how to avoid race, class and gender biases as such effect the grading process, whether the grading relates to grading a student one likes or one dislikes. One can politically and ideologically bond with students, one can fight and demonstrate with students to take back the night, but hardly anyone argues that one cannot grade these same students. Of course, students frequently complain that professors engage in prejudicial grading, that so and so students received a high grade because the professor liked him or her. But such talk is seen by almost all professors as just talk, certainly no talk that would lead one to take some sort of action or to lead the talked about to take a self-inventory.

If professors were really concerned about prejudicial grading, they would overtly demand that faculty deal with what heretofore has been unmentionable- that faculty, both male and female faculty, both married and unmarried faculty, both feminist and sexist professors are sexually attracted and sometimes very sexually attracted to some of their students some of the time. Every person who has ever professed knows this to be true and every professor know that being differentially attracted to students can lead to differential grading to some degree based on said attractiveness. Of course, we all know that the the physically attractive, the beautiful people are advantaged in just about all sectors of everyday life.

Robert Cialdini, in Influence: Science and Practice, summarizes the dynamic in these terms-

“Research has shown that we automatically assign to good-looking individuals such favorable traits as talent, kindness, honesty, and intelligence (for a review of this evidence, see Eagly, Ashmore, Makhijani, & Longo, 1991). Furthermore, we make these judgments without being aware that physical attractiveness plays a role in the process. Some consequences of this unconscious assumption that “good-looking equals good” scare me. For example, a study of the 1974 Canadian federal elections found that attractive candidates received more than two and a half times as many votes as unattractive candidates (Efran & Patterson, 1976). Despite such evidence of favoritism toward handsome politicians, follow-up research demonstrated that voters did not realize their bias. In fact, 73 percent of Canadian voters surveyed denied in the strongest possible terms that their votes had been influenced by physical appearance; only 14 percent even allowed for the possibility of such influence (Efran & Patterson, 1976). Voters can deny the impact of attractiveness on electability all they want, but evidence has continued to confirm its troubling presence (Budesheim & DePaola, 1994).

A similar effect has been found in hiring situations. In one study, good grooming of applicants in a simulated employment interview accounted for more favorable hiring decisions than did job qualifications – this, even though the interviewers claimed that appearance played a small role in their choices (Mack & Rainey, 1990). The advantage given to attractive workers extends past hiring day to payday. Economists examining U.S. and Canadian samples have found that attractive individuals get paid an average of 12-14 percent more than their unattractive coworkers (Hammermesh & Biddle, 1994).

Equally unsettling research indicates that our judicial process is similarly susceptible to the influences of body dimensions and bone structure. It now appears that good-looking people are likely to receive highly favorable treatment in the legal system (see Castellow, Wuensch, & Moore, 1991; and Downs & Lyons, 1990, for reviews). For example, in a Pennsylvania study (Stewart, 1980), researchers rated the physical attractiveness of 74 separate male defendants at the start of their criminal trials. When, much later, the researchers checked court records for the results of these cases, they found that the handsome men had received significantly lighter sentences. In fact, attractive defendants were twice as likely to avoid jail as unattractive defendants. In another study – this one on the damages awarded in a staged negligence trial – a defendant who was better looking than his victim was assessed an average amount of $5,623; but when the victim was the more attractive of the two, the average compensation was $10,051. What’s more, both male and female jurors exhibited the attractiveness-based favoritism (Kulka & Kessler, 1978).

Other experiments have demonstrated that attractive people are more likely to obtain help when in need (Benson, Karabenic, & Lerner, 1976) and are more persuasive in changing the opinions of an audience (Chaiken, 1979)…”

And the dankprofessor asks, are there any believers that such is different in the academic world, that physical attractiveness plays no role in grading and in academic gamesmanship in general?

If professors were really honest about this dynamic and at the same time committed to non-prejudicial grading, what might they do to minimize prejudicial grading? Might they recuse themselves from grading attractive students? Not possible. Might the university have dual classes, one class for the attractive and the other for the non-attractive? No way. But what about bringing about what had been not a rarity in the past in academia and that is the introduction of a student dress code. And the dress code would be that students dress in an absolutely uniform and bland manner, and that code be strictly enforced by administrators who have been specially trained to create and enforce dress codes. Unquestionably, there would be misdirected faculty and students who would hold such a code to be in violation of student civil liberties and rights. But the sacrifice of such rights would be a small sacrifice to make in the pursuit of fair and non-prejudicial grading. And, of course, students and professors have been asked (demanded) that they sacrifice the right to have sex with each other, the right to romance each other, the right to love each other all in the supposed name of protecting fair and non-prejudicial grading. And if as has been pointed out by banning advocates that students have not fully developed the ability to consent in sexual matters why would one assume that these same students have developed the ability to decide how to dress on an everyday basis? Better to let the specially trained to decide how you dress as long as you are a student at our university.

OK, for the distraught students who believe that they just can’t accept a dress code, they better get with the code or they will get a public dressing down. And remember Big Brother and Big Sister loves all students equally in all their surface blandness and sameness. No need to fret about the physically attractive getting an unfair better deal. Right?

More to follow in upcoming posts.

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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 2008

January 18, 2008 Posted by | attractive students, consensual relationships, ethics, feminism, fraternization, grading, higher education, love, recusal, sex, sexual policing, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating | Leave a comment

A passionate defense of student professor consensual sexual relationships

One of the very best and also the most passionate defenses of student professor sexual relationships has been by
Cristina Nehring, “The Higher Yearning; Bringing eros back to academe,” HARPER’S MAGAZINE, September 1, 2001.
Unfortunately, there is no full text copy available of this article online. It merits reading by all persons seriously interested
in issues relating to student professor fraternization. This is a lengthy article, and following is what I consider to be the
key excerpts from this article. Do get the full text copy of this article. And do savor the forthcoming excerpts. Do keep in mind that this writing is writing that the advocates of banning student professor sexual relationships do not want you to read. It is NEVER cited by these advocates. I will comment on aspects of this article in upcoming posts.Following are the article excerpts-

…Teacher-student chemistry is what sparks much of the best work that goes on at universities, today as always. It need not be reckless; it need not be realized. It need not even be articulated, or mutual. In most cases, in fact, it is none of these. In most cases, academic eros works from behind the scenes. It lingers behind the curtain and ensures that the production onstage is strong. It ensures that the work in the classroom is charged, ambitious, and vigorous. In most cases, it would be counterproductive for it to emerge, itself, into the limelight. That said, it occasionally does. And when it does, it must not be criminalized. For the university campus on which the erotic impulse between teachers and students is criminalized is the campus on which the pedagogical enterprise is deflated. It is the campus on which pedagogy is gutted and gored. This, unfortunately, is the scenario that confronts us today.

My own success would have been perfect had I elected in the last few years to sue my fiance, a professor at the university where I am completing a doctorate, for our relationship. In fact, the suit was very nearly made on my behalf, and against my will. When his superiors learned of our relationship, the wheels of justice and punishment began, immediately, to turn. No matter that I had never taken a class with him, or that I worked in a different department; no matter that we had met off-campus, or, most importantly, that I did not feel in any shape or form harassed by him. Nobody cared. My view of the matter was declared “irrelevant.” As a graduate student, I was presumably too “disempowered” to judge of my own abuse. Deans wrote letters; chairs made calls; hiring committees were warned of the “seriousness of the offense”; jobs were threatened–and I went unconsulted.

…In our enlightened contemporary university, men walk on eggshells and women run from shadows. Every gesture is suspect: if a colleague compliments you on your dress, it smacks of sexism; if a professor is friendly, he is readying you for future sexual abuse. There is no kindness so innocent that women educated in the “patterns” of harassment cannot recognize it as an instance of the newly identified activity experts refer to as “grooming” the victim for the kill. Academic encouragement, easy jesting, an affectionate epithet–all of what used to be the currency of good fellowship as well as teaching–have become cause for vigilance, fodder for complaint, the stuff of suits.

Were the rhetoric of the sexual-harassment authorities pursued with any consistency, it would deepen the rift between classes and between races just as fast as it has, in effect, restored the rift between the sexes. For what is the main trope of university harassment discourse? “Power differential.” Under no circumstances, we hear with metronomic regularity, may we countenance a “power differential” in intimate relationships. A teaching assistant not only should not but cannot give consent to a union with an assistant professor, suggests Billie Dziech, speaking for the consensus of harassment experts in the Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy (1999)…

The crackdown on power differentials in student-professor (or senior colleague-junior colleague) relationships presupposes a power-balance in non-pedagogic relationships that is completely fictitious. Where, one might ask, are the symmetrical relationships? If a student falls in love with a lawyer, is that more symmetrical? Should we outlaw relationships between students and nonstudents too? What about between good students and bad students? Rich students and poor students? Were we honest about our disdain for power imbalance we would have to legislate as emphatically against discrepancies in cultural, economic, and racial clout (to give a few examples) as against those in professional clout. It would be well-nigh impossible because of the endless and conflicting ways in which power manifests itself once we relinquish a simplistic model. (If there is “power” in academic rank, for instance, there is power in youth too–in physical attractiveness, in energy. There is power, even, in yet-to-be-fulfilled promise–power in time.) To the extent that such legislation succeeded, it would be a disaster–a reactionary dystopia, a hierarchical hell to which the way had been paved with liberal intentions.

One of the astonishing strengths of love and sex is that it can make boundaries between people so easy to break. It can glide, smiling, around social, vocational, and linguistic roadblocks; it can disarm difference, banish history, slice through power divides. It can ease the passage into another culture, mind, generation, or world. As was discovered by Jane Gallop–who seduced her professors as a student and her students as a professor (for which she was accused of sexual harassment in 1992 with far more reason than most)–sex is a great “leveler.” As suspect as Gallop may be in her egotism and promiscuity, in this she is right. Sex is a great leveler, and not just in the bedroom. The most surprising thing you learn when you fall in love with a sage or a student, a prince or a pauper, is not that you can sleep with him but that you can talk with him. This is something understood–unexpectedly, perhaps–by Philip Roth. The highly cultured hero of his new campus novel, The Dying Animal, may have been “inaccessible to [his student lover] in every other arena” but the sexual when they first met–so he says, and, given his general misanthropy, this is probably true. But for all the ways in which their liaison is compromised, what the mannerly Cuban coed and the transgressive Jewish pundit discover is that they can actually talk to each other. The same is true of the cleaning woman in Roth’s previous novel, The Human Stain, who discovers that she can arouse the college dean mentally as much as physically. He can confide in her more than he ever could in his yuppie kids and bookish colleagues. She finds in the privileged, overeducated septuagenarian her first playmate, the first person she can tease and trust.

Legend has it that love is blind. And lust is blind. Just sometimes, though, they are clairvoyant. They take the glaze from our eyes. They prompt us to look through the odd, unfamiliar exterior of our neighbors and detect a familiar soul, a soul with which, to our surprise, we can communicate. Indifference and industry have made more men blind than eros. If Cupid wears a blindfold now and then, Mammon wears a hood.

One of the least disputed objections to classroom erotics is that they constitute, in the words of harassment author Leslie Pickering Francis, a “distraction from teaching, learning, and research.” Nothing could be further from the truth. To say that chemistry between a student and a teacher distracts from learning is like saying that color distracts from seeing. It does not distract; it enlivens, enhances, intensifies: it fixes the gaze. It gives teeth to the eyes, a digestive tract to the brain.

I will go out on a limb and admit that if crushes between students and teachers could have been prevented when I was in college, I would never have made it through. The fact that I graduated summa cum laude is testimony to the number of crushes that sustained me, that kept me edgy, and eager, and engaged. At the beginnings of quarters I shopped around for teachers to have a crush on, and it was a sad term, a long term, when I found none. I tried. I fanned the flame of minor lights–knowing full well that if I could not generate at least a little heat my mind would freeze.

I do not advocate making a habit of sleeping with professors, but then I would not advocate making a habit of sleeping with plumbers, or realtors, or artists either. I do advocate the exception. If a professor and student fall in love mutually–and let us admit that there are more occasions for this to occur than exist for a professor and a plumber–then there should not be a law or code or set of mores to stop them from giving that love an opportunity to succeed. It may not: as the new campus moralists observe, “the vast majority of students who enter into affairs with their lecturers … do not subsequently report that they were glad to have had the experience. Quite the contrary.” Most relationships don’t succeed–most non-faculty-student relationships don’t succeed, if by success we mean that they go on forever. And when people come out of them, they unfortunately do not often “report that they were glad to have had the experience” either–at least not right afterward. Divorce courts are full of people who say the opposite. We do not, therefore, outlaw marriage.

I learned about more than Renaissance literature from the man I loved as a freshman. Contrary to popular opinion, the relationship did not reinforce my student sense of inferiority; it eliminated it. As much as I admired my teacher, I also found I could talk with him; I had something to offer him that had nothing to do with the old cliches of youth and beauty. Or if it had to do with them, then long live mixed motives, for they certainly were not the most important or lasting cause of our understanding–an understanding that has grown over the last decade and sparked a vivid and voluble literary correspondence. The relationship enfranchised me intellectually; it gave me a voice, and faith in it. And it did this even though, at the outset, it also drew me into the goofiest excesses of adolescent adoration. It drew me to abandon my slot at a top university in order to trek across the country to an obscure one, at which my teaching assistant had just accepted his first professorship. It prompted me to fake an interest in that school’s religious affiliations while working a job as a live lingerie model in a shady local bar to pay my increased private-school dues. It also led me to flee the lightest coffee invitation from my idol. It was not until I returned home (my funds ran out; my talents as a model were limited) that our conversations really began. But even this–the experience of following my heart, however on the surface, vainly–was good for me. It made the love poems I was reading real, immediate, and practical. It was the laboratory component of the Amorous Theory I was assimilating.

All is fair in love and war; people must take their chances, and students are no exception. University students are not children, and women are not children, though to hear harassment officers talk one would think so. They are also not desireless deadwood; they do not drift about aimlessly until angled by a “Lecherous Professor.” They are perfectly capable of finding a professor themselves and seducing him–in fact, I would guess, on the basis of admittedly anecdotal evidence, that this happens far more frequently than the reverse.

Harassment specialists seem unable to believe that female students have the desire or enterprise of an Alcibiades. They do. And the position that they do not–albeit held, as it often is, by bedrock feminists–seems strangely sexist. Why should Greek men have initiative and eros, and American women none? Why should contemporary coeds emerge from a romantic encounter with a teacher–even, as a textbook on the subject tells us, “the most `consensual’ appearing”–with “devastation … real and intense” and “self-esteem” so shattered it demands “years of therapy and reconstructing,” when nobody thinks for one moment that young men like Alcibiades or Agathon sustain incurable wounds? It is only women’s experience that is assumed to be traumatic beyond comprehension or repair. It is only women who are taken to be as frail and faltering as they are devoid of lust and luster. Sexism can be paternalistic as well as aggressive (historically, it more often was), and this is sexism writ large, no matter who’s spreading it.

And it is bad for pedagogy. It’s one thing to disarm a certain type of old-school professor who thought that his students’ bodies (as well as their research and briefcase-toting services) were his birthright. It’s one thing to discourage gross sexist speech and to counsel caution in the initiation of student-teacher relationships. But it is another to stamp out playful and affectionate discourse just because it carries a sexual innuendo and may even, on occasion, make us “uncomfortable.” It is quite another, also, to try to ban professor-student relationships altogether. Knowledge is unremittingly personal: the best students fall in love with teachers; the most engaged teachers respond strongly–and variously–to students. The campus on which the chance of sexual harassment–of sexual “impropriety” between teachers and students–is eliminated is the campus on which pedagogy is eviscerated. It is the campus on which pedagogy is dead.

It is a part of our safety-obsessed culture that we try. In a country where we give children crash helmets with their tricycles (and kneepads with their strollers), perhaps it is no wonder that we give them The Lecherous Professor with their college admissions. Perhaps it is no surprise that we lament, with Leslie Pickering Francis, the possibility that they may not prove “rational consumers of romantic relationships in the way they might be rational consumers of products”; and that we consequently forbid them any romance with a teacher in which they are, to quote David Archard, another expert, “unlikely to be able to determine, for instance, how long it lasts”–as though one were ever able to “determine” how long a relationship lasts; as though lovers were supposed to be “rational consumers.” Love is not commerce; a relationship is not a safety-tested Tonka toy–and any attempt to make it such is bound to be catastrophic. It leads, among other things, to the bizarre situation of our contemporary American society, in which we are in principle forbidden to have relationships not merely with our students (if we are teachers) and our teachers (if we are students) but also with our doctors, lawyers, counselors, therapists, deans, co-workers, clients, employees, or employers–virtually anyone, in fact, with whom we might come into natural contact in the course of everyday life. The result? We find ourselves driven in numbers to dating services and singles clubs, where we spend large amounts of money to meet normal people in abnormal and usually highly stressful contexts. We join volunteer organizations that feel like meat markets, as a majority of members look out more vigilantly for the available bachelor than for the nominal cause of the day. Artificial contexts provoke artificial behavior: we make ill-informed and hasty choices–dating, after all, is such a chore this way–and end up in marriages from which we soon ache to escape. If this is an overstatement, it is less of one than those we hear regularly from the sexual-harassment police.

Should we have forbidden Camille Claudel and Rodin? Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger? Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud? Allan Bloom and his student lovers? Professor bell hooks and her student boyfriend? Heloise and Abelard? To be sure, not one of these relationships, each initially pedagogic, was perfect (which is?), but all were spectacularly productive, revelatory, heated, and formative for both parties–in several cases, formative for Western culture and philosophy. The most beautiful and authentic and complex love poems I know were written by a teacher to his student. They were written by John Donne, in the early seventeenth century, to his employer’s niece, with whom he eloped, and for whom he suffered loss of reputation, money, and career for the next quarter century. Not long after Donne penned these poems, John Milton–whose marriage sustained no similar power differential–drafted “The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce.”

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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 dankprofessorTM
© Copyright 2008

January 16, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, feminism, fraternization, higher education, love, secrecy, sex, sexual harassment, sexual policing, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating | 55 Comments

The official Ohio State University policy on student professor consensual sexual relationships

After a 1 1/2 years of  consideration, evaluation and debate the OSU issued its formal policy on consensual sexual relationships between students and professors on July 1, 2006; the policy can be viewed here.  And a myriad of OSU documents relating to the process leading to adoption can be viewed here.

What ended up in the final policy was essentially proposed in the Work Group Report.  And it appears that the Work Group report was not criticized by anyone or any entity associated with OSU.  The dankprofessor believes that it has been only on the dankprofessor blog that the work of the Work Group has ever been directly criticized.  The reality was that the work of the Work Group was accepted as the final word.  A lot of huffing and puffing occurred when the Task Force released its report to the OSU community, and the changes that did occur were not ultimately of a substantive nature.  And last but not least the consensual policy became a subpart of  the sexual harassment policy of  Ohio State University.  

So now in 2008, faculty and students entering OSU can internalize the OSU sexual norms in a bureaucratized and dehumanized framework. No romance; no passion; no love.  If there be passion, love and romance between a student and a professor, it must be a secret love.  And as I am sure we all know, love will survive and is surviving at OSU.  Such came to be at OSU and so many other universities by the usage of fear tactics, fear tactics that included  farcical beliefs that the permitting of student professor sexual relationships has in some way undermined the quality of academic life.  The quality of academic life was never undermined by allowing for student professor sexual relationships at OSU or any other university.  What has been  diminished is the quality of life since freedom and consent and choice have been diminished and authoritarian thinking has formally replaced independent thinking, and an authoritarian  institutional bureaucratic “ethic” has replaced a personal ethical engagement.

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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 dankprofessorTM
© Copyright 2008

January 9, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, fraternization, higher education, Ohio State University, secrecy, sexual policing, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating | 2 Comments

The Final Chapter: The dissection of the Ohio State University Task Force Report

The Dankprofessor will continue to plow thru the OSU Task Force on Consensual Relationships; it is important for persons interested in determining how a university arrives at a point in time at which a formal prohibition on student professor consensual relationships is adopted.  For the prior post on OSU and relevant documents click hereFollowing is a section of the Task Force Report that merits our attention.
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“The Task Force was apprised of the variety of harms caused by sexual relationships between faculty and students. Apparently, a familiar pattern involves a faculty member who initiates a sexual relationship with a student, often a student in the same department with whom the faculty member frequently interacts. Initially, the student may be flattered by the attention and may give little thought to the power dynamics in the relationship. When the relationship ends or turns sour, however, the effect on the student changes sharply: the student then experiences hurt, guilt, shame and a lack of connection with her peers as a result of the relationship and worries about the effect of the relationship on her career, particularly if she feels that the faculty member is in a position to influence her future. The Task Force heard reports of faculty members who were known to have had multiple relationships with students, suggesting a propensity to misuse their power as professors.”
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     Note the overt dehumanizing rhetoric employed in this excerpt.  Now we have THE student and THE faculty member presented in completely homogenous terms.  Such is illustrative of the I-it I-thou framework put forth by Martin Buber.  Here, we only have the I-it.  In such a depersonalized world there is only THE student, The professor, THE homosexual, THE Jew.  Once one knows who is who then one
knows the script and therefore without any personal knowledge of any particular student or any particular professor, one already knows how THE student and THE professor will act; what will happen to them once they cross into the forbidden territory of sexuality.  In this fiction as presented by the Task Force, “the student then experiences hurt, guilt and shame…”; no ifs here; such is Her fate.  And what happens to the faculty member? What about “his” experiencing hurt, guilt and shame?  Nothing here; absolutely nothing.  Haven’t we all heard this sort of muckraking?  Didn’t we hear it as children from parents warning us about sex or homosexuality or dating interracially or …?  Do we not know what this sort of rhetoric is all about, that this is about fear and possibly hysteria and ultimately obedience?  In the dankprofessor’s opinion, persons who engage in such rhetoric would be likely candidates for speech writers in the Bush administration.  However, it is hard for me to accept that engaging in this rhetoric  is compatible with being an academic.  What a sorrowful state we are in!
   Unfortunately, there is more from the Task Force illustrating academia’s sorrowful state
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“The Task Force also discussed the third-party and reputational effects of faculty/student consensual relationships. We were told of a notorious case in which the fallout from a sexual relationship in the department caused the student in the relationship and other graduate students in the department to seek counseling and to consider transferring to other universities to complete their degrees. Persons in the department expressed their belief that the reputation of the department suffered as a result.”

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Is this what it boils down to, reputational effects?  Since something supposedly hurts the reputation of some persons or some entity then the liberty to fraternize is suspended.  Reputations of departments vary from department to department and in the same department over time.  Selecting out student and professors in a sexual relationship who generally just want to be left alone for responsibility for the “reputational” effects is just other worldly!  In any case, the extreme effects of the particular case highlighted by the Task Force may just be academic gossip.  And if the case was so notorious, why didn’t the Task Force specifically name names?

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 And the Task Force continues-

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Regardless of the scope of any new rule, Task Force members were strongly of the view that little would change if the new policy did not have “teeth” or if persons were unaware of the restrictions. To be effective, there must be a duty placed on the faculty member to disclose the existence of any sexual relationship with a student – current or in the past – and to cooperate in making alternative arrangements for the supervision, teaching, grading, advising, counseling or other responsibility relating to the student. Additionally, any supervisor notified of such a relationship or who becomes aware of such a relationship should have a duty to take immediate action to provide an acceptable alternative arrangement. The Task Force was mindful of the potential hazards with requiring disclosure, particularly in cases of same-sex relationships or other socially disapproved relationships. For this reason, the supervisor should take all feasible steps to maintain the confidentiality of such information. Finally, to insure against multiple offenders escaping notice, any action taken in response to a report of a consensual sexual relationship or alternative arrangements made as a result should be reported to Human Resources. The Task Force agreed that policy and procedure for regulating consensual sexual relationships should remain as part of the University’s policy against sexual harassment.”

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 So the Task Force wants to give this policy “teeth”.   And what better way to give it teeth than to bring third parties into the scenarios; informers in the genre of the Linda Tripps; informers who really care about the Monica Lewinskys of the world and have no agenda, emotional or otherwise, concerning presidents and professors of the world.  And in this world of third party informants, the good administrator (police) will take immediate action to correct the so-called problem, no need for for acting in a slow and cautious manner.  Here academic justice and sidewalk justice become one. 

And in a true Orwellian fashion the Task Force urges supervisors to maintain confidentiality of all information.  But if confidentiality mattered, if the privacy of the couple mattered, if one granted even minimal rights to those in the closet, then there would no third party informants.  The truth is as the Task Force apparently does not know that once the couple is compromised there is no confidentiality; confidentiality is history.  The Task Force is engaging in delusional thinking unless what they meant by confidentiality is secrecy and therefore the ability of the so- called supervisors to act knowing that their acts will not be in public view.  So the administrators are given their secrecy and the involved students and professors are stripped of their secrecy.  No sexcrecy(my word); no secret love.  Fortunately there were some OSU professors who saw thru this game at an OSU forum on the Task Force report.  The campus newspaper, The Lantern, reported-

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“Faculty at the meeting voiced concerns on the notification clause in the policy change. Originally, the revised policy required that human resources be notified if a faculty member entered into any consensual relationship with a student, even in cases where the faculty member was not in a supervisory position. Some faculty were concerned with this central reporting mechanism and with the creation of records of the relationships within human resources. In response to these concerns, human resources has revised the policy to require faculty to report the relationships only to their department chairs. No notification of human resources is required and no central records will be kept.With the adoption of the anonymous reporting line on March 1, T.K. Daniels, chair of the faculty council of the University Senate, expressed concerns that third-party reporting would be encouraged in instances of consensual relationships between faculty and students.”It’s a romantic police state,” Daniels said. “It’s even more so a police state because it can be reported anonymously.”Lewellen said the policy needs to be revised to discourage third-party reporting and that he believes this is a matter of professional ethics.”

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 We shall see whether  third party reporting was modified when we look at the policy as adopted.   But suffice to state at this point that Professor Daniels understands what it takes to create an effective police state, it takes informers and more informers, and it takes the true believing ideologues to help the informers rationalize that they are doing the right thing.

  Of course, the Task Force recommended that there be a prohibition on faculty student professor relationships.  We will terminate this post with their summary of their recommendations.

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“In summary, the Task Force recommends:

(1) That the OSU policy be revised to prohibit consensual sexual relationships between faculty and students or between university employees and students, whenever the faculty member or employee has supervisory, teaching, evaluation, advisory, coaching or counseling responsibilities for the student or would otherwise be likely to be asked to take on such a role in the future.

(a) That OSU implement the consensual relationship policy to impose a duty on faculty and staff to report and disclose any sexual relationship with a student encompassed within (1) above, either to their supervisor or to Human Resources and to cooperate in making acceptable alternative arrangements. The policy should also impose a duty on supervisors to notify Human Resources of any such relationships reported to them or that come to their knowledge and to take immediate steps to provide acceptable alternative arrangements.

(b) That the OSU consensual relationship policy contain a clear statement that disciplinary action will be taken against faculty or staff who violate the policy, either by entering into or engaging in a sexual relationship with a student encompassed with (1) above, or by failing to report such relationship or cooperate in making alternative arrangements.”

—–
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 2008

 

January 5, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, fraternization, higher education, Ohio State University, secrecy, sexual policing, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Ohio State University Melodrama Continues; Task Force Examining Consensual Relationships

   Once the Ohio State University Work Group completed its report and recommendations, the report was then  forwarded to the OSU Task Force Examining the Policy on Consensual Relationships.  The Task Force issued its report on July 11, 2005 and it was then forwarded to the OSU Academic Senate.  A complete copy of the Task Force report along with the Work Group report can be reviewed by clicking here.
   From the get go the Task Force makes it clear that the report of the Work Group was of critical import to the Task Force:  “Because of the high quality and comprehensiveness of the Work Group report, the Task Force has used it as a foundation for our deliberations.”  Given the specifics of the Work Group’s report, it becomes quite damning that the Task Force accepts this report with absolutely no critical evaluation.  It is therefore not surprising that the Task Force relied on persons who were remarkably similar in background to the members of the Work Group: “We particularly benefited from the expertise of six individuals, including four Task Force members, who reported to our Task Force on their professional experience dealing with OSU students. They were: (1) Deborah Schipper and (2) Rebecca Gurney from the Rape Education & Prevention Program (3) Karen Kyle from the Student Advocacy Office (4) Eunice Hornsby from Human Resources (5) Karen Taylor from Counseling and Consultation Service.”  
   It also should not be very surprising that the Task Force report was to a significant degree just a rehashing of the Work Group report.  Such is indicated by what the Task Force attempted to pass off as data which was used as a basis for their conclusions: “Those persons who supplied information to the Task Force indicated that serious problems relating to faculty/student consensual relationships had come to their attention in the last few years. The number of reported cases clearly seems to have risen, with one respondent indicating that her office received 7 such complaints in one year, involving 7 different departments on campus. Although there is no reliable way to determine the precise incidence of such relationships – now or in the past – we heard reports that consensual sexual relationships were regarded as “not an unusual event.”…All the cases described involved male faculty and female students. For that reason, this report uses the masculine pronoun when referring to faculty or staff and the feminine pronoun when referring to students.”
   The abysmal lack of data did not escape the notice of some OSU faculty at a meeting of the OSU Academic Senate: ” Dr. Carl Allen, an OSU dental professor, said the report is outdated, unscientific and that there’s no evidence to indicate more stringent rules would make a difference. “It’s embarrassing that we don’t have statistics,” he said. “The proper response would be: ‘Let’s find out what the extent of the problem is and let’s educate people about this.’ ” Physics professor Gordon Aubrecht said a prohibition “smacks of a police state.” (Quoted from “Ohio state professors bristle at proposed ban”, COLUMBUS DISPATCH, February 6, 2006.)
   Yes it is embarrassing, but it is something more, I would call it outrageous.  Outrageous that a university would seriously consider suspending basic rights of both students and faculty based solely on anecdotal reports which were anonymous and unverifiable.  I would go one step further and state that those reporting these anecdotes had an axe to grind, a personal investment in the issue, and that just about everyone involved in this situation knew that such was the case.  But so what, as Gordon Albrecht states, this “smacks of a police state”.  
   And at this Academic Senate meeting all Senate members, except for Task Force Group members, opposed the prohibition policy.  But given this opposition, the police mentality immediately came to the forefront  when grad student Inna Caron asked the group, “Why do you have a problem with this being prohibited?  Do you want to reserve the opportunity to do this?”  Then as reported, Caron “…pointed out that everyone who spoke out against the prohibition was male”.(Quoted from Columbus Dispatch article.)
   There we have it.  Speak out against the proposed prohibition, and the motive mongers come into play and the dissenters are discarded since they are all males.  Identity politics at its worse.  University life at its worse.  But the reality is that few are outraged, it’s just business as usual.
TO BE CONTINUED
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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 2008

 

January 4, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, fraternization, higher education, Ohio State University, sexual policing, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Back to Ohio State University

   The dankprofessor has put off dealing with the second part of the report of the OSU Work Group on consensual student professor sexual relationships.  Well, now that we are into a New Year I will deal with the last part of the report.  And, there is really not very much to deal with; the core of their argument has already been presented.  In much of the second part of the report, the writers survey the relevant policies of other professions and conclude that universities which do not regulate student professor consensual relationships are professionally out of step.  They conclude their argument in the following terms-
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The professional relationships described above are primarily one-on-one relationships, rather than with groups such as classes of students. However, many would argue that students stand in much the same relationship to their professors as do clients/patients to their lawyers, doctors, and therapists. Graduate and professional students, in particular, frequently work one-on-one with their professors, and undergraduate students have ample opportunities for one-on-one relationships. More importantly, students are in the same vulnerable position with their professors and staff as are clients and patients with other professionals, and hence students are equally subject to unfair exploitation.2″
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   So boiling down their argument, it becomes that students and professors are pretty similar to the situation of patients and doctors.  My argument with this comparison is that it is patently absurd.  Easy for us to evaluate in the context of our personal experience.  I will frame the situation in terms of a few questions- How similar are your feelings of going into a medical office or a hospital to that of going into a class or going into a university?  Do you see your identity as a student to be quite similar to your identity as a patient?  For you, is university life and hospital life pretty much the same?  Do you hang out by the doctors office?  Do you socialize and dine with other patients?  Do you work with your doctor on evaluating patients or doing medical research?  Do you see yourself as part of a medical community?  Do medical doctors you know have social gatherings consisting primarily of their patients? 
   I could go on and on with these sorts of questions, and I think it is clear that the hospital and medical and therapy worlds are of a different genre from that of the university.  University life simply cannot be subsumed into some sort of homogeneous professional category; university life is in a category by itself.  And it is a shame that all too many persons such as the members of this Work Group want to take that uniqueness away.  Such is consistent with the agenda of some banning advocates with their goal of transforming the university place into just another workplace or corporate place.  God forbid that people will ever view hospital campuses as essentially interchangeable with university campuses.  In the dankprofessor’s opinion, it is hospitals that are anchored into medical schools and into university campuses that makes these hospitals more hospitable, more open places to be.  And, in addition, it needs to be pointed out that the hospitals that are teaching hospitals do not have bans on medical doctor/teacher and student relationships.  Somehow the OSU Working Group overlooked this point and it comes down to this- that in the medical university world students are not equated with patients and med students dating medical professors is viewed as not being subject to regulation.
   Then the Work Group concludes-
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“The costs to the university are clear. Permitting consensual sexual relations between faculty and students threatens our ability to create and sustain the climate that both the Academic Plan and the Diversity Action Plan view as essential if Ohio State is to attain status as one of the great public research and teaching universities.”
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   The conclusion is simply one of hyperbole and absurdity.  Can anyone free of a blinding ideology conclude that a university’s greatness can be undermined by students and professors being permitted to date?  Certainly such a freedom did not prevent the members of the Work Group from becoming employees at OSU.  If the Work Group is to be taken seriously, maybe their project is to escape from feelings of mediocrity and then once this policy is passed they would then be propelled into limelight of a great university.
   The Work Group then concludes its report with the following recommendations-
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       “1. 1 The President should appoint a committee with the charge of examining the current consensual sexual relation policy to determine if the policy should be revised.

    1. 2. In addition to any issues the committee determines need to be examined, the following issues should be considered:

      1. a. What should be the standard governing consensual sexual relations between faculty and students?

      2. i. Retain the current strongly discourage standard.

      3. ii. Prohibit such relationships when the faculty member has some professional responsibility for the student and strongly discourage such relationships with other students (following Iowa, Indiana, and Arizona).

      4. iii. Prohibit such relationships with all students even when the faculty member has no professional responsibility.

      5. a. Undergraduate only.

      6. b. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional.

      7. b. Prohibitions regarding minors-clarify that this is illegal

      8. c. Regardless of the standard that is adopted, should faculty be required to report to their supervisors or other university officials (and should it be reported in writing) consensual sexual relationships with students?

      9. i. Privacy concerns, particularly with respect to same-sex relationships.

      10. d. Should the same rule be applied to staff who supervise students?

      11. e. Should the consensual sexual relationship policy be separate from the sexual harassment policy?

      12. f. What are the sanctions for violating whatever policy is adopted?

      13. g. Should students involved in these relationships be subject to sanctions?

    2. 3. The make up of the committee should include the following:

      1. a. Appointees from the following University Senate committees: Steering, Council on Academic Freedom & Responsibility, Council on Student Affairs, Diversity Committee,

      2. b. At least one faculty member with expertise on student development,

      3. c. Representatives from the AAUP, the President’s Council on Women, Office of Human Resources, Rape Education and Prevention Program, Counseling and Consultation Service, the Student Advocacy Center, and

      4. d. Three students – graduate, professional, and undergraduate.

    1. 4. The committee should conclude its work by submitting its written recommendations to the president by June, 2005.

Report to The President’s Council on Women From the Work Group Examining the University’s Policy on Consensual Sexual Relations Between Faculty and Students The Ohio State University, 1/2005 17″———————————————————————————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 2008

January 2, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, fraternization, higher education, Ohio State University, sexual policing, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Some notes on power and secrecy

The notion that differential power precludes consent has been a core concept in the movement to ban student professor consensual relationships.  In essence, differential power precludes consent has framed the issue.  Such a framing communicates that the banning movement is about decreasing power over others so that people can freely consent to whatever.  Or, in other terms, equality replaces differential power and obtaining the goal of equality is a worthy goal.  The problem is that the banning movement does not abolish or minimize power; the movement does not replace differential power with equality.  Differential power is in effect affirmed by providing institutional power to university administrators to regulate the private sexual lives of both students and professors.  So-called consensual policies are about the legitimization of  the power exerted by administrators to coerce professors and students to follow a mandated sexual script.  And it generally disempowers students more than professors since these policies often mandate that the professor report oneself and the involved student to university authorities.  Note that the student has no part to play in this scenario.  The enforcing administrators do not give any option to a student to report or not to report; consent in this context is considered to be irrelevant.
   Unfortunately, nothing is new here.  Power is taken away and given to powerful others so they can work their will on others.  No one gains any power except those at the top of the hierarchy.  If the power game is successful, then enforcement becomes a police function.  Such is true for the current Bush administration that in the name of protection and security trashes just about all constitutional protections, and attempts to conduct its police function in secret.  The Bush people have learned from the prior Nixon administration not to leave around any damning tapes.  The challenge is always the same for those seeking the truth and this is the piercing of the veil of secrecy.  And secrecy in the university world under the guise of “personnel matters” is extremely difficult to pierce.  In this area of student professor
consensual relationships policy and its enforcement, such will continue to prevail as long as secrecy prevails. Just as  was the case for gays in the the U.S., no significant change occurred until the closet was broken down, and in time with many gays out of the closet, the dominant society gave little deference to those who argued that they were offended by those who “flaunted” their gayness, and argued that such acceptance represented the end of Western civilization.  Such arguments no longer flourish unhindered  but in the university world they are applied to student professor relationships and flourish unhindered.
  The love that dare not speaks its name will remain ensconced in university land until…
 —–
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 2008

January 1, 2008 Posted by | coercing women, consensual relationships, fraternization, higher education, homosexual, secrecy, sexual policing, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating, the closet | Leave a comment

   

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