Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

The feminist and rapist rhetoric of hate

The dankprofessor has previously pointed out that the response to the Heather Mac Donald LA Times article on on the campus rape crisis myth has too often been characterized by dehumanizing and degrading and angry rhetoric directed toward Heather Mac Donald and her defenders. I was subject to the super asshole label on the Astraea’s Scales blog. Ms. Scales and the dankprofessor did have an exchange on her comment section. The exchange follows.

The dankprofessor stated-

What the dankprofessor finds ironic is that the writer of this post has an attitudinal framework which is similar to the psychological framework of many rapists. Rapists attempt to psychologically degrade their victims. If such degradation is successful, the rapist ends up creating victims in their own image- victims who feel angry, hurt, powerless, guilty, fearful and vengeful. Such is often called passing the sting.

It is no easy task to transcend this vicious cycle of degradation. If victims are to get beyond their victimage, such is more likely to occur in a situation of empathy, and empowerment, not one characterized by anger and hostility.

Another rapist dynamic is impersonality and dehumanization. For rapists, their victims are faceless; they use their victims for their own psychological gratifications; any personal knowledge of the victims is irrelevant. A victim is just another asshole. And for the writer of this Astraea’s Scales blog, there is no need to know the dankprofessor; I am faceless, just another asshole; just another rape enabler.

I suggest that the writer of the Scales blog consider the possibility that her rhetoric is a rhetoric of rape.

Astraea’s responds-

I think the fact that the dankprofessor compares a feminist woman to a rapist while criticizing MY lack of reasoned debate speaks volumes.

The dankprofessor responds-

I did not compare you to a rapist; I indicated that you engage in a rape rhetoric. Rapists engage in degrading and demeaning words and deeds. In their rape mentality, their victims are dehumanized and faceless. For them women simply exist as things to be used for their gratification. And, as I stated previously, the effect of the rape on their victims often leads to creating victims who reflect the the rapist mentality- anger, fear, powerlessness.

The fact that you simply made short shrift of my previous comment either means that you know little or nothing about rape and its effects or you are in denial about said effects.

The fact that you wrap yourself in a feminist label is irrelevant. Don’t fret about labels, fret about being open to the truth.

The dankprofessor also wishes to indicate that I do not see these posts on the response to the Heather Mac Donald piece to be unrelated to the focus of the dankprofessor blog- the campus repression of student professor consenting sexual relationships. Such repression is often advocated by those wrapping themselves in a feminist garb and using the most degrading and angry rhetoric directed at their opponents. It is the same rhetoric and garb that is used in this campus rape imbroglio. It is something more than righteous indignation; it is righteous hatred.

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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

February 29, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, feminism, Heather Mac Donald, higher education, rape, sexual politics | 1 Comment

A “feminist” rape rhetoric

The intemperate attack on Heather Mac Donald for her LA Times and City Journal articles on the campus rape crisis myth continues unabated. Typical characterizations of Heather MacDonald and/or her writings have been stupid, disgusting and “asshole”. Now the dankprofessor has become the subject of this tirade. Such is indicated in the following posting from the Astraea’s Scales blog.

The disgusting editorial by Heather Mac Donald in the LA Times has been making the rounds and is being used by rape apologists already. All the more reason to write the LA Times and tell them how irresponsible it was to give a rape apologist so much space in a major newspaper.

Some examples (not linking, you can see for yourself and challenge them if you’re braver than I):

Asshole Michael of 2blowhards.com uses it to justify his anti-feminism in a January 26th post:

It’s funny, isn’t it, the way some people claim that Political Correctness (or Sexual Correctness) never existed, isn’t it? Of course it did. I’m reminded of the way some people, when thinking back to (or remembering) ’70s-style feminism, say, “Oh, it wasn’t so bad.” Sure it was.

And super asshole dankprofessor at dankprofessor.wordpress.com twists it around to a rather creepy personal issue in a Feburary 25th post:

Ignoring of women’s own interpretations of their experience sounds quite familiar to the dankprofessor. Such is familiar since in the feminist framework regarding student professor sexual relationships, the student is never able to consent since the feminist axiom is that differential power precludes consent. In this framework students are never asked if they consented. Their interpretations are of no import unless they reflect a feminist orthodoxy. Female students who protest that they did consent are simply ignored.

The campus rape myth and the predator professor/female student myth come from the same source – anti-sexual campus feminists.
This is exactly why giving legitimacy to people like Heather Mac Donald – who works for a conservative think tank and has no previous experience with sexual assault or rape issues – is so dangerous. It reinforces widespread misconceptions about rape and gives rape apologists ammunition.

So such is the manner in which too many campus feminists deal with their critics, name-calling and degradation. No place for reasoned debate here.

What the dankprofessor finds ironic is that the writer of this post has an attitudinal framework which is similar to the psychological framework of many rapists. Rapists attempt to psychologically degrade their victims. If such degradation is successful, the rapist ends up creating victims in their own image- victims who feel angry, hurt, powerless, guilty*, fearful and vengeful. Such is often called passing the sting.

It is no easy task to transcend this vicious cycle of degradation. If victims are to get beyond their victimage, such is more likely to occur in a situation of empathy, and empowerment, not one characterized by anger and hostility.

Another rapist dynamic is impersonality and dehumanization. For rapists, their victims are faceless; they use their victims for their own psychological gratifications; any personal knowledge of the victims is irrelevant. A victim is just another asshole. And for the writer of this Astraea’s Scales blog, there is no need to know the dankprofessor; I am faceless, just another asshole; just another rape enabler.

I suggest that the writer of the Scales blog consider the possibility that her rhetoric is a rhetoric of rape.

*I want to make it clear that I am not indicating that rape victims have anything to feel guilty about. Survivor guilt is a common feeling of survivors of violence- whether the survivors be rape survivors, Holocaust survivors, military combat survivors, et. al.

—–
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

February 27, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, feminism, Heather Mac Donald, higher education, rape, sex offenders, sexual politics, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Victimization and the rape rhetoric

Heather Mac Donald has come under a scathing attack for her LA Times and City Journal piece on “the campus rape crisis myth”. I doubt that no response was more intemperate than the one which appeared on the LawandLetters blog entitled “Take Back the Rhetoric on Rape” by Belle Lettre.

Belle Lettre in the first sentence of her post sets the tone of what was to follow- “I do not believe in this stupid article by conservative Heather Mac Donald arguing that the statistics on campus rape are overblown.”

After this “informative” intro sentence, she states the following-

I do share in the views of Tracy Clark-Flory, who disputes the main “arguments” made by Mac Donald, and attacking the main tenet of Mac Donald’s article: that girls are getting wasted and laid, not raped, and so it’s their own damn fault, and that sexual restraint is the problem!
Mac Donald explains that the statistic originated from a survey by Mary Koss, a University of Arizona professor of public health. It found that 15 percent of women had been raped, 12 percent had experienced an attempted rape; therefore 27 percent had either experienced a rape or attempted rape. Koss attempted to strip her questions of the word “rape,” so as to lessen the social stigma facing her respondents; she didn’t ask them whether they had been raped but whether they had experienced a range of incidents that are, by definition, rape. For instance, she asked: “Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?” Understandably enough, some have criticized her approach, noting that the question could be misinterpreted to mean, “Have you had sex under the influence and regretted it the next morning?”

But, these concerns have already been invalidated! In 1999, researchers set out to test whether Koss’ question was actually getting at the rape question. They asked: “Have you engaged in sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to but were so intoxicated under the influence of alcohol or drugs that you could not stop it orobject?” And, what do you know, this much more precise question yielded similar results; 17 percent of female students responded “yes.” Not to mention, these findings have been duplicated by a number of other studies — look here, here and here, just for starters.)

Mac Donald ignores these inconvenient facts and simply notes that subsequent studies show a “divergence between the victims’ and the researchers’ point of view.” Consistently, researchers are far more likely than the respondents themselves to define nonconsensual sex as rape. No! You mean there’s a widespread resistance among rape victims to labeling such a traumatic experience by its culturally loaded name? Next, Mac Donald will argue that a woman isn’t abused, isn’t a victim of domestic violence if she doesn’t personally choose that label — regardless of whether her experiences define her as such. (Apply that to any number of abuses, illnesses or crimes.)

It’s a pity Mac Donald went through all this trouble to explain why so many women are resistant to calling a forced, nonconsensual sex act “rape,” when researcher are not. She need only look at the prevalence of victim-blaming attitudes like her own.

And this, my friends, is why sociological studies that demonstrate empirically when and generate theories as to why victims report/underreport, leading to a study of victimology really matter.

The dankprofessor believes that neither Tracy Clark-Flory nor Ms. Lettre invalidate Heather Mac Donald’s basic thesis- “Believing in the campus rape epidemic, it turns out, requires ignoring women’s own interpretations of their experiences.”

It is axiomatic that in social science research that researchers do not obscure or attempt to invalidate the reality, the meanings, the interpretations of their research subjects. As a professional sociologist, I know that such is a cardinal rule for all social scientists, whether they be qualitative or statistically orientated. Of course, no such rule is relevant to the ideologically committed. No one who takes sociology seriously, and Ms. Lettres professes to take the discipline seriously, starts out by labeling the article one is critiquing as stupid.

The bottom line is that Lettre and Clark-Flory insist on labeling women as rape victims even when these women do not apply the label to themselves. In other words, they know these women better than the women know themselves. One of the worst forms of degradation is when persons simply ignore the reality of others, when the ideologically orthodox ignore the rights of others to identify themselves as they wish to be identified. Such in my opinion is a basic human right, the right to answer the question “Who Am I?” “How do I identify myself to myself?” Such is a basic right whether it be applied to religious identity or ethnic identity or political identity and even to the identity of rape victim.

Ms. Lettre and Clark-Flory may be doing good work in their attempt to help victims of rape which represents a crime of both sex and power. The irony is that they end up engaging in a form of power abuse when they attempt to apply a rape identity to those women who reject this identity.

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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

February 26, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, feminism, Heather Mac Donald, higher education, rape, sexual politics, sexual rights, victimization | 5 Comments

Fear of professors and fear of students

One of my greatest fears is that the campaign to prohibit student professor consensual sexual relationships would lead to an academic environment which would put a chill on student professor socializing and student professor friendships. The consensual relationship prohibition might function and I believe has functioned to create fear of professors by too many students and fear of students by too many professors. It has done so by the embracing of cartoon imageries, gross stereotypes, of the professor as lecher and the student as seducer or gradedigger. Embracing such imagery can lead to the destruction of any sense of community in academia. Such imageries function to facilitate a greater sense of impersonality on campus and create an atmosphere that is all too similar to public hospitals and DMVs. Indicative of this fear on campus is a recent comment the dankprofessor weblog has received in response to the February 14 post on “Female student speaks of her relationship with a professor”. This comment merits our attention-

Hello,
I just wanted to ask you if there is a proper way to address a male professor, as I am a female student? I was told the following by a male(neighbor)professor:
Most male professors have a sort of “good old boy” understanding regarding when female students address them outside of class or come for extra help.professors see them as predators. He also said that female students who need extra help etc. from their male professors are viewed as having “father issues” and/or are considered grade diggers.
I am a 30 something college student (senior) at a California State University. I have experienced great friendships with my professors during, as well as, after my course has finished. I never imagined that any of my professors saw me in this light, as I often address my male professors, as well as, seek out extra help. I have a 4.0 GPA and I did not earn this by avoiding any of my professor, male or female. His advice seems very harsh to me!
Could you shed any light on this topic? I have recently experienced some fear when approaching my current male professor as I have that negativity circulating in my mind. Am I just being gullible or naive? Could the professor have given erroneous advice?
I would love to have your thoughts on the subject. Thank you for the opportunity to present my question.
Kind Regards,

My response to her was in part as follows-

Your neighboring male professor has an extremely cynical and jaded view of the world, The overwhelming probability is that your male professors as well as your female professors view you in a very positive light, a 4.0 very highly motivated student. As a prof in the CSU system at Cal State Long Beach for 35 years, I can tell you that when a bright student visits a prof at the prof’s office for extra help to deal with the course material, such is valued. What profs don’t like are students coming to ones office to continually complain about their grade. Also, what profs don’t like is that so few students are interested in the course material, and never come to ones office. It is the indifference of students that both male and female profs dread.

For professors to reject socializing with students out of fear means that the prohibitionists have really won, that they are defining the campus climate, a very chilly climate that freezes out informal student professor socializing. Unfortunately, such is to be expected since when categorical intimacy bans come into being the social distancing between persons in different categories significantly increases. In Martin Buber’s terms, bans facilitate I-it relationships; to get to the I-thou, one must transcend the categorical boundaries, and friendship and love between members of different categories is always the enemy of those with an I-it framework. Or to put the I-it relationship in different terms- “everyone must know their place, and keep in place”. People who transcend taken for granted social and political boundaries, boundaries that are believed in with emotional fervor, are always considered THE ENEMY by the boundary believers.

—–
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

February 26, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, fraternization, higher education, sexual politics, student professor dating | Leave a comment

McCain privacy and beyond

Rev. Debra Haffner in the Huffington Post gets it right when when she writes:

In my more than 30 years of counseling and educating adults about their sexuality, I know that there are many ways that couples create contracts, explicit as well as unspoken, about their understanding of monogamy. Although in a given year, most married couples are monogamous, the life time incidence of extramarital sex, depending on the study, ranges from one quarter to 50 percent. I’m guessing a study of politicians — who almost by definition are charismatic and powerful and often away from their spouses, all factors in who have affairs — would find much higher rates.

The point is that these are intensely private issues that should be addressed in the privacy of their own marriages, not in national newspapers. I do not know if John and Cindy McCain had an agreement that allows for outside romance under certain circumstances, but I do know that’s not my business. And I for sure know that these issues don’t belong on our front pages, when we should be debating the moral issues of the economy, the budget, and the war.

Of course, such privacy should extend to all sexual relationships, pre-marital, marital, extra-marital and post-marital. And it is the dankprofessor’s argument, which I have made throughout this blog, that said privacy should extend to sexual relationships between professors and students and even to sexual relationships between professors and administrators!

Haffner goes on to state-

Of course, I want to know about the candidates’ character, values, and positions. I want to know if any of them are or have taken money illegally or allowed their personal relationships, whether familial, romantic, or friendship, to cause them to make improper decisions.

Bravo. Such a basic and simple point. I would be so thrilled if such was applied to university life.

—–
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

February 25, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, higher education, Senator McCain, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating | Leave a comment

Campus sexual myths- rape and consensual relationships

Heather Mac Donald reports in the LA Times as well as in the City Journal that a central claim of campus sexual-assault organizations that between a fifth and a quarter of all college women will be raped or will be the targets of attempted rape by the end of their college years is a myth.

If the one-in-four statistic is correct, campus rape represents a crime wave of unprecedented proportions. No felony, much less one as serious as rape, has a victimization rate remotely approaching 20% or 25%, even over many years. The 2006 violent crime rate in Detroit, one of the most violent cities in the U.S., was 2,400 murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults per 100,000 inhabitants — a rate of 2.4%.

Such a crime wave — in which millions of young women would graduate having suffered the most terrifying assault, short of murder, that a woman can experience — would require nothing less than a state of emergency. Admissions policies, which if the numbers are true are allowing in tens of thousands of vicious criminals, would require a complete revision, perhaps banning male students entirely. The nation’s nearly 10 million female undergraduates would need to take the most stringent safety precautions.

None of this crisis response occurs, of course — because the crisis doesn’t exist.

Of course, then the question becomes where did the 20 to 25% statistic come from. Mac Donald found the source of this statistic originated in the 1980s from University of Arizona Health Professor Mary Koss who did not ask female respondents if they had been raped.

Rather than asking female students about rape per se, Koss asked them if they had ever experienced actions that she then classified as rape. One question, for example, asked, “Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?” — a question that is ambiguous on several fronts, including the woman’s degree of incapacitation, the causal relation between being given a drink and having sexual intercourse, and the man’s intentions. Koss’ method produced the 25% rate, which Ms. then published.

It was a flawed study on a number of levels, but the most powerful refutation came from her own subjects: 73% of the women whom the study characterized as rape victims told the researchers that they hadn’t been raped. Further, 42% of the study’s supposed victims said they had had intercourse again with their alleged assailants — though it is highly unlikely that a raped woman would have sex again with the fiend who attacked her.

A 2006 survey of sorority women at the University of Virginia, for example, found that only 23% of the subjects whom the survey characterized as rape victims felt that they had been raped — a result that the university’s director of sexual and domestic violence services calls “discouraging.” Equally damning was a 2000 campus rape study conducted under the aegis of the Department of Justice. Sixty-five percent of those whom the researchers called “completed rape” victims and three-quarters of “attempted rape” victims said that they did not think that their experiences were “serious enough to report.”

Believing in the campus rape epidemic, it turns out, requires ignoring women’s own interpretations of their experiences.

Ignoring of women’s own interpretations of their experience sounds quite familiar to the dankprofessor. Such is familiar since in the feminist framework regarding student professor sexual relationships, the student is never able to consent since the feminist axiom is that differential power precludes consent. In this framework students are never asked if they consented. Their interpretations are of no import unless they reflect a feminist orthodoxy. Female students who protest that they did consent are simply ignored.

The campus rape myth and the predator professor/female student myth come from the same source – anti-sexual campus feminists.

The outcome for those embracing the rape myth is to have campus facilities to counsel the huge numbers of female rape victims.

“Needless to say, those facilities don’t appear to get a tremendous amount of use. For example, Hillary Wing-Richards, the associate director of sexual-assault prevention at James Madison University, said the school’s campus rape “help line” gets a varying number of calls, some of which are “request-for-information calls” — where to go, who to talk to and the like.

“Some months there are 10 and others, one or two,” she said.

Referring to rape hotlines, risk management consultant Brett Sokolow laments: “The problem is, on so many of our campuses, very few people ever call. And mostly we’ve resigned ourselves to the underutilization of these resources.”

The outcome for those embracing the predator professor/female student victim framework is passage of campus regulations prohibiting such conduct even given that as the dankprofessor has pointed out there is often not one single offender or victim that these advocates can cite as indicating a need for these regulations. Such was most recently indicated in the dankprofessor blog as being applicable to Middlebury College which during the entirety of its 200 year history, there was no report of an “offending” student professor couple, but this has not deterred the advocates from going forward. Such was also the case at the University of California which in order to adopt a prohibition, the campus advocates chose to employ the case of a UC law dean who had “sexually assaulted” a female law student who he had only known for a couple of hours.

The reality for student professor consensual relationships is that hardly anyone ever complains as is to be expected since the relationships are consensual. If there are complaints, they are most likely to come from third party informants. Or the complaints may come from a person who was once party to a consensual relationship, but that relationship ended and issues concerning sexual harassment now become germane. Of course, the irony is that prior to the consensual prohibition there were the applicable sexual harassment rules.

Heather Mac Donald continues:

Federal law requires colleges to publish reported crimes affecting their students. The numbers of reported sexual assaults — the law does not require their confirmation — usually run under half a dozen a year on private campuses, and maybe two to three times that at large public universities.

However in the case of student professor relationship violations, there is no Federal law requiring report. Try getting statistics on consensual student professor prohibition violations from university authorities and you are likely to be stonewalled or if not stonewalled, you won’t get more than a couple of cases per year. In fact, the dankprofesssor challenges blog readers to come up with university statistics on student professor relationships violations.

—–
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

February 25, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, feminism, Heather Mac Donald, higher education, rape, sex, sexual harassment, sexual politics, student professor dating | 2 Comments

Rhetoric escalates at Yale

The controversy at Yale continues unabated regarding a picture which depicted 12 students associated with the Zeta Psi fraternity holding a “Yale Sluts” sign in front of the Women’s Center and the wide circulation of this imagery among the student body. In response to this incident, the Women’s Center “presented the administration with the report ten days ago, calling for an overhaul of the University’s sexual-harassment and assault education policies, increased regulation of fraternities, disciplinary action against the Zeta Psi fraternity members and greater resources for the Center.”

In response to the Women Center, the Zeta Phi fraternity offered an apology, but the apology was rebuffed by the Center’s board, and the Center’s Board indicated that they will continue “their ongoing quest to end the “fraternity-sponsored or enabled sexual harassment, assault and rape” that they say they have observed on campus.”

But some members of the Yale community disagreed with the rape characterization-

“[Rape] is an extremely strong word that can ruin a person’s life with a simple accusation, even if the person is completely innocent,” said one fraternity member who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter. “The idea that fraternities sponsor [sexual harassment, assault, or rape] is ridiculous. These women should be focusing on the real problems that face women, not just a tasteless picture with a tasteless phrase.”

Reflecting the sentiment of many of those interviewed, Anne Carney ’09 said she found the actions of Zeta Psi offensive. She said she believes “no one didn’t find it offensive.” And Rebecca Stern ’11 applauded the Center’s efforts, declaring that “something has to change.”

But some students, like Aneesh Raghunandan ’11, said the Center has gone too far, blowing the incident out of proportion and using it as a launching pad for pushing through its reform agenda.

Jon Charest ’10, president of Zeta Psi’s Yale chapter, wrote in an e-mail that there has still been no direct contact between the Center and Zeta Psi, but declined further comment.

The dankprofessor assumes that no direct contact means no direct communication. What we have is male fraternity members depicting female students as “Yale Sluts” in the front of the Women’s Center and the Women’s Center’s Board responding in kind labeling the fraternity as being rape enablers.

The dankprofessor adheres to the viewpoint that sexist rhetoric however misdirected does not reflect a fraternity sponsorship of rape. The rhetoric needs to be toned down. We saw the consequences of such rhetoric not being toned down at Duke; righteous indignation and accusations ran amok at Duke.

Is it pipedreaming to hope that Yale administrators would attempt to bring together fraternity members and Woman’s Center Board Members and facilitate some constructive face to face communication?

—–
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

February 18, 2008 Posted by | feminism, fraternities, rape, sexual harassment, Yale University | 1 Comment

Just words?

In my last post I quoted the following from ABC News as reported by Susan Donaldson James-“In 1989, Chicago lawyer Michelle Robinson was assigned the role of adviser to a summer associate from Harvard University her future husband and Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

According to an interview in the Illinois Journal Gazette and Times-Courier, she took the high road and refused to go out with Obama for a month.”

And, of course, the implication remains that Michelle took the low road when she went out with Barack.

Given the recent presidential campaign rhetoric, should one write this off as “just words”? I think not. ABC attributes the high road phrasing to the Illinois Journal Gazette and the Times-Courier. I could not find any such phrasing in the aforementioned publication. The high road phrasing was that of ABC News.

Implying that Michelle Obama took the low road when she decided to date Barack, is a journalistic low blow. What is clear is that the road taken by ABC in this news report was not the high road.

—–
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

February 18, 2008 Posted by | Barack Obama, consensual relationships, just words, Michelle Obama, sexual politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ABC Reports on Michelle and Barack and Student Professor Relationships

ABC News had a report on student professor relationships that was not all that bad. There were a few errors, once again the law dean at UC Berkeley was portrayed as having an affair with a law student; maybe I am out of touch but when someone says so and so had an affair the implication is that the “relationship” was more than just a few hours.

In any case, the catalyst for this ABC report was the revelation by Michelle Robinson, now Michelle Obama, had met Barack in the context of a formal power differentiated relationship. Here is how ABC News put it in the context of discussing student professor relationships-

“But not all such love affairs end in disaster. In 1989, Chicago lawyer Michelle Robinson was assigned the role of adviser to a summer associate from Harvard University, her future husband and Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama. According to an interview in the Illinois Journal Gazette and Times-Courier, she took the high road and refused to go out with Obama for a month.”

Is the ABC implication that Michelle took the low road when she decided to go out with him? If it was a low road, it turned out to be a pretty good road.

Might there be some campus feminists out there who wish to apply the feminist tenet that Barack could not have freely consented since differential power precludes consent and he was in the subordinate position? According to Michelle he did the asking. Attempting to apply the feminist perspective leads one into the absurd.

Of course, the Hillary Clinton campaign might have had an initial inclination to exploit this situation, but such could not occur without an immediate flashing back to Bill and Monica with Monica doing the initiating in her role of subordinate intern.  Employing the feminist doctrine, Monica could not consent because she was in the subordinate position.

The absurdity of the differential power precludes consent is so blatant but somehow so many academics accept it as axiomatic.

In addition, too may academics give lip service to the assumption that student professor relationships are doomed to a disastrous failure.

ABC did not accept this scenario and provided an example of a student view contrary to the cartoon stereotypes.

ABC interviewed Harvard student Aarti-

“Aarti, 22, who didn’t want her last name used, graduated from Harvard University last year. She told ABCNews.com that romances between professors and their students were “very, very prevalent” on her campus.
“For someone who loves learning, who is more appealing than the professor?” she asked.

She went on to state that “His vocabulary, which I have yet to see challenged, was a regular subject of discussion among the females,” “and for those females who didn’t feel this way at the beginning, well, they definitely changed by the end of the semester.”

One of her friends at Harvard dated her thesis adviser while he was teaching her class. That couple dated for a year.

“Frankly, I don’t think the romantic involvement itself is unethical, as long as the student is not receiving preferential treatment in any way,” she said. “Then, it is not just a private romantic endeavor, but rather a case of unfair treatment that essentially affects all the students in the class.”

Aarti said she would not pursue a teacher because of the double standard for women when it comes to sex.”

—–
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

February 15, 2008 Posted by | Barack Obama, consensual relationships, dating, ethics, feminism, fraternization, higher education, Michelle Obama, sexual politics, student professor dating, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Female student speaks of her relationship with a professor

Returning to the University of Southern Maine student newspaper story about student professor consensual sexual relationships, the story focused on the experiences of Rebecca, a student, who is in a four year relationship with a professor.

—————————————————————————————–

“When I walked into class, it was like, ‘this guy is my teacher,’ and it’s different than outside,” she said. “He never gave me preference, and since I was very good at the subject anyway, I knew, and it was obvious to everyone else, that I earned my grades.”

Her relationship, which began four years ago, has gone unreported to anyone of supervisory power over the professor, because by the time their friendship had evolved into something bigger, the couple saw no need for the ‘mediation’ provided by the university’s policy-they had already established boundaries for themselves, and she was no longer his student.

While she says that the relationship is great, she still struggles, because she has been forced to lie about it for so long: “It sucks to connect something I’m so uncomfortable about to something that makes me happy.”

It has affected her friendships and family relationships, because she is never able to be fully open about her life – even her two best friends don’t know about it.

“My time with him and the rest of my life are completely separate realities,” she says, “When they cross, it’s really uncomfortable, and I get paranoid.” She has also come to realize the affect it has had on her college experience, removing her from the social situations that most students traditionally become a part of.

The secrets have been painful. Her friendships, old and potential, have suffered, and there’s a constant paranoia ­­– for his sake — that it will somehow come out.

“But at the same time,” she says, “I’ve had a blast! You think about it, he’s my boyfriend. I love him. And four years! That’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had.”

Rebecca puts a knuckle between her teeth and tugs at her collar with the other hand, looking at me with a sideways glance that is almost coy, “I was just sort of taken by him, his looks, and his intelligence – sometimes I think the bad outweighs the good, but, I’m still with him. I mean, he’s awesome, he’s the best!”

She pauses and smiles, straightening her neck. After a minute, she begins again, “The biggest thing is that I still have a lot of respect for professors – if anything, it has made me realize that really, they have the same issues everyone else has, they’re just people.”

—————————————————————————

What the dankprofessor finds most disturbing about this relationship is the secrecy. Neither the professor nor the student feel they have the option of integrating this relationship into the rest of their lives. Possibly, they are misjudging the reactions of others. During my 35 year career as a professor I dated many students and former students, and I met many of these students’ parents and siblings. And never did I find that parents were not accepting of their daughter’s relationship with me. Such was the case even when there was a significant age differential. Not one parent objected to the fact that their daughter was dating a professor. In fact, the reaction was just the opposite to rejection, it was enthusiastic acceptance. The reality was that I often found myself dating a very interesting woman and befriending her very interesting parents. It was a plus plus situation.

But universities which have these problems are not interested in hearing about parental acceptance. Advocates of these relationships do not want them to exist and if they do, they want them to be in the closet.

At the University of Southern Maine, an administrative apparatus has been set up which investigates complaints relating to student professor dating. As reported in this article: “Any concerns about sexual harassment or preferential treatment stemming from student-faculty romance are taken to the Office of Campus Diversity and Equity, which investigates all discriminatory complaints at USM. For the past couple years, the office has not received any complaints of this nature. The 2004-05 school year saw three complaints, and in 2003-04 there was only one.”

Obviously the parties to these relationships do not report to the appropriate authorities since it is likely that both parties to these relationships do not feel they need administrative regulation and do not feel that the administration is their to help them navigate thru the terrain of university life.

However, USM administrator Daryl McIlwain disagrees with my analysis, according to him “probably most issues are not reported, for fear of the grade or because they don’t want to cause problems for the faculty member or draw embarrassing attention to themselves.”

However, the dankprofessor believes it is the fear of administrators such as Daryl McIlwain which leads couples not to report. And based on the input I have received from couples around the nation, I would advise couples never to report. Better to deny than to report to the campus authoritarians. I have heard too many stories of couples feeling utterly betrayed by the powers that be who end up violating the confidentiality of the relationship and often demean both the student and professor.

—–
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

February 14, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, fraternization, higher education, secrecy, sexual policing, sexual politics, student professor dating, student-prof dating, Uncategorized, University of Southern Maine | 3 Comments

THE HANDY HANDBOOK OF OFFICE LOVE*

The Sacramento Business Journal has THE solution; they know how to protect business owners, particularly small business owners,  from the pitfalls of intraoffice romance and sexual harassment lawsuits

Quoting from the business journal-

“Advisers to small businesses agree that a company can’t forbid romantic relationships in the workplace, but say they should consider policies that strongly discourage dating, especially between supervisors and subordinates. Experts also say companies should clearly outline policies on harassment and dating in an employee handbook — something many small businesses lack.

Love can bloom between coworkers at any time. Companies small and large would be wise to make sure an employee handbook is in place and policies on relationships are included, said Panda Morgan, director of the Greater Sacramento Small Business Development Center.

An employee handbook might seem like a trivial aspect of business, but it can be an important tool when relationships turn sour and harassment complaints or wrongful termination claims are made.

“The problem with small businesses is most don’t have employee handbooks because they don’t really see a need until something happens, and they realize their hands are tied and they can’t do anything about it,” Morgan said.”

After reading this article, The dankprofessor went out into the field in search of the handbook.  He found one entitled THE HANDY HANDBOOK OF OFFICE LOVE which was revised from the pioneer HANDY HANDBOOK ON UNIVERSITY LOVE*.  No date or publisher listed.  The dankprofessor will summarize the core handbook rules-

HANDS OFF

NO HANDS IN POCKETS

HANDS ON THE TABLE

HANDS UP

NO HANDY MEN

HANDLE WITH CARE

NO SHAKY HANDS

NO HANDSOME MEN

HANDS TIED

and if all else fails- KEEP HANDS CUFFED AT ALL TIMES.

—–
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

February 14, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, corporate dating bans, dating, love, office romance, Uncategorized, workplace | Leave a comment

Office romance in full bloom on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day this year at the office may very well be better than the Valentine’s days of the recent past. According to many, romance in the office is flourishing.

Yesterday psychologist Susan Pinker reported that “surveys on office love affairs reveal they’re incredibly common, with about 10 million consensual romances developing between co-workers each year in the U.S. That’s the equivalent of the population of a small European nation meeting at the photocopier, year after year…In fact, studies designed to probe the private lives of executives, and managers by such august groups as the Society of Human Resource Management and the U.S. Bureau of National Affairs simply document the obvious: Now that we’re spending most of our time at the office, that’s the place to meet prospects, with a third of all romances starting out in the workplace.”

Workers aren’t just interested in dating their peers. PR News Wire reports “that twenty-seven percent of workers admit they have dated someone with a higher position in their organization; female workers more so than males, at 37 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Ninety-eight percent of workers said their relationship with someone at work did nothing to progress their career.”

Pinker goes on to report that “half of the romantic relationships that begin at work last, resulting in marriage or a long term relationship, while only 5 per cent provoke formal complaints…Let’s face it: offices are “natural theatres” for social and sexual interaction, a phrase coined by sociologist Arlie Hochschild. As such, there’s great potential for drama, but also for applause…If the new couple has even a chance to be happy, the team should back off and just let these folks be.”

 Unfortunately it’s that 5 per cent that gets upset when love is seen as blooming in the workplace. And they have at their disposal lawyers who are at their call and become united with the Linda Tripps of the world in their love of money.

But in any case, Pinker gets it right. If only we could “just let these folks be”. Or in the words of the Beatles, “Let It Be”.

—–
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

February 14, 2008 Posted by | dating, love, office romance, workplace | 1 Comment

1.5 million spanking verdict overturned

A California Appeals Court has overturned a 1.5 million award to a female employee who as part of her employment as a sales person for a residential alarm company was subjected to “team building” spankings. Spankings were employed for both male and female employees “as a form of penance for not meeting sales quotas” .Employees were paddled with rival companies’ yard signs as part of a contest that pitted sales teams against one another. The winners poked fun at the losers, throwing pies at them, feeding them baby food, making them wear diapers and swatting their buttocks.

The appeals court overturned the claimant’s appeal in part “‘because of sex element’ is alive and well and must be satisfied in order for plaintiff to prevail on a sexual harassment cause of action. The jury should have been instructed that it could find for [the employee] on the sexual harassment cause of action only if it found that [the employee] was subjected to the harassing conduct because she was female,” the court said.”

The dankprofessor finds this practice to be somewhat alarming since sexual harassment law in California has been interpreted to find workplace spanking to be OK and not subject to litigation if both female and male employees are spanked.

I am sure that the complexity of this case is greater than has been presented. For example, is spanking OK if the spanker is in a higher power position than the female and male employees who are spanked? Does differential power preclude spanking? Certainly, employers should now consider hiring specially certified spanking trainers.

—–
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

February 14, 2008 Posted by | litigation, sexual harassment, workplace | Leave a comment

Gradedigging or romance at the University of Southern Maine

The University of Southern Maine student newspaper, the Free Press, had a February 11 article on student professor dating. What differentiated this article from the run of the mill student newspaper articles on this subject is that there was an interview with a female student who reports to be in a relationship with a university professor. Also included was an interview with a third party student observer. Of course, the article did not omit input from the relevant university administrators.

There were a number of statements worth noting in this article and the one that got the immediate attention of the dankprofessor came from student third party observer, Jeremy Knee, a USM senior. Mr. Knee reported on his suspicions that an unnamed female student was in a relationship with an unnamed male professor. As for his being uncomfortable if such a relationship was in fact occurring, he stated- “While it wasn’t necessarily uncomfortable because they were involved, the faculty was limited in his availability to other students. And I had the thought that if I was a girl who looked like her, I’d be getting a better grade.”

Of course, the reason invoked by Mr. Knee are the same reasons often invoked by university administrators for the banning of such relationships, that they threaten the integrity of the grading process, that they undermine academic integrity. Of course, Mr. Knee’s student reaction is the same old same old student reaction when another student gets a higher grade than oneself, ones lower grade becomes the fault of the professor or of the favored student; the distraught student denies that ones grade can accurately reflect ones course work. It’s called copping out or, if you will, scapegoating. Of course, there is an additional innuendo in this situation and that is that the female student may be prostituting herself for a high grade or in more general terms, the female student is just another gradedigger.

But Mr.Knee had more on his mind when he stated: “If I had the ability to manipulate someone who had power over me, I might.” So this is it. It is all about the manipulation of power, not about love, or romance, or closeness or even passion. It is just about premeditated manipulation by a gradedigging female student. Of course, this view is not unique to Mr. Knee. The dankprofessor regards it as representing hardcore cynicism, and in a weird way it represents the thinking of cynical feminists but in an inverse manner. The cynical campus feminist regards the male professor as being the predatory power manipulator of the female student; the male observing student regards the female student as being the predator manipulating the male professor. So here one can easily pick the most psychologically suitable stereotype.

And when it comes down to university administrators, too many pick a stereotype, and we know the one that is usually picked is the stereotype of the cynical campus feminist as well as the one that states that student professor relationships undermine academic integrity, and their evidence for this belief are persons of the genre of Mr. Knee. How sad! How sad that they embrace the view that represents thinking the worst of people, which represents hardcore cynicism. Does such thinking become a necessary outcome of being a university administrator? Is such thinking indicative of embracing a police cynicism where everyone is suspect, no one is to be trusted since everyone has their con?

Or maybe it is the dankprofessor who has a major problem? Might it be that I suffer from a romantic view of the world that censors out the omnipresence of cynical manipulators? Might I suffer from a naivete when I profess that student professor couples should be just left alone, that it is more harmful to intrude into the lives of these couples than to do nothing?

More to come on this article in future postings.

—–
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

February 12, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, feminism, fraternization, grading, higher education, sexual policing, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating, University of Southern Maine | Leave a comment

Middlebury College Update

The Burlington Free Press published an article entitled “Academic Affairs Rile Middlebury”( February 10) which deals with the ongoing consideration of a new student professor consenting sexual relationship policy. The dankprofessor has published a number of prior posts on the Middlebury situation.The headline of the article “Academic Affairs Rile Middlebury” was a misnomer since there was no academic affair of any sort mentioned in the article, and the dankprofessor has been unable to find any mention of any academic affair at any time of any kind, riling or otherwise, at Middlebury College. The fact of the matter is that the current Middlebury College policy discouraging such relationships has worked.

What riled up the Middlebury campus community was the visit of Ann Lane this past September to Middlebury College in the context of her presentation of a talk entitled “Consensual Relations in the Academy: Gender, Power and Sexuality”. The Burlington Free Press article stated: “Her speech lent some perspective to a discussion Middlebury’s faculty was beginning to have about one of academia’s thornier issues: faculty-student “amorous relationships” and what to do about them.” Of course, no where in the article was it demonstrated that the need had come up in the past at Middlebury to do anything about them.

However, Professor Lane did not see it that way. She stated in the Free Press article: “What struck me about my presentation at Middlebury were the number of students who attended, particularly the male students, probably half and half,” Lane wrote in an e-mail, “and the interest they showed in questions. I was impressed….At dinner that evening with administrators, faculty and students, what was interesting was that the faculty and administrators, thanking me for my talk, then went on to say how such relationships are rare or non-existent in their school. The students made eye contact and began to talk about several such relationships they all knew of, not naming anyone.”

So the good Professor Lane simply discards professorial input that these relationships are rare or non-existent at Middlebury and rather cites student scuttlebutt to support her position. Of course, the issue becomes whether gossip, and rumor should ever be the basis of any academic policy. Professor Lane or the Free Press did not report that any of these students have testified or are planning to testify concerning any such affairs. I think it is fair to say that at this point such affairs are simply a part of Lane’s fertile imagination.

In contrast to Professor Lane’s perception that there is great student interest in this issue, the Free Press reported the following student input:

“Among Middlebury students, by one account, this is not exactly a hot issue. Sarah Franco, a senior who writes Midd Blog, said she has “broached the subject of faculty/student relationships at least twice” but received no comments. “I stopped writing about it,” she said in an e-mail, “because students do not seem interested. I can only speculate as to why. For one thing, students speak up only if they fervently disagree with something and no student is going to openly advocate to have a relationship with a professor.”

Yes, I agree with Ms. Franco that no student is likely to advocate for student professor relationships and no professor is likely to engage in a similar advocacy. At Middlebury any such relationships if they have occurred remain out of sight
and out of mind, and this is as it should be if we respect the privacy rights of those engaging in intimate relationships.

What I find to be most depressing is the absence of any student or professor advocating for the right of any student or any professor to have a consensual relationship. Nowhere in the article is a rights perspective included or alluded to. If the Free Press writer had done his homework he would have found that over the last six months there has been much attention given in the media to a civil liberties perspective, particularly by UCLA professor Paul R. Abramson in his book ROMANCE IN THE IVORY TOWER: THE RIGHTS OF LIBERTY AND CONSCIENCE.  In fact, the Boston Globe recently carried an excellent op ed piece by Abramson which was totally ignored in the Free Press piece.

For example, the Free Press writer fails to understand the civil liberties implication when the opinion of feminist Bernice Sandler is cited: “A better option, Sandler said, citing an approach adopted at the University of Michigan, is a policy that requires disclosure. Such a policy “handles it without prohibiting,” she said, “but it gets at the professional issues involved.” After disclosure, a professor’s duties with respect to the student in question are assigned to someone else.”

What the article fails to note is that the student’s privacy is violated by a policy that would force the professor to reveal her identity to college authorities with the consequence that she is forcibly removed from the classroom. This seems like a pretty major omission, but never does Bernice Sandler in her media interviews state how this policy directly impacts on female students. The amazing thing is that for a feminist such as Sandler female students are invisible.

Another place where the article did not get it right was in the interview with Frank Vinik , a lawyer and risk manager for United Educators. The Free Press article reported:

“We think having no policy is a mistake,” said Frank Vinik, a lawyer and risk manager for United Educators, an insurance co-op with 800 college and university members. Vinik cited as an example the University of California, where a law school dean resigned in 2002 after engaging in an affair that he termed “consensual” and that the student deemed “harassment.” After that, Vinik said, the university formulated a consensual-relationships policy to go along with its harassment policy.”

One of the problems with the Vinik statement is that the law dean and the law student never had an affair. The length of their knowing each other was for a couple of hours. They met at a bar/restaurant in the context of a dining and drinking celebration of other students recent achievements. The student became inebriated; the dean drove her home, and while at her home while she was asleep the dean was reported to have assaulted her. How could one characterize such as representing an affair? How could one argue that this incident had any relevance to the current policy evaluation at Middlebury? Vinik must know that UC had a sexual harassment policy at that time that was applicable to the dean’s actions. The dean quickly resigned in the context of an impending sexual harassment charge. In fact, Frank Vinik engages in the same misstatement of the facts of this situation in a report on WCBV-TV Boston. If Mr. Vinik believes the dankprofessor has misrepresented him, I would welcome his input on this matter and if he wishes, I would publish his response on the dankprofessor blog.

The writer of the Free Press article, Tim Johnson, characterized this issue as being one of “academia’s thornier issues”. If such be the case, one would have been led to believe that the article would have made some attempt to bring forth the
conflicting perspectives on the student professor consenting sexual relationships issue. Such was not the case.
I had expected more from one of Vermont’s leading newspapers, a newspaper which is well known for its concern with civil liberty issues.

—–
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

February 11, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, feminism, fraternization, higher education, Middlebury College, sexual harassment, sexual policing, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Consensual Sex Day coming in April

The California chapter of NOW has selected a day in April to celebrate/observe Consensual Sex Day (or I love Consensual Sex Day) and it is expected that the observances will be primarily on California university campuses. NOW has indicated that the primary reason for holding a Consensual Sex Day is because “Most people don’t want to talk about rape, but lots of people want to talk about Consensual Sex. This campaign will open up communication about consent, asking and teaching people what consent is and how to ask for exactly what you want”.

Of course, it is feminism which has made a mishmash of the the concept of consent. And NOW, which is a major branch of the formal feminist movement, is going to get involved in teaching people “…how to ask for exactly what you want.”
In the dankprofessor’s opinion such represents other worldly thinking. Will NOW go on campus and tell members of student professor couples that they can sexually consent if they clearly ask each other what they want? Will the NOW teachers flagrantly disregard the feminist mantra that “differential power precludes consent”?

What the campus feminist movement has been about is telling students, specifically female students, that they are incapable of having a consensual relationship with an other when the other occupies a position of greater power.
Obviously, the NOW Consensual Sex Day could not have the support of leading campus feminist thinkers.

In addition California NOW will be marketing Consensual Sex Day shirts, stickers and buttons. I guess shirts labeled with a Consensual Sex Day insignia will have greater marketing power than shirts with a differential power precludes consent insignia.

In the dankprofessor’s opinion, this Consensual Sex Day is a mindless and deceptive marketing and recruiting tool for NOW. The utter absurdity of this day is reflected in NOW’s associated effort “…considering legislation that would require campuses to teach the definition of consent.” And if such legislation actually comes about, will students be given the right to consent or dissent in regards to being taught about consensual sex? Such is another example of campus feminism running amok.

—–
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
 

February 6, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, feminism, higher education, rape, sex, sexual politics, student professor dating | Leave a comment

University of Iowa to extend its dragnet

The dankprofessor has previously reported on the University of Iowa policy prohibiting consensual sexual relationships between professors and students. And after some reevaluation of this policy, the powers that be at UI are concerned that some consenting couples may escape from the UI dragnet due to ambiguous wording.

And as reported in the UI campus newspaper, actions are being taken to correct this oversight-

“The UI is looking to revamp its policy on consensual relationships involving students after unclear definitions of a student and an instructor and a case involving the fuzzy identifications.

At today’s UI Faculty Senate meeting, the group is predicted to vote unanimously in favor of adopting the revised policy that uses clearer language to identify “instructor” and “student,” said Steve McGuire, a UI professor of curriculum and instruction.

The current definition of an instructor – updated in 2001 – only requires couples to report a relationship between a “faculty member” and a “student.” The policy was ambiguous on whether “faculty” included teaching assistants, academic advisers, coaches, permanent dorm staff, or other instructional personnel. Under the revised policy, all would be required to report a relationship with a student.

“Gaps were identified in the policy and protections, and this is an attempt to fix that,” said Craig Porter, a UI clinical professor of pediatric academic administration.

The UI Dispute Resolution Committee requested to review the policy in January 2007 after an incident where the definition of “student” was blurry. Porter said the committee also recognized that in a number of places on campus, the policy was not effective or useful.

A student is defined as those “who have matriculated” the educational program at the UI, postdoctoral fellows, medical residents, and minors served by outreach summer programs and camps.

Porter said that a handful of instructor-student relationships are reported to the UI Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity each year. He added, however, that some become complaints of sexual harassment.

Regardless of who initiates the relationship, the instructor is responsible for following the policy.

“We also have reason to believe more are going on that are not reported,” Porter said.

Romantic relationships are prohibited in an instructional context, or when an instructor is directly or indirectly instructing, evaluating, or supervising a student’s academic work or participation in a UI program. When the policy is violated, an instructor is usually punished and sometimes terminated, Porter said.

McGuire said he doesn’t expect much debate today because the policy “made a lot of sense.”

Two weeks ago at the UI Faculty Council meeting, the group voted unanimously in favor of the policy.

“Any policy needs to be reviewed regularly,” McGuire said. The consensual relationship policy “is consistent with the goals and current time.”

—–
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

February 6, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, fraternization, higher education, sexual policing, sexual politics, student professor dating, University of Iowa | Leave a comment

6 college professors arrested for rape then attacked

The Associated Press reported yesterday that “police in western India say they have arrested six college teachers after an 18-year-old student accused them of rape.The young woman said the six men had raped her several times in the past four months on the campus of the Primary Teacher’s Training College in Patan, Gujarat state, local superintendent of police Raghvendra Vats said Tuesday.

The victim also claimed the teachers photographed her using mobile phone cameras and threatened her with dire consequences if she told anyone about the attacks, Vats said without elaborating.

More than 90 female students have complained to the college principal about sexual harassment at the school, but this was the first formal complaint against teaching staff, he said.

As news of the rape and molestation claims spread across the campus Monday, angry students and their families went on a rampage and attacked the accused teachers and damaged furniture, local media reported.

Sexual abuse and rape are often taboo subjects in conservative India, and experts say such crimes often go unreported because of the shame associated with them.”

More on this story as it becomes known to the dankprofessor.

 —–
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

February 6, 2008 Posted by | higher education, rape, sexual harassment | Leave a comment

   

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