Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Cigarette harassment at Yale?

A Yale faculty member who is a professor in the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department “has been accused of sexual harassment, according to a Yale Police Department report filed April 8″.  Such was reported by the Yale Daily News.  And according to the YDN,

The accusation will likely be handled internally by Yale Graduate School administrators, YPD spokesman Sgt. Steven Woznyk told the News on Tuesday. The YPD and the Graduate School have agreed to try to resolve the harassment complaint without formal police action, Woznyk said. Despite the confirmation of the report, administrators within the department and Graduate School remain tight-lipped, and the accused faculty member – whose name the News is withholding because no formal charges have been filed and no finding has been made by the University – denied the accusation to the News.

I think the policy of the YDN not reporting the name of the Yale professor is a wise policy particularly since there has been no formal charge lodged against the professor.  However, the policy as implemented by the YDN appears to the dankprofessor as a psuedo-implementation since the the YDN report narrowed the suspect population to male profs in the Near Eastern Languages and Civilization Department.  The population was further narrowed down when the YDN reported that the professor was a cigarette smoker.

When contacted by phone by the YDN and informed of the sexual harassment charge, the professor responded-”You are incorrect, if I were harassing someone, I would know.” 

The YDN then reported on the comments of an anonymous department insider with knowledge about the case who said

the faculty member asked a lector to purchase cigarettes from Walgreens and bring them to the faculty member’s residence. The professor then refused to pay back the lector, the insider said.

“There was a condition for [the lector] to pick up the check,” the insider continued.

The lector rejected the condition and left the residence immediately, the insider said, and the nature of this situation made the lector very uncomfortable.

The faculty member returned to the NELC department on Tuesday, April 8 – the day the case was filed with the YPD. According to the insider, the faculty member called the lector into the hallway at the beginning of a class the lector was teaching and proceeded to yell at the lector in the hallway, insisting that the lector take the money for the cigarettes.

“Everybody was uncomfortable,” the insider said. “All the students were scared because of the way [the faculty member] was talking and the way [the faculty member] was making noise in the hallway.”

There were roughly 20 students in the classroom at the time of the incident. A student in the class confirmed the information relayed by the insider, which was shared with the class on Thursday.

The insider said the loud conversation outside the classroom hinged on discussion of the cigarettes and the money.

“Everybody was wondering what happened,” the insider said.

The dankprofessor must admit to being perplexed in regards to this case since a sexual harassment charge is at issue but there was no indication in the YDN report that anything happened of a sexual nature.  Apparently the lector was uncomfortable in regards to exchanging money for cigarettes.  Of course, some persons regard cigarette smoking in itself as being sexual and apply a Freudian interpretation to cigarettes. 

A more likely scenario is that the lector viewed the professor as trying to seduce her into becoming a cigarette smoker. Such could be regarded as cigarette harassment.  Given Yale’s politically correct environment, it seems to me that it is rather problematic for a professor to have a student or lector buy his cigarettes.  In this kind of case, shouldn’t the professor being doing his own dirty work?  Shouldn’t he be the one going to a cancer promoting cigarette peddling Walgreens to purchase his own smokes?

—–
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

 

 

April 17, 2008 Posted by | ethics, higher education, political correctness, sexual harassment, sexual politics, Yale University | | Leave a comment

The dankprofessor will not back down

Students as well as some administrators at Princeton University have taken a stand against internet website JuicyCampus. JuicyCampus primarily relies on anonymous postings, the majority of which specialize in character assassinations, mudslinging and unsupported rumors of every kind.

Inside Higher Ed reports on the Princeton protest-

The issues raised by anonymity – online, in bathroom graffiti and in more mundane contexts such as defaced or removed posters – aren’t unique to Princeton, whose section on JuicyCampus is relatively tame compared to those of other campuses. But the collective impact of expression that lacks accountability and even contributes to the decay of a campus culture, they believe, led some students to try a more constructive response than calling for banning the site or denouncing those who use it.

The petition declares a “stand against anonymous character assassination, a culture of gossip, and all other acts of ethical and intellectual cowardice.” It continues: “Anonymity may have its place in certain kinds of political speech, journalistic endeavors, and other arenas, but its overuse and abuse is not consistent with the standard of behavior we, as members of an academic community, wish to maintain.”

About 250 students arrived on campus both last Tuesday and Friday with T-shirts bearing the equation “anonymity = cowardice,” said Thomas Dunne, the associate dean of undergraduate students who worked with Diemand-Yauman on the campaign. The campaign has also produced posters with the message “You Can’t Take Me Down”: “Tearing down posters on campus because you don’t support the viewpoints expressed by the organizations involved or the content of the program is a type of vandalism and an act of censorship.”

In the dankprofessor’s opinion the Princeton students and their administrator supporters are doing the right thing.  Anonymous attacks accompanied by unsupported materials have no place in academic discourse or for that matter in any kind of discourse.

Such anonymous postings have no place on the dankprofessor blog.  I have refused to allow such postings, most recently as comments regarding the Lisa Chavez case.  If I published postings from unidentified posters whose posts contain unsupported scurrilous attacks, such would represent the trashing of this blog.  I have been attacked on another blog for not publishing these posts.  All of these posts may have originated from one or several posters.  I do not know.  I have informed them and I now inform my readership that these posts will not be published on my blog.  Sex in the public square which also has had a focus on the UNM Lisa Chavez case has also refused to publish these postings; to read their position statement, click here.

Unfortunately, there are some academic blogs which disagree with our stance.  Such is unfortunate.  Such also represents their right of publication.  I will continue to cover the UNM case as well as report on and comment on sexual politics on campuses while attempting to maintain the highest possible journalistic standards.  I hope that my readership continues to support my quest for truth and justice in academia. 

—–
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

 

 

April 17, 2008 Posted by | academic freedom, ethics, higher education, lisa chavez, Princeton University, sadomasochism, secrecy, sex, sex work, sexual politics, speech, University of New Mexico | Leave a comment

   

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