Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Dealing with sexual intruders from the UK to the USA

The Independent of London has taken a strong stand against unnecessary and intrusive laws which regulate the sexual lives of the denizens of the UK.

What the Independent is concerned about is the continuing attempt in the UK  to ban extreme pornography.  Most immediately The Independent is concerned about the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act of 2008 which takes effect in less than a month.  Section 63 of this law prohibits pictures on the internet of someone having sex with a corpse as well as images of bestiality.

The Independent points out that-

The usual problems with such legislation are that in the first place the law is adopted in a mad hurry and is thus vague and unclear and, second, a set of general principles is wrongly deduced from truly exceptional circumstances.

With this law, the evidence of haste and a knee-jerk response to a specific event can be seen from the imprecise wording. As a result, the viewing of images of a number of practices that are legal, and which most people would consider acceptable if not exactly desirable behaviour between consenting adults, will become as illegal as viewing images of bestiality and necrophilia. All such viewers will have the same potential to be caught under the same dragnet.

Regrettably, the Government will probably get away with it. In these “on-message” days, no politician wants to be seen as the spokesperson for sexual freaks. A reputation for a partiality to bondage is not the way to boost the career of a junior minister or rising backbencher. And so a few more of our civil liberties are done away with – and the opportunities for police surveillance increased.

Ministers may even think they are on to a winner, by giving unpopular Sixties-style liberals a good drubbing – and a good dose of New Labour Puritanism at the same time. Well, perhaps so. It’s also possible that the Government’s obsession with regulating every aspect of peoples lives will rebound on it. We can only hope so, for the Government should beware of poking its long nose into people’s sex lives, and when it is far from clear that such intervention is necessary.

The tactics used in the UK are not unique and are rather simple.  Get some significant percentage of the public riled up about some sexual behavior which almost all persons agree is disgusting and obnoxious and then pass a law that goes way beyond the behaviors that led to the hysteria.  In essence this is what happened in California with the passage of proposition 8.  Make gay marriage illegal since if we have gay marriage then in some way this will facilitate the predatory sex crimes against children.  Or as Rick Warren does, associate homosexuality with child abuse and incest.

And what is most germane to this blog, use cases of relationships between students and professors which involve coercion and harassment to ban all consenting sexual relationships between students and professors.  And then present as a taken for granted assumption that such relationships undermine the integrity of the university.  And, of course, once these rules are in effect, consenting student professor couples are unlikely to come forward to challenge these rules since they would then become subject to being penalized by the powers that be.

And what becomes most galling to the dankprofessor is that the belief comes into being that the laws have been successful since student professor couples have scant visibility on campus.  Of course, they are not visible since they have been forced into the closet.  As gays have come out of the closet on campus, student professor couples now occupy that closet.  The campus moral entrepreneurs  and zealots have carried the day with barely a peep from the liberty advocating professoriate.  Of course, it is fear that carries the day on campus; with or without tenure, almost all faculty will not speak up for their colleagues, colleagues who only want the basic right of sexual privacy and to be left alone.

And when it comes to this blog, I know that fear prevents many professors and students from posting comments.  In 2008 I received many emails sent directly to me from students who have found these campus fraternization laws to be oppressive and hurtful.  I have done my best to write helpful responses to these students.  And I have done the same for a much smaller number of professors.  So even though there are few comments on the dankprofessor blog from students and professors, I do believe that I am getting the dank word out. And the dankprofesssor will continue to blog.

I greatly appreciate the support of my readers in 2008 and am looking forward to the dankprofessor blog doing more good in 2009.

January 1, 2009 - Posted by | 2008, blogs, censorship, consensual relationships, ethics, fraternization, gay marriage, higher education, pornography, privacy, sadomasochism, sex, sexual harassment, sexual policing, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating, the closet, United Kingdom

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