Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Campus sexual bigotry and degradation

From Taiwan to Ottawa, from Los Angeles to London, professors and students who are in sexual congress with each other have become fair game for those wishing to engage in unrestrained sexual bigotry.  By  sexual bigotry, I am not referring to those who assert that such relationships may or do represent some form of conflict of interest, but rather to those who who degrade and demean  and dehumanize both the involved professor and the involved student.  

The dankprofessor finds it difficult to accept that academics find it to be OK to refer to their colleagues who have dated students as scum and disgusting and to imply that they are rapists or statutory rapists.  But what I even consider to be more disturbing is that hardly any academics on the sidelines come forth and challenge the acceptability of using such degrading rhetoric.  When such challenging does occur, it is likely to be of the anonymous kind.

One anonymous professor commenter recently stated on the dankprofessor blog- “It’s pretty darned hard for me to look into the eyeballs of my older male colleagues and tell them that they AND their wives are scum.”  The commenter is referring to older professors who had married one of their students.  I would hope and expect that addressing or thinking about a colleague, senior or otherwise, as scum would not exactly be easy, particularly on a continuing basis.  It wouldn’t be easy since continuing personal contact would most likely function to humanize and normalize the targeted professor.  Having the targeted professor as a predatory alien existing outside of our everyday lives facilitates for some a commitment to the imagery of the professor as a sexual outsider.  The accompanying imagery of the female student is usually that of a non-person (she is often anonymous and socially invisible) or that of an exploited child who cannot fend for herself.  She is usually seen as not having the ability to consent even if she states that she has consented.

For a professor to come forward and risk the stigma being seen as a sexual outsider and also being terminated as a professor has pretty effectively put these professors in the campus closet.  And those who may come out and support the rights of professors and students to consent to a sexual relationship with each other will frequently lead to others as seeing the supportive professor as being one of those professors.  And such was the situation in the past for gay men and lesbians.  Gay men and lesbians existence depended on their ability to be out of sight and out of mind, to live closeted lives.  Of course, the irony is that as gays came out of the campus closet, said closet then came to be populated by professors who were or had been in sexual congress with a student or students.

The answer for gays was coming out of the closet.  If there is to be a ceasefire on professors in sexual congress with students, it will occur because these professors and others who support these professors will come out.  It will occur when these professors and their supporters will be able to effectively deal with their fears.  And it is both fear and loathing that has dominated the social sexual climate at all too many campuses.

A small step forward could occur if student professor relationships would become a part of campus sex education weeks.  Organizers of these events advocate openness in terms of sexuality but when it comes to campus sex of the genre referred to here, there is no openness, there is nothing.  Of course, nothing can be better than something when the something only includes rants against so-called offending professors.

Another small step forward would include recognition of how the anti student professor sex movement, has impacted on campus friendships
between students and professors, how such has led to increasingly impersonal campuses.   It should lead to the recognition that many professors and administrators have come to realize that anyone, irrespective of their behavior, can become labeled as a so-called sexual deviant.  Professor open door policies are no solution to the paranoia on campus, particularly when third party informants are encouraged to come forward.

Under the mantel of a so-called professionalism, sexual bigotry, sexual
policing, sexual paranoia has become a dominant reality in campus life.
And as in all authoritarian states, the persecution most often occurs in secret; secrecy is rationalized under the guise of this being a “personnel” matter.  Again, the closet carries the day.

And the dankprofessor asks these questions of the readers of this post.
Are you a professor or administrator or a student who might agree with the dankprofessor in whole or in part, but you feel you can’t speak out because of fear?  Might you attempt to overcome your fears by emailing the dankprofessor at dankprofessor@msn.com or posting a comment, albeit anonymously on this post?

April 29, 2009 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, fear, higher education, privacy, secrecy, sex, sex offenders, sexual harassment, sexual policing, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating, the closet | | 25 Comments

Intelligent women attracted to disgusting professors?

“There is something perfectly sick about universities — filled with fat, balding, middle-aged men (and women) and a constantly replenished crop of gorgeous 20-something girls (and boys).  Like the Catholic church, with its scheming pedophiles and innocent choir boys, it’s a recipe for disaster…

Why would an intelligent female ever sleep with a disgusting professor?”

Such is how Erik Ringmar, a professor in Taiwan, begins his post “Sex With Students, Pt 1, on his blog, Too Many Mangoes.

Maybe the good professor knows too many disgusting professors who have eaten too many mangoes or maybe the not so good professor considers himself to be a disgusting professor whose lecherous meandering have run amok?

Whatever the specifics may be, Ringmar’s imagery tells us more about himself and his imagination then anything about the multiple realities of student professor intimate relationships.

As for his question as to why an intelligent female would ever sleep with a disgusting professor, I would surmise that the intelligent female would not consider the professor disgusting.  The same would be said about the professor who sleeps with an intelligent female, the overwhelming probability is that the professor does not consider the female to be disgusting?  Maybe Ringmar’s problem is that he considers any party to such a relationship to be disgusting in the same manner that people who are anti-gay consider all gay relationships to be disgusting. 

Professor Ringmar’s problem is that apparently he can’t get beyond his disgust, and that he feels uninhibited in degrading persons who are or have been in a student professor relationship.

Well, Ringmar should know that more than a couple of professors who have been subjected to such degrading rhetoric do not feel degraded. Far from it.  They live their private lives in private, not engaging in any sort of sexual spectacle. Some have had the good fortune of meeting an intellectual confrere who they found attractive and such attraction was reciprocated.  Some, including the dankprofessor, eventually transitioned from student professor to husband and wife.

I have no doubt that even in Taiwan the love of knowledge can lead to the knowledge of love.  For those of you who have an open mind as well as having their eyes wide open, it can also happen to you.

April 29, 2009 Posted by | attractive students, consensual relationships, ethics, higher education, love, NCTU, privacy, sex, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating, Taiwan | 4 Comments

   

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