Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

UK lecturers “warned” to look but don’t touch

The BBC News reports (my comments are in the text)

A university leader has caused controversy by saying curvy female students are a “perk of the job”.

Terence Kealey, of the University of Buckingham, said lecturers were aware of females who “flaunted their curves”.

In a tongue-in-cheek article for Times Higher Education Magazine on the seven deadly sins of academia, he advised academics to “look but not touch”.

The National Union of Students condemned the comments as insulting and disrespectful to women.

Dr Kealey, a clinical bio-chemist and vice-chancellor of Buckingham University, likened the classroom to a lap dancing club and said admiring the curves of attractive students could help “spice up” marital sex.

In his article about the sin of lust, Dr Kealey wrote: “Most male lecturers know that, most years, there will be a girl in class who flashes her admiration and who asks for advice on her essays.
“What to do? Enjoy her! She’s a perk.” …

Dr Kealey recalled the days when sex between student and tutor, in return for academic favours, could go by unchecked.

“Thanks to the accountability imposed by the Quality Assurance Agency [the university watchdog] and other intrusive bodies, the days are gone when a scholar could trade sex for upgrades.”

OR to put it more accurately, the days are gone when a scholar and student can have a consensual relationships

‘Appalled’

Olivia Bailey, womens’ officer for the NUS, said: “I am appalled that a university vice-chancellor should display such an astounding lack of respect for women.

The dankprofessor is appalled that Olivia Bailey is not appalled at the lack of respect shown by the university vice-chancellor toward male lecturers.  To think that the curves of attractive female students could spice up marital sex, simply outrageous.   Of course, the good vice-chancellor neglects female lecturers who may get spiced up when in the vicinity of an attractive male student.  The vice-chancellor should be admonished for desexualizing female lecturers.

“Regardless of whether this was an attempt at humour, it is completely unacceptable for someone in Terence Kealey’s position to compare a lecture theatre to a lap dancing club, and I expect that many women studying at Buckingham University will be feeling extremely angry and insulted at these comments.”

I doubt it.  The dankprofessor thinks that Ms. Bailey should also be admonished for stereotyping female students as being “extremely angry and insulted”.  Ms. Bailey should restrain herself from creating female students in her own image.

His article has prompted a lively debate on the Times Higher Education website.

“I’m amazed that Terence K has a position in any university, and I’ll be damn sure never to apply for a job at Buckingham,” said one reader.

Another added: “Any scholar, who assumes that female students who show interest in the subject and ask for help because they have a crush on you or hope to manipulate you with their sexual charms, is a reality-challenged idiot.

Oh, please, he did not say all female students.  Does the reader really believe that no female student will ever attempt to manipulate a male lecturer with her female charms?  Manipulation goes on and on, everywhere, even at UK colleges, even by scholars using their scholarly abilities to manipulate their students and the their colleagues.

“And anyone who thinks that female students are there in the classroom expressly as objects of the instructor’s viewing pleasure needs to retire.”

But another said: “I’m appalled that everyone’s so appalled! – it’s just not that important, or offensive.”

Ditto from the dankprofessor.

Humour

Adding his own voice to the online debate, Dr Kealey said his article was a “moral piece” which used humour to encourage people to exercise self-restraint.

And he told the BBC: “It says that sex between middle-aged academics and young undergraduates is wrong. It also says that academics should enjoy the company of their students. That too is unexceptionable.

OK, for Kealey it’s all about age, no problem for the younger academic or for the older female student?

“The Times Higher readership is composed mainly of academics who would be expected to appreciate articles written at more than one level. The crudeness of some of the examples was to underpin the inappropriateness of transgressional sex and that is a conventional literary device.

Oh, God, it’s all about the crudeness of transgressional sex.  Or maybe its also about the crudeness of pedestrian sex.

“Sex between staff and students is not funny and is not a legitimate source of humour but it is legitimate to use humour to illuminate the ways that people finesse the dissonance between what is publicly acceptable and what is sometimes privately desired.”

Or maybe it’s about Dr. Kealey trying to finesse himself so he won’t lose his job.

A spokesman for the University and College Union said: “Harassment is not something to be taken lightly and I would be surprised, and deeply concerned, if any university, or vice-chancellor, tried to laugh it off.”

Isn’t this the first mention of harassment.  What has harassment got to do with anything?  I would hope that just about anyone would laugh off this comment.

Dr Kealey has been vice-chancellor at Buckingham – the UK’s only independent university – since 2001.

September 24, 2009 - Posted by | attractive students, consensual relationships, higher education, sex, sexual harassment, sexual politics, student professor dating, United Kingdom

1 Comment »

  1. Oh, for heaven’s sake. They’re having a heart attack about this over at the Chronicle of Higher Education, too. When I followed all the links back to the original article, what I found was a humorous article about the Seven Academic Deadly Sins, and *how bloody typical* that everyone got hung up on Lust. I didn’t see anything having to do with harassment or suggesting it was fun. But I have seen some really heated discussions, in which prurience wars with denunciation.

    Here’s my favorite, from Gene E. Fant:

    “Those of us who have worked in academe for any length of time have seen the senior professor who takes daily “lunches” with his prized graduate student. We’ve run into the bright young female professor at a pub laughing over drinks with a barely-of-drinking-age hunk of a male student in a tight turtleneck. We’ve had the awkward conversation at an out-of-town conference when we’ve run into a married colleague who is clearly too friendly with one of the students who has presented a paper at the same conference.”

    This really reads like a string of cliches. I’ve never seen the first two outside a sitcom, and only once seen something that looked like the third. I suggested Dr. Fant might like to “spend less time ogling other people and their companions and engaging in prurient fantasies, and perhaps get some reading done.”

    Or maybe, considering what’s going on with higher education, trying to save the universities from bleeding to death from funding cuts.

    Comment by dcp | September 26, 2009 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 49 other followers

%d bloggers like this: