Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Anti-sexual zealotry at Yale

The witch hunt for sexual deviants is just beginning at Yale.  As reported in the Yale Daily News, the Women Faculty Forum wants to employ the new consensual relationships policy as a launch pad for a more encompassing sexual control policy.

In its report, the Women Faculty Forum also recommended that new, University-wide policies against sexual misconduct replace existing policies, which vary across Yale College, the Graduate School and the professional schools. They also want Yale to shift its focus from sexual harassment to the broader issue of sexual misconduct — an umbrella term that applies to both sexual harassment and assault, and includes other sexually motivated behaviors intended to intimidate or threaten.

The Women Faculty Forum also called for the creation of a centralized sexual misconduct grievance board to administer the new policy and address complaints from undergraduates, graduate and professional students, faculty and staff alike. Currently, complaints are evaluated by four different grievance boards across the University.

“We don’t think there’s a lot of additional study necessary in terms of outside research,” Woman Faculty Forum report co-author and School of Management professor Connie Bagley said. “I hope the group is serious about the issues and willing to roll up their sleeves, dig into the [Women Faculty Forum] report and policy and just get this done.”

Miller said the University’s quick response to the report’s demand for a review committee and new policy on student-faculty relationships signals a “recommitment” to preventing sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.

“The administrators we’ve been working with agree that sexual misconduct has no place at Yale,” Bagley said last month. “They’re serious about trying to take additional steps to eliminate it.”

Both Bagley and Priya Natarajan, a professor of astronomy and physics and a co-chair of the committee that authored the report, said they are pleased with the University’s response to the Women Faculty Forum report so far, but added that this is just the beginning of the process. The new committee must act quickly and decisively and follow the policy changes outlined in the report, Bagley said.

The report came from over a year of research, writing and consultation with faculty and administrators, most of whom supported the group’s proposed policies, Bagley said. Members of the committee responsible for the report worked with the General Counsel’s Office to ensure that the policy changes offered in the report were legally feasible.

The Women Faculty Forum began work on its report on sexual misconduct in fall 2008, after several pledges to the fraternity Zeta Psi posed for pictures outside the Women’s Center with signs that read “We Love Yale Sluts” and 100 medical students wrote a letter to School of Medicine administrators in December 2007 expressing concern over the prevalence of sexual harassment at the school, according to the report. The Women Faculty Forum’s goal in writing the report was to help administrators to develop a workable, University-wide anti-sexual misconduct policy, Bagley said.

The dankprofessor finds it breathtaking that the report promulgates a policy of eliminating all sexual misconduct at Yale while at the same time insuring that the policies are legally “feasible”.   Eliminating/eradicating sexual misconduct is simply not compatible with law that recognizes due process and civil liberties.  Such elimination can occur but only in an authoritarian state ruled by sexual zealots.  Of course, “elimination” should be in quotes since so-called sexual misconduct is never completely eliminated.  The anti-sexual zealots know this and know that their work is never completed; vigilance is always necessary in their world view.

What this and other similar policies also foment is the use of informants, third party informants who will report on sexual dissidents.  Based on reports to me from distraught students and profs, the usage of informants is commonplace in  American universities.  Getting a handle on this situation is difficult since the identity of such informants is kept secret by university authorities.  In fact, most often the entire proceeding against sexual dissidents is of a secretive nature.  What makes the Yale policy even more fertile for the fomenting of informants is the usage of the nebulous term “amorous relationships”.  So if the behavior is perceived as not sexual but amorous such is enough to initiate the charges.

But one may ask who would be prone to become informants at Yale or any other university?  The prone would be distraught or jealous students or faculty.  A student who believes that she or he was unfairly given a poor grade may come forward with a false charge knowing that ones identity is protected and knowing in some cases that there are no rules regarding false charges.  Or one may be jealous of a fellow student or fellow faculty member or one may be a distraught ex-boyfriend.  The list can go on and on.

The world of Yale is no different than the worlds beyond the walls of ivy.  The small minded are everywhere.  The paranoid are everywhere.  The sexual zealots are everywhere.  The question is whether they will be allowed to takeover Yale and recreate Yale in their image.

For my prior posting on the Zeta Psi fraternity controversy, click here.

The dankprofessor will also be reporting on prior incidents of sexual hysteria at Yale and on a faculty member who was subjected to said hysteria.

December 15, 2009 - Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, fear, higher education, sex, sexual harassment, sexual policing, sexual politics, sexual rights, student professor dating, Uncategorized, Yale University

2 Comments »

  1. It makes Me sad to see all this fuss and attampt to regulaize
    all aspects of interaction between people in the academic world as well as in the rest of the society.
    I am a strong defender of human integrity and its My belief that most people know or feel when somebody stept over the line.I am aweare that whats o.k.is very individual and that fact speaks strongly against specific regulations.
    The only Big Brother I like is the novel by George Orwell!

    Comment by Walther Metzler | December 16, 2009 | Reply

  2. When I read the above article reprinted from the Yale Daily News, I too was struck by the odd concern of seeing that “policy changes offered in the report were legally feasible”. As far as I am concerned, ANY adverse action taken against a professor, or other employee, over consensual dating after school/work should be viewed as an egregious violation of said peoples’ Civil Rights! If this takes place in a public institution, you can throw in Constitutional Rights, as well!
    The proposed “rules” on “sexual misconduct” may include a man tactfully looking at a woman for what is subjectively thought to be “too long”!
    The Dankprofessor gives a credible scenario of the police state like mentality apparent in the development of informers. Let me ask the obvious question:
    With the sickening obsession over consensual dating and subjective incidents of “sexual misconduct”, will anybody at Yale have any time to learn academic courses??
    I will repeat what I said in my last post:
    An open challenge to the dating ban, hopefully by a respected, unmarried professor, should put the university on notice that this type of thing will not being tolerated. I wonder if the school would seek to punish said respected professor, ignoring his academic value to the institution? If it does, this, or any professor/employee should have backing for a legal challenge, or else find a law firm which is willing to take his case on a contingency basis.
    I am Catholic, and appreciate the upbringing I had to respect women. However, the Church’s dogmatic stance on sexual matters is unhealthy, something which most Catholics agree on today. Just look at the lines of people going to Confession: they are much shorter than they were when we were kids. I know the reason too: Catholics don’t feel they have to run to Confession every time he has sexual fantasies involving Jennifer Aniston, or she fantasizes over Brad Pitt! The same applies to looking at Playboy/Playgirl.
    The “politically correct” mentality at some universities, including Yale, is attempting to bring us back to those days when most things sexual were considered “serious sins”! If professors, other school employees, and students stand up to this new repression, the powers to be should take notice, and reconsider their oppressive ways!

    Comment by Donald Visconti | December 19, 2009 | Reply


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