Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Bound and gagged at the University of New Mexico

So apparently the beat goes on and on and on at the University of New Mexico in regards to what the the Daily Lobo now refers to as creative writing professor Lisa Chavez posing in sexually suggestive photos with a student.  Prior descriptions have been Chavez engaging in an s&m oline performance with a student or students whose student status had expired at the time of the performance. 

No matter that the so-called student protested that the performance was consensual and that she was not a student at the time of the performance; no matter that the UNM administration concluded that the performance was irrelevant to the mission of the University of New Mexico, and that UNM would not intervene to punish, censure or do anything in reference to Lis Chavez.  No matter since English department chairman David Jones resigned Wednesday after battling turmoil within the department for nearly a year.

Convincing the English department faculty that Chavez’s out of class performances were of no relevance to her performance as a creative writing professor would be similar to convincing Republicans that Sarah Palin’s performance as a mother and specifically as a hockey mom was of no relevance to her being competent to be Vice President.

In the dankprofessor’s opinion, the UNM faculty reaction to Chavez and the Republican reaction to Palin represent the worst of the worst pulp fiction. But pulp fiction sells, and the English faculty just can’t get beyond their fictive and apparently salacious imagery of the Chavez performance.

So now that David Jones has resigned as Chair of the English Department, he has “refused to to discuss his resignation further, publicly or privately.”  Such appears to be a wise decision to the dankprofessor.  However,

“some faculty members expressed outrage after Jones sent an e-mail Tuesday that lists “ground rules” to abide by during the meetings.

The e-mail asks members of the department to maintain confidentiality, “not discussing specific comments/events in the department with the press or in a legal context.”

One tenured faculty member said she and other faculty find the confidentiality clause appalling.

“The ‘facilitated discussions’ are a facilitated muzzling or gagging,” she said.

She said the rule violates faculty members’ First Amendment rights.

So the English faculty does not want to be bound and gagged. But isn’t it the case that at least some of this faculty want Lisa Chavez to be bound and gagged?  Or to put it another way- they want UNM administrators to bound and gag Lisa Chavez, they want others do the dirty work for them.

If there was a a basic respect for freedom of expression amongst the English faculty at UNM, no turmoil would have occurred.  Of course, the irony is that in programs such as creative writing such respect should be axiomatic.  But as Lisa Chavez knows, as open minded and creative faculty know, as the dankprofessor knows, nothing is axiomatic in university life.

September 15, 2008 Posted by | academic freedom, consensual relationships, ethics, higher education, lisa chavez, sadomasochism, Sarah Palin, sex, sexual politics, University of New Mexico | Leave a comment


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