Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Sex at Yale

So Yale University has now formally banned sexual relationships between professors and ALL undergraduate students. Previously the ban applied only when the faculty member was in a supervisory relationship with a student.

It is this supervisory aspect that supposedly was the basic rationale for prohibiting student prof sexual relationships.  Such supposedly disabled profs from engaging in non-prejudicial grading and even if there was no grading problem such gave the appearance of a conflict of interest.  And those who were appearance obsessed argued that ultimately the integrity of the university was some how undermined.

The dankprofessor never bought into this as the real rationale. Academics were not and are not hung up on the importance of grading; in fact, grading occupies the low end of the academic totem pole.  It’s generally considered to be dirty work that can be farmed out to inexperienced teaching assistants.  What too many academics are hung up on is sex, particularly academics who see themselves as feminists, feminists who when they think about sex dread the existence of power differentials which are viewed as being omnipresent in heterosexual relationships.

So student professor relationships became the quintessential dreaded power differentiated relationships with the female student always being the helpless and victimized other in need of protection.  Or to put it in other terms, the new Yale ban is patently, openly anti-sexual; the anti-sexual brigades have taken over at Yale and in the dankprofessor’s opinion this is just the opening shot.

Just listen to Yale’s Deputy Provost Charles Long who has advocated student prof dating bans for many a year-  “I think we have a responsibility to protect students from behavior that is damaging to them and to the objectives for their being here.”  Obviously, people who think that sex is damaging are anti-sexual and would prefer to ban sex when such is possible.  And do note that Long makes no exceptions- he knows all that he needs to know- sex with professors damages undergraduates, end of story, no need to be concerned about students who do not want his protection.  No concern here about issues relating to consent or dissent.  Long has the power at Yale and he engages in power abuse par excellence in the area of sexuality.

The Yale undergraduate as child has no right to dissent when it comes to authoritarian Yale administrators. No matter that Yale students are considered cream of the crop, are widely held to be part of an intellectual elite.  These Yale students do not become full adults until they are Yale graduates.  The Yale mantra becomes wait until you graduate which effectively replaces the old traditional mantra of wait until you are married.

And no place in the new Yale policy is there any “grandfathering” clause.  A student and professor who are in an ongoing relationship which was consonant with the old policy now are in violation under the new policy. Breaking up may be hard to do but it is the only thing to do if one wants to stay in good graces at Yale.  OK, the student can drop out or the prof can resign.

And then there are those who say none of these dreaded things will come to be since the effect of the Yale policy will be to simply drive these people into the closet and in the closet they will be left alone.  Such represents the thinking of pipe dreamers.  The realists know that there is no shortage of Linda Tripps at Yale.  And they are waiting patiently for their right Yale professor and the right Yale student.  The “good” that these diligent informants can do is monumental; and all can be done in secret.  And I expect that Deputy Provost Long is prepared for the informants and the false chargers.  Or will he spare himself  by taking a flight into retirement?

April 10, 2010 - Posted by | consensual relationships, feminism, grading, higher education, sex, sexual rights, student professor dating, Yale University

1 Comment »

  1. The Dank Professor has done it again, and, as always, I wholeheartedly support him!
    This, along with his other writings, clearly shows the academic world to be dominated by liberal fanatics, who feel that there main, if not sole purpose is to protect female students from themselves, and imagined dangers!
    Have they all forgotten the doctrine of “consenting adults”? Have they all forgotten that Sexual Harassment Policies are there to discourage the actual and potential abuse which they dread? Have they all decided that people at “different power levels”, in an institution must be closet heterosexuals, if they wish to date? Have they all forgotten the notion of privacy, especially concerning who one sees after school, and off campus?
    As a never married guy, this issue has been of concern to me for years. As have previously said, these measures (dating bans) are so egregious that the best way to fight them may come down to open defiance! If one, or more couples, whose relationship crosses asymmetric lines, come out and publicly acknowledge that they are seeing each other, and “screw the college” concerning what we consensually do on our own time, the school will be forced to either crack down, or back off. If the school was smart, it would say that, so long as no coercion/sexual harassment is taking place, we will take no action. The administrators may appear to lose face initially, but they will gain sensible people’s respect, in the long run. If, on the other hand, they do attempt to issue sanctions against the professor, student, or both, there are a number of measures the couple could take, even if they appear to “cross the line”.
    I have previously mentioned the use of damaging information, against an administrator. If he is a married man, who cheats on his wife, has an outside income, which he is not reporting for tax purposes, or used recreational drugs, proof of these things can be used to leverage him out of meting out “discipline”. If the couples can persuade campus security of the legitimacy of their cause, then security can refuse to remove the professors from the campus, if they are fired or suspended. They can then proceed to class, as though nothing happened. The school would then have to decide whether calling the municipal police to remove the professors would be worth the negative publicity such a move would be bound to generate.
    Behind all such action would, of course, be the retention of a quality lawyer. If and when the matter reaches court, the couples could then promote their case as a latter day version of the Chicago 7 Trial! They should not harass the judge, the way Judge Julius Hoffman was harassed by Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Bill Kunstler, and the rest. Rather, they could generate enough media publicity to make the school out to be academic “Big Brother”. Hopefully, if it reached that point, public sentiment would go to the dating couples, and not the college.
    It is high time the state of fear and repression, promoted by many colleges today, was challenged out in the open. Otherwise, how long will it last, and to what level will the schools go to, in both regulation and enforcement? Individual Rights will hopefully trump “political correctness”! This is, after all, the United States of America, not Nazi Germany, or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics!

    Comment by Donald Visconti | April 13, 2010 | Reply

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