Educator sex: the oppressor professor versus the prudent student
ITEM While I was working on Why Men Are the Way They Are at a University of California library tr San Diego. I heard some panting from a nearby office. Of course. I refrained from looking (!). but it |ust so happened that the curtain was left slightly open (ah. for the slippage of spontaneity), exposing a professor and a student who were. . . well. . .
Had I reported them, who should have been punished? (You can choose more than one.)
1. No one – they were two consenting adults
2. If she was 17, the professor – for statutory’ rape.
3. If she was 18, the professor – for sexual harassment.
4. Because of their roles, both – for a type of incest ( “educator incest," which gives her potential academic advantage over other students).
5. The female student should at least be tried for the possibilities of sexual bribery’, student prostitution, and educator incest.
All these are possible approaches to educator sex. But as of now, whether she or I report the incident, she is helped and he is ruined.
Educator sex does create some of the same problems as workplace sex. But lawsuits are not the solution. The legal system is adversarial; sex between men and women can be consensual. The law sees mostly black and white; males and females see nuance – and they don’t just see: they smell, hear, feel, and change their mind.
Now here’s the deeper dilemma. A professor told me of a female student who was failing and came to him near semester’s end, all upset and down on herself. They went to the campus pub to talk. Crying, she confessed to feeling stupid. He took her hand for a minute as he tried to reassure her she was bright and could make it
At semester’s end, though, she didn’t make it. Shortly after, she sued him for harassment with the testimony of a student who had seen them in the pub when the professor was “holding her hand and she didn’t appear too happy about it”! First thing next semester, he was tried and convicted in the campus headlines.
Three quarters of Harvard women prefer faculty who “get to know me personally.’’31 Which inevitably leads to a breakdown in objectivity. Are the women asking professors to give them academic favors while the university protects them from "sexual favors"?
fcin of the contribution of a university is the training to understand problems beyond the good guy/bad guy level or, in the case of educator sex, beyond the false dichotomy of oppressor professor/prudent student.