[FoRK] The Great Prohibition - Title IX craziness

Damien Morton dmorton at bitfurnace.com
Tue Jun 2 00:41:03 PDT 2015

Why is professors dating students icky? And, to who?

Clearly its not icky to the students and professors who are involved with
each other.

Obviously there are issues of propriety, such as not being romantically
involved with students over which you have direct power - that is, the
students the professor has marking power over.

My theory, is that the "ick" factor is something that older women teach as
a way to preserve their dating pools.

On Sat, May 30, 2015 at 10:00 PM, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:

> Is even talking about it abusive?
> A 60 year old dating a 21 year old is disconcerting.  A 27 year old
> professor dating a 23 year old student, not so much.
> Can you factor out age gap ick from professor / student ick?  Are there
> different varieties of professor / student ick?
> sdw
> On 5/30/15 11:47 AM, Gregory Alan Bolcer wrote:
>> Professors dating their students is icky.
>> Greg
>> On 5/30/2015 11:19 AM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>>> Way overboard.  Hopefully we'll work our way back, keeping in mind the
>>> extremes that we've already visited.
>>> http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/05/29/laura_kipnis_title_ix_investigation_feminism_political_correctness_controversy.html
>>>  Title IX Investigation Opened Against Female Northwestern Professor
>>>> Over Column, Tweet
>>>> Laura Kipnis during a 2014 interview.
>>>> In February, Northwestern film professor and liberal cultural critic
>>>> (and occasional Slate contributor) Laura Kipnis wrote an article for
>>>> the Chronicle of Higher Education called "Sexual Paranoia Strikes
>>>> Academe." Kipnis' piece was critical of what she called the "layers of
>>>> prohibition and sexual terror" that have inspired campus rules
>>>> prohibiting romantic relationships between professors and students.
>>>> Wrote Kipnis:
>>>>     It’s the fiction of the all-powerful professor embedded in the new
>>>> campus codes that appalls me. And the kowtowing to the
>>>> fiction—kowtowing wrapped in a vaguely feminist air of rectitude. If
>>>> this is feminism, it’s feminism hijacked by melodrama. The
>>>> melodramatic imagination’s obsession with helpless victims and
>>>> powerful predators is what’s shaping the conversation of the moment,
>>>> to the detriment of those whose interests are supposedly being
>>>> protected, namely students. The result? Students’ sense of
>>>> vulnerability is skyrocketing.
>>>> Later in the piece, she argued that students "so committed to their
>>>> own vulnerability, conditioned to imagine they have no agency, and
>>>> protected from unequal power arrangements in romantic life" will
>>>> struggle to deal with the problems and conflicts of the real world.
>>>> On Friday, Kipnis published another piece in the Chronicle, revealing
>>>> that, in a twist that's ironic on more than one level, she is now the
>>>> subject of an investigation into graduate student complaints that her
>>>> earlier column and a subsequent tweet violated Title IX, the law that
>>>> prohibits sex descrimination in education. Her piece, in addition to
>>>> pointing out the absurdity of being charged with discriminatory
>>>> behavior because of an essay, alleges an investigatory process that's
>>>> ridiculously opaque for the accused:
>>>>     I wouldn’t be informed about the substance of the complaints until
>>>> I met with the investigators. Apparently the idea was that they’d tell
>>>> me the charges, and then, while I was collecting my wits, interrogate
>>>> me about them. The term "kangaroo court" came to mind. I wrote to ask
>>>> for the charges in writing. The coordinator wrote back thanking me for
>>>> my thoughtful questions.
>>>> One of Kipnis' accusers was alluded to, though not by name and
>>>> seemingly without rancor or judgment, in Kipnis' first piece. This
>>>> accuser apparently said Kipnis' allusion to her was "retaliatory" and
>>>> believes the above-linked tweet refers to her, which Kipnis says is
>>>> not the case. The other accuser was not mentioned at all in Kipnis'
>>>> essay but is said to have brought charges "on behalf" of the
>>>> university and two individuals who were referred to anonymously in the
>>>> first piece.
>>>> Kipnis was not allowed to have an attorney present during her
>>>> interview with Title IX investigators, she writes, but she was allowed
>>>> to bring along another faculty member as a "support person" provided
>>>> that the person she brought did not speak. That support person later
>>>> discussed Kipnis' situation at a "Faculty Senate" meeting—and has
>>>> subsequently been accused of, yes, committing a Title IX violation.
>>>> Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.
>>> https://chronicle.com/article/Sexual-Paranoia/190351/
>>>> "I don’t quite know how to characterize the willingness of my supposed
>>>> feminist colleagues to hand over the rights of faculty—women as well
>>>> as men—to administrators and attorneys in the name of protection from
>>>> unwanted sexual advances," he said. "I suppose the word would be
>>>> ‘zeal.’" His own view was that the existing sexual-harassment policy
>>>> already protected students from coercion and a hostile environment;
>>>> the new rules infantilized students and presumed the guilt of
>>>> professors. When I asked if I could quote him, he begged for
>>>> anonymity, fearing vilification from his colleagues.
>>>> These are things you’re not supposed to say on campuses now. But let’s
>>>> be frank. To begin with, if colleges and universities around the
>>>> country were in any way serious about policies to prevent sexual
>>>> assaults, the path is obvious: Don’t ban teacher-student romance, ban
>>>> fraternities. And if we want to limit the potential for sexual
>>>> favoritism—another rationale often proffered for the new policies—then
>>>> let’s include the institutionalized sexual favoritism of spousal
>>>> hiring, with trailing spouses getting ranks and perks based on whom
>>>> they’re sleeping with rather than CVs alone, and brought in at
>>>> salaries often dwarfing those of senior and more accomplished
>>>> colleagues who didn’t have the foresight to couple more advantageously.
>>>> Lastly: The new codes sweeping American campuses aren’t just a
>>>> striking abridgment of everyone’s freedom, they’re also intellectually
>>>> embarrassing. Sexual paranoia reigns; students are trauma cases
>>>> waiting to happen. If you wanted to produce a pacified, cowering
>>>> citizenry, this would be the method. And in that sense, we’re all the
>>>> victims.
>>> sdw
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