Guess who’s sexist now?

I’ve just read about the feminist smackdown on UC Boulder’s philosophy department (H/T). This is why I wouldn’t blame my department for firing me if word of my blogging activity ever got out. The consequences of being accused of having a hostile environment (meaning, among other things, one with any intellectual diversity) can be ruinous.  These guys are lucky that their beer drinking and student “ogling” only cost them a year in graduate admissions, mandatory indoctrination, replacement of the department chair (who, if he’s like most professors, secretly sees this as a reward), and of course their reputation (with all that implies about future grants and student admissions).

How painful it must be for those philosophers, though, given that they’re presumably all liberals and feminists!

Incidentally, I am gratified that, even in this libertine age, lots of people are still scandalized by the idea that college professors can be sexually attracted to their students.  We teach a whole lot of 18-22 year-0ld women, and girls that age can be very pretty.  Not that I’ve noticed, of course.

4 Responses

  1. I first read about the UC Philosophy imbroglio at Maverick Philosopher, and have been interested in the story ever since. The charges are all rather vague but seem to come down to possible disparagement of feminist philosophy, scheduling that was not always “family friendly,” and some amount of boozy lechery. It is pretty easy to see how these three parts fit together. Professors get boozy at hours when small children should be in bed, and when in their cups naturally loosen the fetters of professional and sexual self-control.

    That the professors of the UC Philosophy Department walked into this trap is strong evidence that the professors of the UC Philosophy Department are either not all that smart or that they are the most abstracted and unworldly eggheads ever to tread God’s green earth. While these doofuses quaffed, roared and leered, the feminist snuck up from behind and took them out with a blackjack. A cardinal rule of life is: never unbend in the presence of your enemies.

    I expect that the UC Philosophy Department is now, or shortly will be, in the hands of its feminist philosophers. How many new “lines” must be approved to atone for this sort of thing, how many assistantships and fellowships, how many administrative appointments, monetary subsidies, and rules. Quite a few, I would guess. Well, Boulder’s a nice place and the men can all move to University of Nebraska. Maybe someone will mail them care packages of Colorado marijuana.

    I don’t think your position is equivalent, although there are, no doubt, many people who would treat it as if it were. You have gone to considerable lengths to separate your professional and on-line identity. You have done no harm to the reputation of your institution, you have brought no rancor to your department, and you have directed no censure against your colleagues. You wear, as we used to say, “the mask.”

  2. Hi JMSmith,

    You know more about it than I do, then. From what you say, the alleged infractions still sound very minor, certainly not proportionate to the punishment. Mostly it sounds like an ordinary case of feminist harpies not liking normal male camaraderie. I hadn’t heard about possible “disparagement of feminist philosophy” until now, though. So perhaps there was an element of ideological purging going on? That would be encouraging, because it might hint at the existence of pockets of dissent from within academia. I’m sure you’re right about the consequences; Boulder will probably end up having on of the most feminist-dominated philosophy departments in the country.

  3. Apart from the alleged ogling, I understand that the alleged infractions were of the not-so-warmly-welcoming-as-they-might-have-been sort. It is not clear whether the complaints that triggered the inquiry were similarly general, or if specifics were removed from the report to preserve anonymity. As is so often the case, preservation of anonymity becomes an excuse to punish everyone equally.

    A professor of French literature has been brought in as interim chair, and the notice announcing his appointment states that the entire department must undergo “mandatory training on issues of sexual harassment; bystander intervention training to aid individuals in confronting acts of discrimination when they are observed; and focused, facilitated workshops to improve faculty collegiality and the scholarly climate in philosophy.” Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

    What is really appalling is that more than a few innocent schmucks will be subjected this “mandatory training,” and these “focused, facilitated workshops.” I presume they will be put through “bystander intervention training” because most of them were “bystanders.” In fact, I presume that more than a few of them were untenured bystanders

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