The Culture that is Our Universities

Jan 22 2016 Published by under Uncategorized

I received this from a friend & colleague from the University I was at n-2 ago.

On another front, [collaborator of f & c] in Engineering told me that ... his daughter was also* raped by a [arts college] student.  When she appeared before an all male panel, the comment was made that her father was a prof.  One of the other panel members said that they would make him go away, as well.  Likely why they are offering to buy him out. 

I am depressed. This is a University that is trying to position itself, sell itself, market itself as being "modern" and addressing the needs of a "diverse" student population.

One of the most salient things I've read about the Oscars is from Viola Davis:


Every rape is a problem. Every male professor who abuses their power is a problem. There may be a problem with the Oscars, but there is certainly a problem with the underlying system. The rape is wrong. The attitude that "we can make this go away" is in the "we" as much as it is in the "make this go away".  These issues reflect fundamental problems in our society that have to do with gender and race. The Oscars, the abuse of women in academia, these are symptoms (and symptoms can kill you) of a greater problem. Things are better than they were 30 years ago. But we have a long way to go.

*This is in reference to a case that we knew of that was a football player/frat party rape that was pretty much hushed up by the administration, with the end result of the female student leaving the university.

2 responses so far

  • Ola says:

    We just got done with a round of mandatory sexual harassment training at my large med center. The whole thing was farmed out to a company (online training, flash, adobe, silverlight, java, die die die!). Iif you were savvy enough to click their logo in the materials, you'd be taken to the corporate website. There it became clear that the sole purpose of said company was to "reduce our client's liability in the current litigious landscape". Ergo, the training was for no purpose other than to allow the institution to check a box saying "we provided training so it's not our fault", and thereby avoid being sued.

    It seems an underlying problem with many of these issues (not just sexual harassment, but safety training, in-service testing etc.) is that the main motivator from the institutional point of view is protecting themselves from lawsuits, rather than actually fostering a culture that prevents this shit from happening in the first place. All the leaders have to do is show they made an effort, and they're immune from lawsuits and can pin everything on the individual.

    As long as "bare minimum to protect or asses" is part of the culture of academic leadership, not much will change down in the ranks.

Leave a Reply