Saturday, May 25, 2013

DOJ Institutes Indiscriminate Sexual Harassment Law For Schools and Universities

This is utter insanity.

Personally, I've seen rules and laws like this deployed against legitimate sexual harassers at universities exactly zero times, whereas I've seen them used for leverage against innocent people man times. I've never seen any one actually convicted, but I've seen threats of them used to cow political opposition, punish thoughtcrime and settle personal grudges. There are, of course, limits to the evidential weight of personal experience with respect to such issues...but that's mine.

These laws are irrational, unjust and dangerous. I don't know anyone--anyone--who thinks that sexual harassment is permissible nor should be treated lightly. But it is the height of insanity to make the criterion for guilt in any matter that someone, somewhere, reasonable or not feels uncomfortable. Universities are full of unreasonable people--some simply unreasonable by nature, some goaded to unreasonable reactions on the basis of crackpot theories. Subjective discomfort (or the pretense thereof) simply cannot be taken this seriously.

I've seen a perfectly innocent person taken to a department chair over one, single perfectly innocuous off-handed, humorous comment, made in public, in which the sexual content was virtually nil. We're not talking a pattern of abuse, we're not talking anything crude or "offensive," we're not talking anything that any reasonable person could ever honestly find harassing. And yet this person was called on the carpet and threatened with action.

My own words an actions are always scrupulous beyond scrupulous in this respect, and even I was obliquely threatened with action in grad school because I disagreed philosophically with extremist feminists in the department. Yep: philosophical disagreement over philosophical issues in a philosophy department were deemed by some as ground for "hostile environment sexual harassment." In case you somehow have any doubts about the utter insanity of this, remember: my disagreements were from the perspective of liberal feminism against radical feminism. But even that was said to be "denigrating women's research projects" (to use their exact phrase).

Make no mistake about it--laws like this are insane, illiberal, unjust and antithetical to the ideals of free thought and free expression. They are antithetical to the ideals of the U.S., and antithetical to the ideals of the university in particular.

(via the Post and God help us George F. Will)

2 Comments:

Blogger The Mystic said...

Don't you ever get tired of mansplaining your painfully transparent misogyny?

"Personally, I've seen rules and laws like this deployed against legitimate sexual harassers at universities exactly zero times, whereas I've seen them used for leverage against innocent people man times."

"Man times," huh? You just can't even contain yourself.

And all that to write a post that delegitimizes sexual harassment survivors in typical male fashion.

I am shocked. SHOCKED and appalled.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish more people would wake up to the injustice of the current laws. Your correct that they are abused. I work in a corporate setting and am female. Fireproofing is easy simply go to HR claim harassment and your untouchable who cares if you destroy a career to save yours...

8:29 AM  

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