May 17, 2010

A psychologist at University College Cork is subjected to a "a 2-year period of intensive monitoring and counselling after discussing a scientific paper with a colleague."

The paper was titled "Fellatio in fruit bats prolongs copulation time," and Dylan Evans is accused of sexual harassment.
"There was not a shred of a sign of offence taken at the time," Evans says. "She asked for a copy of the article."

A week later he got a letter informing him that he was being accused of sexual harassment. Evans says the whole case is "utterly bizarre". The complainant's side of the argument is that she was "hurt and disgusted", and asked Evans to leave a copy of the paper with her as way of cutting short the meeting.

93 comments:

bagoh20 said...

I'm continually amazed at how slippery the slope actually turned our to be on such things. I would have thought we reached the bottom by now and stood up and looked back at how far we had fallen with some remorse.

Alex said...

Witness the death of science by a thousand cuts.

The Drill SGT said...

In the Medical school?

WTF do they do on rounds? put female patients in Burqa?

EDH said...

The paper was titled "Fellatio in fruit bats prolongs copulation time," and Dylan Evans is accused of sexual harassment.

Are you sure the paper wasn't entitled "Fellatio in fruity old bat professors prolongs copulation time"?

tim maguire said...

I'd like to hear more about this hurt and disgust. Just what about this paper hurt her? And why aren't the bats co-defendants?

damikesc said...

Hmm, this is doing wonders for feminism. Really. Easy to take female doctors...well, she is a psychologist, so "doctors"...seriously when, apparently, they are quite delicate flowers.

Did she get the vapors?

David said...

"The complainant's side of the argument is that she was "hurt and disgusted", and asked Evans to leave a copy of the paper with her as way of cutting short the meeting."

Then she went totally batshit.

Geoff Matthews said...

I'm not sure if bagoh20 is mocking the sexual harassment charge or the topic of the paper.

Both are equally comical.

rhhardin said...

It's the British medical system.

halojones-fan said...

This isn't as crazy as it sounds when you consider how much the psychologist is probably neglecting to tell us.

Allow me to suggest the actual scenario:

"Hey Rose, how's it going?"

"Fine, Evans, how are you?"

"Great, just great. Hey, you know something interesting? Turns out that every mammal species conducts fellatio. What do you think about that, now?"

"..."

"Turns out they all really enjoy it, too. Look, here's a scientific paper about fruit bats--"

"Whoa, look at the time, gotta run to a meeting. Just give me a copy, okay? I'll catch up with you later."

TheThinMan said...

Notice the Victorian/feminist (what's the difference?gets to remain anonymous while she drags his name through the mud. In a free society one is allowed to name, confront and cross examine one's accuser, who must bear the burden of proof, and be held liable for false accusations. The exceptions made for alleged rape victims has now been watered down to protect this little brat. Somebody needs counseling, alright, but it ain't Evans.

As damikesc points out, she's sending the message that women belong in the home and not in the rough and tumble of the working world, lest their delicate sensibilities be harmed.

Mr. Bingley said...

I'd tell the University President to blow me.

Dark Eden said...

Sexual harrassment is one of the only laws I know of where the guilty party's thoughts, motives and behaviors are completely irrelevant, and the only thing that matters is how the victim perceives you.

Obviously sexual harrassment is real and obviously abuse of sexual harrassment laws to destroy people is real as well.

The Drill SGT said...

rhhardin said...
It's the British medical system.


Both the British and the Irish (Cork is in Ireland) are probably issuing Fatwah's over that double slur :)

Shanna said...

That is kind of insane. I have to give a big FU to all the people who file these bogus claims of sexual harrassment because there are people who have legitimate issues and they just get lumped in with these idiots.

Pogo said...

Sounds like time for segregated workplaces, to protect the hothouse flower that is woman from the horrid beast that is man.

But seriously, it reminds me why I do not have discussions about non-work issues with any female employee or client ever ever ever.

You never know who has it in for you. And one word from a disgruntled female is sufficient to send you into therapy, or get you fired.

It's made work desolate and lonely, but I don't want to get fired for this kind of BS. I have found I make a pretty good robot. My lack of any discernible reaction to sexual humor from women is incomparable.

bagoh20 said...

"Both are equally comical."

There is nothing funny about fellatio. No matter who laughs, it's ruined. Much like a heated argument.

MadisonMan said...

If she's hurt and disgusted, why not say something then and there to her colleague. Wouldn't you think he'd appreciate it, given that he's going to be talking about this subject at conferences? Running to the Administration about something like this seems so immature to me. Why can't you fight your own battle Madame Professor?

And since it's obvious to her that this was harassment, wouldn't people at conferences hearing the guy's presentation think similar thoughts? Did they?

david7134 said...

I remember a time when a woman was offended she would slap the male. This seemed to be as acceptable means of communication and got the point across very well. Now when a woman is offended (real or imagined) she attempts to distroy the individual's life.

Perhaps this is a wake up call that women need to return to the sheltered world of the home and not be involved in the ruff and tumble world in general. I don't think that men will ever understand all the things that disgust women, so obviously there place is in another environment entirely.

Roman said...

It's a good thing such "talk" was not illegal back in the day. I would bs doing life...without parole.

Political correctness has never been my strong suit.

Original Mike said...

"But seriously, it reminds me why I do not have discussions about non-work issues with any female employee or client ever ever ever."

Yeah.

former law student said...

Was this out of the blue, or was there some history between the two?

Some men are just elderly enfants terribles, hoping to get a reaction from a captive listener.

Sounds like the "Long Dong Silver" story to me, though.

Pogo, how much time did you spend on fellatio when you were in medical school?

campy said...

Perhaps this is a wake up call that women need to return to the sheltered world of the home and not be involved in the ruff and tumble world in general.

Or we could get the men out of the world of work and let the women do it all.

You go, grrlz!

VW: fedaili fellatio every 24 hours.

edutcher said...

Because someone is "offended", we give up all speech that does not conform to their dictates?

Somewhere, Dr. Goebbels is laughing hysterically.

Pogo said...

"how much time did you spend on fellatio when you were in medical school?"

I don't kiss and tell.

As for classwork, perhaps one sentence in a book, and 15 seconds in the "sexual diversity" film we watched, which had an odd and off-putting art school vibe to it.

I realized for the first time what Shakespeare meant when he wrote "They surfeited with honey and began to loathe the taste of sweetness."

A student I knew got the cops called on him when he did a Pap smear once. Never could figure out what the young woman expected from a "full physical", and no charges were filed, but similar stories and experiences have taught me to completely avoid such discussions with women for any reason.

I refer them to women MDs. They never get in trouble, no matter what they say discuss.

lemondog said...

Bizarre. Weird. PC running amok in Ireland.

Dr. Evans letter providing context and appealing for petition support.

Subject: Please help me fight the sanctions imposed on me by University College Cork

Dear Colleagues,

The President of University College Cork, Professor Michael Murphy, has imposed harsh sanctions on me for doing nothing more than showing an article from a peer-reviewed scientific article to a colleague.

The article was about fellatio in fruit bats. You can read it online at http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0007595

It was covered extensively in the media, including the Guardian - see http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/nov/10/oral-sex-bats-improbable-research

The colleague to whom I showed the article complained to HR that the article was upsetting. I had been engaged in an ongoing debate with the colleague in question about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour, and in particular about the dubiousness of many claims for human uniqueness. I showed it the colleague in the context of this discussion, and in the presence of a third person. I also showed the article to over a dozen other colleagues on the same day, none of whom objected.

HR launched a formal investigation. Despite the fact that external investigators concluded that I was not guilty of harassment, Professor Murphy has imposed a two-year period of intensive monitoring and counselling on me, and as a result my application for tenure is likely to be denied.

I am now campaigning to have the sanctions lifted. I would be grateful for your support on this matter. I have created an online petition at:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/freedebate/

I'd be grateful if you sign the petition and ask your colleagues to do so. If you also felt like writing directly to the President of UCC, his address is:

Professor Michael Murphy
The President's Office
University College Cork
Cork
Republic of Ireland.

Your support would be greatly appreciated.

Dylan Evans
----------------------------------------------
Dr. Dylan Evans
Lecturer in Behavioural Science
School of Medicine
University College Cork,
Cork, Ireland.

PatHMV said...

There is, as one might expect, more to this story than Dylan Evans himself discloses in his on-line petition drive. The actual complaints filed by the woman who alleges he harassed here are here.

Among other things, she says that in the previous week he had insisted on discussing Casanova and his sexual prowess with her. Upon leaving a dinner party once, he hugged her "strongly," while rubbing her back, and kissing her on both cheeks, behavior which she found inappropriate. She indicates that she had previously told him, after other episodes of inappropriate touching and compliments on her beauty and her dress, that she did not appreciate such compliments.

Based on what she says, he sounds a bit of a creep who doesn't really understand interpersonal boundaries. She may be overly sensitive as well, of course, but there's definitely more to this story than Prof. Evans tells us.

Jason said...

When nerds flirt.

Alex said...

FLS:

Was this out of the blue, or was there some history between the two?

Some men are just elderly enfants terribles, hoping to get a reaction from a captive listener.


As usual the liberal assumes the man is guilty until proven innocent, and even then he's guilty.

Alex said...

PatHMV - so you just take her word for it that all that stuff happened? I'd like her to bring forward witnesses. Don't blame me if I just don't trust the bitch.

Calypso Facto said...

Holy bat BJs, Batman!

I see a new fruit bat avatar in Jeremy's future.

What I wanna know is did Dr. Evans at least buy the bat a drink before he performed his experiments? :)

Pogo said...

" She may be overly sensitive as well, of course, but there's definitely more to this story than Prof. Evans tells us."

Absent taped conversations, who knows what actually transpired?

But it reconfirms my idea to never ever discuss non-work issues with women; not worth the risk.

It's also why I quit volunteering as a grade school boy's basketball coach. It's far too easy to be accused of a crime. I'll pick up trash by myself instead, thank you; it never claims to have been molested.

Thanks, feminism, for the warm cuddly world you made. For yourselves.

Alex said...

Pogo - do you think the feminazis actually "get off" on destroying men?

former law student said...

I agree with PatHMV, but the university is using a bludgeon where a word to the wise may be sufficient. The points raised by the Union in its letter are well-taken.

There doesn't appear to be an avenue there for informal complaint resolution. Requiring someone who feels herself a victim to confront her tormentor is unreasonable. But there is no housemother to appeal to.

Alex said...

FLS - nice nice. So now the guy is a "tormentor" until proven otherwise. Gotta love PC!

Pogo said...

"There doesn't appear to be an avenue there for informal complaint resolution."

I think many people like the bludgeon as a tool, and abhor avenues for informal complaints. Bludgeons can be fun to swing around, and for women, there is no social cost in doing so, but instead receive active support.

Tom Carew said...

This is Ethical Relativism really run amok, and to the nth degree. Harassment may occur if an employee indicates to a colleague that they find some conduct offensive, and if that colleague then continues or repeats this conduct. But it is quite absurd to suggest that any offence can be committed simply because one party *feels offended*. And for any published academic article to be the subject of any complaint of harassment by an academic is crazy.
Why not E-mail your support to the REAL victim at d.evans@ucc.ie ?

PatHMV said...

Alex, I don't believe either one of them. You, however, seem to be taking Prof. Evans as telling the whole truth. I assert only that the situation is not as clear-cut as Evans, who is the one making a public cry for sympathy, makes it seem.

Having now read the complaint, his response, and the various responses of the university, my opinion is that he probably was a bit over-personal with her in social and professional settings, but that she did a poor job of letting him know he was crossing her personal boundaries. Then he suddenly one day starts talking about bat-fellatio out of the blue, and that was a bit too much for her, and she started bringing up all of her frustrations with him.

So based on looking at all the material available to us at this time, I think, as I said initially, that the situation is indeed more complex than Evans presented it, and that both parties share some blame here. He seems willing enough to own up and apologize for his part in any misunderstandings, which is a good thing, but the fact that so many apparent misunderstandings crept up to begin with makes me think he may not be very good at picking up some social cues.

TMink said...

Dark Eden said: "Sexual harrassment is one of the only laws I know of where the guilty party's thoughts, motives and behaviors are completely irrelevant, and the only thing that matters is how the victim perceives you."

Yep. And if the "victim" is borderline personality disordered, you are in a big fracking mess. Because those people do not think right, talk right, or act right. Or what if the accuser is a sociopath?

Most of the sexual harrasment policies are junk because of this fatal flaw Dark Eden so cogently pointed out.

Trey

Saint Croix said...

I misread it as "fellatio in fruit bars" and I thought, that is kinda rude.

former law student said...

for women, there is no social cost in doing so, but instead receive active support.

This guy's attentions make her uncomfortable, and she wants him to knock it off. How should she have proceeded?

PatHMV said...

Tom... this idea that showing somebody a scientific paper can't be considered harassment, just because it involves a scientific paper, is ridiculous. Context is crucial.

If I'm at a conference or having a professional discussion about the evolution of human sexuality, then yes, it's appropriate for people to be discussing the bat-fellatio paper. But if I'm a history professor and I try to bring it up with, say, this cute French instructor who I've got a thing for, then in that context the reference to the paper may be offensive.

I'm a lawyer. If I were to start discussing the court case of U.S. v. Guglielmi with a female colleague, there'd be a reason for doing so, and unless we were both working on an obscenity case together, the reason would probably not be professional. The mere fact that it's a court decision would not absolve me from responsibility if I used it in an attempt to make unwelcome sexual advances towards her.

former law student said...

And for any published academic article to be the subject of any complaint of harassment by an academic is crazy.


Even if she was a math professor? "Look, doc, there are pictures. Imagine if you could do that, how happy your hubby would be!"

campy said...

This guy's attentions make her uncomfortable, and she wants him to knock it off. How should she have proceeded?

Er, tell him?

bagoh20 said...

"This guy's attentions make her uncomfortable, and she wants him to knock it off. How should she have proceeded? "

How about: "Your sexual talk makes me uncomfortable. Please stop it or I need to stop talking with you."

Far more civilized that filing a complaint for such a thing, which to me is more like what a child does to empower themselves.

former law student said...

Er, tell him?

Apparently she tried, but the guy did not understand.

bagoh20 said...

"It's also why I quit volunteering as a grade school boy's basketball coach."

Same here. A few years ago I decided I wanted to spend a lot of my time helping somehow. I looking into things like coaching, Big Brothers of America, etc. I decided it was just to dangerous, so I decided to work with animals instead. They simply bite you and you both get on with life. Much more civilized and less vicious.

PatHMV said...

fls... as best I can tell from the various complaints and responses, I think there's some significant dispute over whether she ever really tried to tell him to leave her alone. According to the investigative report:

"There is considerable conflict of evidence in relation to interactions between the parties. Dr Evans has produced email evidence that casts serious doubts on some of the evidence of Dr. ______." She admitted to the investigators "that she was not sufficiently assertive in making clear her displeasure at his visits to her office or other behaviour."

So she clearly could have and should have been more assertive in telling him off. But I know a lot of women who are very cautious about telling creepy guys off so directly, because they've had experiences where doing so REALLY set creepy guy off in a major way... so they're cautious and really just try to avoid the guy without ever causing a big scene.

former law student said...

How about: "Your sexual talk makes me uncomfortable. Please stop it or I need to stop talking with you."


Let's look at his probable response, as taken from his writings: "What sexual talk? I was simply reading this paper when walking by your office (might explain why he keeps bumping into things) and thought you might find it interesting. (Why on earth would he have thought that?) It did not occur to me that a discussion of fellation might offend you, as it is a formal
publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. "

former law student said...

Pat:

In many cases even bad attention is good attention; people enjoy provoking a response from those whose buttons are easily pushable, etc.

I'm trying to figure out the payoff for her if she's not actually offended by what he said. What's the alternative explanation for her actions?

campy said...

It's just so hard for a woman to deal with those awful males. Better to just drop a nuke on any one who looks at her the wrong way.

Lem said...

I was brought up on sexual harassment charge by a co-worker.

At the time I didn't agree nor saw the need for the intervention by HR. I was in the grips of intense "love".. (or so I though) So when she asked me to stop leaving notes and asking to have lunch together - I did the opposite.. Acting on the idea that that is what a man in love would do.

Looking back later I realised that I had been given a window of opportunity and I had not seized it.. I completely missed it.

(Her parents were away and she asked me to stay over, I didn't. She asked me to the movies and I didn't make any moves.. stuff like that)

This story may in some respect resemble mine.

Pogo said...

@bagoh20: "They simply bite you and you both get on with life."
Hilarious. I'll stick with inanimate objects, myself. Somewhat less bleeding.

@TMink: "And if the "victim" is borderline personality disordered, you are in a big fracking mess."
You said it. You and I could talk for hours about that aspect alone, I'll bet.

Pogo said...

"What's the alternative explanation for her actions?"

Borderline.
(see above)

bagoh20 said...

I thinks it unlikely that it would have continued if she was clear about not liking it and if needed threatened him with the complaint. But not being clear and then filing a complaint is unfair, since it is also possible that she misread the situation too. We owe each other that decency before filing life destroying complaints for misunderstandings. It reminds me of road rage, where someone shoots at you for cutting them off intentionally when you probably never even saw them.

Sexual harassment charges are serious business and should not be used to avoid being honest and standing up for yourself. This has greatly destroyed our social trust of each other and as I said above leads to people to being unwilling to help one another, opting for the safer: not getting involved.

Lem said...

This guy is probably a dork.

Most women don't find them (us?) attractive.

former law student said...

I agree that the formal complaint process with its ponderous corrective action is overkill.

Informal networks need third parties you can enlist to explain to the person who makes you uncomfortable that they are making you uncomfortable.

Do you see why trying to do that on your own would result only in your feeling more uncomfortable?

PatHMV said...

FLS... I think they both may be a bit dysfunctional. Perhaps her motivation is also attention-seeking. Perhaps she actually liked past flirtations with the guy, and only got upset when he started letting her husband know about it. There's lots and lots of reasons women make false complaints about behavior like this.

On the whole, I'm tending to think the President overreacted, but it's possible that he has heard many more informal complaints about the guy, and decided to use this as an opportunity to take action.

In college, a female friend of mine once confided in me about a (nasty fat OLD guy) professor she had for an independent study course. He kept hugging her, and then progressed to sticking his hands in her back pockets as he did so. She was scared to file a formal complaint, because she needed a good grade in the class. At her request, I asked my boss, the dean of students, for advice. I described in general terms the professor's behavior, without providing any identifying information, not even the name of the department or college he was in. The dean immediately said: "Oh, that's Professor C______." He was right on the money. Apparently at least 6 different women had made informal complaints about him, but none wanted to be the one to make an official fuss about it (for fear, no doubt, of being criticized in the same tones as being used in this thread to condemn this woman). Because there were no formal complaints, there was no basis for the administration to take any action against him, even though his behavior was common knowledge.

It's a nasty business, sexual harassment. Once it's out there, the whole situation becomes so murky that nobody's likely to ever come out ahead, neither the accuser nor the accused. Both parties will be partially tainted, no matter what.

bagoh20 said...

"Do you see why trying to do that on your own would result only in your feeling more uncomfortable?"

I do, but that is her failing. She is not a child. We have a responsibility to deal with each other directly before getting others involved, especially the authorities. Personal timidity and weakness is no excuse for using disproportionate force. It's basically calling the cops because someone made you uncomfortable. "The larger the government, the smaller the citizen." It applies anytime we use the authorities to handle our own issues.

PatHMV said...

bagho20, I agree with your comment of 4:52pm. But as others have noted, that's sometimes much easier said than done, and can entail some risk in and of itself. Some men (and some women) do not handle direct rejection very well. Most women certainly do not want a reputation as a "trouble-maker," so they tend to acquiesce to inappropriate conduct from male colleagues until it just gets to be too much. I agree they should generally be more direct and up front, but if they do that TOO early, then they come across as too sensitive, and they get THAT reputation, so suddenly nobody invites them to the informal department gatherings.

I'm very glad I'm a man, for many reasons.

Fred4Pres said...

Bat Shit Crazy!

Lem said...

I find it interesting that this information (which is supposed to be confidential, or so I though) was made public.

I would tend to believe that the embarrassment of the accusation would favor a quiet handling.

Who let the cat out of the bag?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This guy's attentions make her uncomfortable, and she wants him to knock it off. How should she have proceeded?


That is a tough one FLS.

Without having read the whole complaint and speaking from experience as a woman who works in a "man's" world occupation and in the past have worked as the a construction firm with nothing but men, I have had to deal with this often.

If she gets too agressive about telling him to buzz off, the guy might become more than annoying. He might become a dangerous stalker.

First I would nicely....but sternly....and very bluntly inform him that I don't appreciate the topics of conversation or crude jokes.

Avoid being alone with him. The other guys usually will see that you are uncomfortable and tend to help you keeping him in check. On the other hand you don't want to go to the 'guys' for protection because it makes you look weak and there might be just another jerk off like the first one waiting to "help" you out.

Discuss with your boss....assuming your boss also isn't on the make and ask to keep the guy occupied or directed to stay away from you.

Bring your gun to work.

bagoh20 said...

Right now someone could be filing a career destroying complain against you for something you don't think you ever did. It would be nice if they asked you to stop it first and gave you a chance to explain or stop before filing that complaint, no? Otherwise the imagined wrong is the paramount, unassailable position until proven otherwise (guilty until proven innocent)? This is exceptional power to the irresponsible in my opinion. With this weapon available, it is very easy to dissuade someone from harassing you. If they still refuse then, by all means whip it out, but you don't shoot first and ask questions later.

former law student said...

What is socio-emotional processing disorder (SEPD)?

This is a third type of social developmental disorder. In SEPD, language is learned at a normal time and the development of many thinking skills is normal. However, some types of thinking that are believed to rely on the nondominant side of the brain are abnormal. In a right-handed person, the left side of the brain governs verbal language and is called the dominant hemisphere. The right side of the brain is called the nondominant hemisphere. It has an important role in nonverbal communication, such as "reading" body language and interpreting emotions. In SEPD, testing on standardized intelligence tests (measures of IQ or intellectual quotient) shows a verbal IQ at least 10 points higher than nonverbal IQ. Normally, verbal and nonverbal IQs are about equal. This means that people with SEPD may have normal or even superior verbal skills, yet may still have a lot of trouble with social communication. Conversations may often be one sided. The person with SEPD may carry on a monologue on a favorite subject and not be aware of attempts of his/her listener to interject comments. At the same time, they most likely do not recognize the frustration or other emotional response their listener is showing. Consequently, it is difficult for them to develop emotional relationships, friendships, and even normal interactions with coworkers.

Big Mike said...

I agree with MadMan (probably a first) and would be happiest if every woman simply followed the guidance of bagoh20. He's very on the mark (you are a "he," right, bagoh20?) when he writes "This has greatly destroyed our social trust of each other and as I said above leads to people to being unwilling to help one another, opting for the safer: not getting involved".

If some women want to hold sexual harassment charges over us men, then I don't see how any woman can complain when we men don't include them in our work networks. The downside risk is simply too great.

Now having said all that, and not being a dork myself*, I wouldn't discuss a paper about the sex habits of bat with a female colleague unless she's (1) doing research into copulation and (2) unlikely to find the paper doing her normal research activities.

________________
* Or so I assert.

former law student said...

bago -- that's why there should be an informal channel -- a secretary, a kindly older prof, someone who is respected as well as helpful by nature -- for people to turn to.

bagoh20 said...

I think a part of the problem is that harassment charges are often used as revenge or punishment against people you have another gripe with. Unfair boss, arrogant ass, he took your promotion, all kinds of stuff. It's a nice weapon for the cruel that can devastate your opponent while being legal, nonviolent, and often garnering you sympathy. Being male is not all it's cracked up to be anymore. I long for my cave and club.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Right now someone could be filing a career destroying complain against you for something you don't think you ever did. It would be nice if they asked you to stop it first and gave you a chance to explain or stop before filing that complaint, no?

Agreed. You have to make your annoyance, dislike or uncomfortable feelings known so the guy has a chance to stop being annoying.

Many people don't have very good social skills for whatever reason and need to be dealt with in a firm but blunt manner.

Quite often people in academia may have some version of Aspergers and no clue about what is appropriate or how far to push the envelope.

Women also have a tendency to think that others can read their minds when they are upset. The man should just "know" what they are feeling.

This drives me nuts and is why I can hardly ever work with women. I don't have time to play stupid guessing games....just say what you are thinking. Stop all the freaking drama.

Men at least can take the criticism or truth. Women are so touchy.

Still, you have to be careful not to be so cruel in your rejection of the guy or he might become a really big and dangerous problem.

Pogo said...

"why there should be an informal channel"

I wish that were so, but many businesses fear getting sued for not pulling out all available administrative responses at the first mention of "I'm uncomfortable with him."

And for good reason; other businesses have lost in the past.

Men are just kulaks; get used to it.

PatHMV said...

Bagho20, this is the part I disagree with:

"with this weapon available, it is very easy to dissuade someone from harassing you."

That's just not necessarily true. Harassers are not always rational people. Yeah, the threat is enough to make anybody who's truly innocent from having any further contact at all with the complaining party, but if somebody is intentionally being inappropriately sexual and/or offensive, then they undoubtedly already know that it's officially against the rules, and they either don't care what happens to them or believe that the system won't do anything to them.

Take the situation I described above. The professor is stuffing his hands down her back pockets during her independent study course. It's a purely one-on-one situation, there are no other witnesses. Imagine she says: "Professor C____, I find it offensive that you're putting your hands in my pockets. Please stop." Does that increase or decrease the chances of her getting an A in the independent study class? If he gives her a B or a C just because he's ticked off that she refused his advances, what recourse does she have? The papers and essay exams are very subjective, and so she's not going to have a viable grade appeal.

In the current context, if Evan is offended by being rejected, upset because she even thought he was being creepy, then perhaps he complains about her to others, calls her a trouble-maker when chatting with his fellow male colleagues. Tells them she's one of "those" women, so they better all be on their best behavior and walk on eggshells around her. Will that help her professional career? Nope.

Now yeah, if he actually is a decent and rational guy, then he merely apologizes when confronted and behaves better in the future. But if he was actually being offensive and insensitive in the past, what are the odds that he is a decent and rational guy? Put yourself in the woman's shoes when answering that question.

Pogo said...

"Put yourself in the woman's shoes when answering that question."

It's true, and as DBQ points out, there is warranted concern on the female's part.

What happens with irrefutable complaints like this is not good for society, though.

I was raised by my Mom and sisters to respect women. I learned in college that that ain't enough. I learned in med school and residency that I could very easily be out of a job being a nice guy.

So I became a robot, to a degree. Pleasant enough, or should I say I share pleasantries, but nothing more. No comments on looks, family, clients, other employees, relationships, and other generic human stuff. Superficial chatter. Weather and TV maybe, depending on the show.

Stare straight ahead.

Alex said...

Pogo - what a sad reality liberals have created for us. Reminds me of the eternal gray of the Soviet Union.

bagoh20 said...

"But if he was actually being offensive and insensitive in the past, what are the odds that he is a decent and rational guy? Put yourself in the woman's shoes when answering that question."

That's why I said if warning him does not work then make the complaint. No doubt in some cases it's obvious that he will need that. The thing is, usually it's not that clear and you could be making a mistake or at least doing far more harm to him than you wish, especially if all you want is for him to ask someone else out instead of you. The warning will cost you nothing and if it does, then you definitely have a case against him. That's what makes it such a powerful weapon. Even when someone is threatening your life, it seems to me that you should warn them before you shoot them, if you can. This is essentially killing someone's career.

bagoh20 said...

Pat,
The situation you describe with the professor seems easy. The girls get together and warn him in a letter. Any retribution by him would be seen as such and be incredibly stupid on his part. I think he would stop immediately. If not, he's too stupid to be teaching and needs fired, which would happen after the complaint by them all. Of course if they don't do that then they become complicit in any future assaults, IMHO.

paul a'barge said...

I'm with the female colleague on this.

And, I think the fact that the male professor did this while he was on the tenure track is an indication that he's an idiot and should find other kinds of work ... where he's alone most of the time.

Penny said...

The President's punishment was indeed out of line, given the results of external investigators' conclusions...that were put in writing and then sent to Dr.Evans. Let me repeat…”That were put in writing and then sent to Dr.Evans.”

There is no doubt in my mind at least, that both the President and the external investigators knew that what is put in writing could be read by nearly anyone that the accused chose to share with, and share he did. He shared with the internet.

There is also no doubt in my mind that there were many conversations “behind the scenes”, where those in a position to have to DECIDE whether what he said was true or whether what she said was true, have much more information than you or I do.

The mixed decision of the external investigators, coupled with what seemed to be an extreme punishment on the part of the President said this to me:

This was not the first time this guy got a complaint from a co-worker, but it WAS the first time that a complainant was willing to formalize it. It also says to me that this complainant was not the one they wished had filed a charge…hence the most narrow “guilty” they could find.

It was also telling that they made a point of saying that Dr.Evans’ “intentions” were not to offend.

There was a simple one liner earlier that was DEAD ON.



Jason said...
When nerds flirt.

He just might be a “serial Casanova”, if only in his own mind.

If YOU were the President of Cork University, would you be anxious to give tenure?

Wouldn't it make more sense, and also be more compassionate, to tell Dr.Evans he was being monitored for a period of time that EVEN a nerd would know was meant to give him a good 'ole time to get packin', cause he just didn't "fit in" at Cork.

paul a'barge said...

halojones-fan is right.

PatHMV said...

Bagoh20... where did I say those 6 women knew each other, or were even all in school at the same time? To the best of my knowledge, none of them knew that the others existed, nor were all of them in school during the same periods. Some may have overlapped, but not all by any stretch.

This wasn't a situation where the professor was harassing 6 students all at the same time. He was assaulting my friend in private, during an independent study class.

Should the administration have violated the privacy of the students who made informal complaints, and told them that each other existed? Called up the now-graduated students and said: "hey, there's been another informal complaint against Professor C_____. Are you willing to make a formal complaint now?" And how much credibility would such a process have, in the end? It would in fact look like some administrator was out to get the faculty member by drumming up formal complaints.

I'm a lawyer and have dealt with these issues on both sides in the actual real world, rather than the purely political world which folks like Alex seem to live in. It's a complicated, messy, ugly world.

Penny said...

Many here believe that the sexual harassment law is way over the top, and that's because it boils down to "feelings".

Rest assured that those in charge of needing to ACT on formalized complaints of someone's "feelings", BY LAW, are even more outraged than any commenter's here.

They just can't say that, of course.

former law student said...

I do, but that is her failing. She is not a child. We have a responsibility to deal with each other directly before getting others involved, especially the authorities.

I'm thinking she has tried but the guy just didn't get it, because he is seriously lacking social skills. His replies betray a lack of awareness of how she's been responding to him -- he can't tell a hearty appreciative laugh from a nervous, please-get-out-of-here-now laugh.

If she made several good faith efforts to no avail, what's her recourse?

Why is he popping into other people's offices, anyway? Nerds don't appreciate one bit having their space invaded by people with time to waste.

The more I think about this guy, the more the President's proposed corrective action seems correct. This guy may have to have reality beat into him every day.

Dark Eden said...

fls: Do you see why trying to do that on your own would result only in your feeling more uncomfortable?

I definitely see that. Do you see how open to abuse the current system is against men?

Penny said...

"Do you see how open to abuse the current system is against men?"

Yes, of course, if that is your premise.

It would be interesting to have some statistics on whether that has turned out to be the case. Are these claims filed against men in large numbers, or do we assume that they are to suit the premise?

It's an odd bit of irony that most of us FEEL that a law based on FEELINGS is, on its face, unfair.

MC said...

As PatHMV himself quotes, the claims of incidents of sexual harassment other than showing this woman the article are highly dubious as they are apparently contradicted by email evidence.

"There is considerable conflict of evidence in relation to interactions between the parties. Dr Evans has produced email evidence that casts serious doubts on some of the evidence of Dr. ______."

The investigation apparently cleared Dr. Evans of any misconduct relating to anything other than showing this woman the scientific article about fruit bat behavior, an article that was relevant to a discussion they were having.

This punishment for 'sexual harassment' is nothing but completely ridiculous.

bagoh20 said...

I can see from some of the comments here just how the injustice of such law develops. People are suggesting they know this guy's personality and that he obviously has a track record of such things even though I don't see that indicated. He's a virtual stalker or he's got a mental illness. This is what happens. The accusation is enough, because everyone has seen his type, at least on TV if nowhere else.

My own bias informs me that the President did not find anything purposefully harassing about his behavior as per the ruling. Then under the unwritten social pressure of supporting the "victim" and the concept of sexual harassment as a terrible evil that we all must empathize with, he needs to do something to prove his empathy. And in this arena, he can even when the findings say innocent, because he can and whose side do you want to be on in a college career.

Of course I don't know the truth either, but I feel obliged to support the other side when everyone assumes this crime based on just accusation, which is often the case, And also since I often hear people express the belief that sexual harassment is anytime that a man makes you uncomfortable at work because he's un-neutered.

PatHMV said...

bagoh20.... in fact, you supported him immediately, based on Prof. Althouse's quotation from a self-serving on-line petition that Prof. Evans himself started. My initial post was simply to point out that there was, in fact, more to the story than he initially said. While there is plenty of room to debate who may have been right and wrong in the situation, the additional detail shows that this is not proof of the idea that we should have "reached the bottom by now and stood up and looked back at how far we['ve] fallen with some remorse."

Many people here have in fact leaped to the conclusion that she's some sort of lying, super-sensitive professional offense-taker. The evidence doesn't support that conclusion, either.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

One of the challenges on the TV show 'Minute to Win it' is called 'Don't Blow the Joker', which seems like good advice for batman, who has a thing for bats, which brings us back to the subject of this post.

bagoh20 said...

Pat,

My immediate response and the rest were in reference to the law in general, not these particular people. But regardless of all the rest, I do automatically side with the accused in these cases, because the the correct position is innocent until proven otherwise. And the punishment for the accused is often dealt out regardless of innocence. The motivation for abuse of this process is as limitless as human disagreement, envy and vengeance can produce. It is a poison to our society to have such legal processes in my opinion, that ignore basic principles of fairness. The finding was no harassment and yet the punishment was delivered anyway. That is the bottom of the slope I referred to originally. I don't even understand your disagreement with me unless you think the professor that you describe with his hands in the student's pockets should be punished without anyone even being willing to file a complaint. Maybe that is the actual bottom of the slope. If so, I have to ask why have YOU not punished him yet?

c3 said...

Pogo;
odd and off-putting art school vibe to it.

You must have had the same film we had.

former law student said...

The finding was no harassment and yet the punishment was delivered anyway.

The finding was "creepy geekman needs training to avoid giving offense." The "punishment": training and monitoring.

This is basic HR stuff to deal with problem employees. If he stops acting like a weirdo, they will keep him on.

Penny said...

"The finding was no harassment and yet the punishment was delivered anyway."

If the released documents are the real deal, the external investigators dismissed some of her complaint, but did uphold her complaint about his office visit to "discuss the research".

According to the documents, because it was believed that Dr.Evans never intended for the woman to feel compromised in any way, the situation was resolved by monitoring and additional training instead of moving him into the disciplinary process, which would have been a much harsher punishment.

It's also important to note that the outside investigators did not find the complainant's charges to have "malicious" intent.

It will be interesting to see how the university responds to this petition with their hands tied behind their back because of employee's privacy rights. It will be even more interesting to see if any "anonymous" work mates take to the internet to share their views about the complainant or Dr. Evans. In any case, opening this up to the internet is a very BOLD and RISKY move on Evans' part.

Largo said...

Was the president's characterization of the situation factually correct or incorrect with respect to charged of "sexual harassment" in light of what the investigators found, and what the investigators dismissed?

I believe that the professor was criticizing how the president publicly construed public documents, not a case of he-said she-said.

bagoh20 said...

If you want to see what is wrong this is, just imagine if the sexes of the parties were reversed. It would be a silly complaint and a foolish process, as it should be seen in a society of truly equal female colleagues rather than simply "empowered" ones.