THE BLUE NOSE OF ACADEMIA II
Let me begin with another true case. A girl performs brilliantly in a humanities class during the fall semester. She seems to love the subject and admire the professor. She tells him she is unhappy with her practical major. She loves the humanities but her parents would not hear of her changing to that field. She particularly likes to write poetry and fiction. The professor offers to critique her literary work. She brings him one of her poems. He makes several suggestions as to how to improve it and shows her one of his published poems so she can see how he approaches writing poetry. They agree to meet again to discuss writing further. Before that happens, however, she becomes ill and is diagnosed with cancer. She cries inconsolably in his office, in a panic that she is going to die. The professor explains to her that her type of cancer is dangerous but treatable, which apparently her doctor had not made clear. The professor makes all sorts of allowances so she can complete the requirements for his class. Attendance is mandatory, for example, but he makes himself available for her to come to his office to discuss the course material at times when her treatment allows it, including a Sunday afternoon. During those meetings the girl often breaks down and sobs out of control. The professor is very sympathetic but also very restrained, for he is aware of the dangers posed by political correctness.
After the semester ends the girl goes back to her country of origin to receive the critical part of her treatment there. She writes to the professor that the treatment is not going well. The professor answers offering encouragement. During the next six months he sends her two short, compassionate messages, telling her that people back at the university are wishing her well and hoping that she will be back in the fall, arguing with others to her heart’s content. They are the e-mail equivalent of get-well cards. He does not receive an answer. He does not know whether she is dead, or too sick or too depressed to tend to her e-mail. Towards the end of the summer, as he drives around campus to get to a meeting, he thinks he sees her. Later he calls her phone and leaves a message to the effect that he hopes it is indeed her, for that would mean that the treatment worked. He does not receive a reply.
Later in the fall he runs into her when he is running to class. She tells him that the treatment has not been really all that successful but she is back anyway. He asks her to please stop by his office to give him more details, if she is up to it. Then he sends her an e-mail telling her when he is available for her to stop by. The professor feels a lot of compassion for his unfortunate former star student and is very worried about her.
Not long afterwards, the professor is told to see an administrator. The administrator tells him that the girl has filed charges of sexual harassment against him. The professor is shocked. There has been absolutely nothing of a sexual nature between him and this girl. Nothing. From him she has received, first, intellectual stimulation, and, then, kindness. What is the evidence? The he gave her a poem. And that he wrote her an e-mail even though she had not answered his previous two e-mails. The “evidence” is silly beyond belief. She does not point to any gestures or words by him that even remotely suggest “an act of a sexual nature,” as sexual harassment supposedly demands. But it doesn’t matter. He now has to respond to such bizarre, moronic accusations. Why would an administrator even bother with such silliness? Because if he doesn’t, the university could get sued. So he has to take the complaint seriously.
Had the girl tried the same stunt in her country of origin, or in most countries for that matter, she would have been laughed out of the place. Of course, had she not become corrupted by American academic culture, the notion would not have occurred to her. But it did occur to her. Compassion is one of the noblest of human sentiments. But in the climate of suspicion created by feminist political correctness, it is met with the worst of human sentiments: hatred.
I know of another girl who behaved in a similarly reckless manner 20 years earlier. Eventually the institution told her that her behavior had been highly irresponsible and, should it be repeated, it could lead to drastic consequences. 20 years later the administrator has to solve the “problem.” The professor has to agree to an “informal resolution” or else he has to put up with the scandal, a scandal in which he will be considered guilty by the “community,” even if he is actually found innocent. So he agrees. But it does him no good. The girl goes around telling everyone she meets on campus that he sexually harassed her. Girls are now afraid of him.
What should he have done instead? He should have sued her for defamation of character. But it is hard to sue someone who is suffering from cancer. Compassion wins again. And compassion loses again.
Welcome to the blue nose of academia. Accusations could be completely crazy and yet they have to be taken seriously. Indeed, they need not be accompanied by evidence, not even by made-up evidence. In the case I have narrated, what the girl brought up was laughable. Laughable. This feminist hysteria has led to the firing of many decent men, as I have mentioned previously. To be fair, it has also led to the firing of a few decent lesbians too.
To make matters worse, such hysteria extends even beyond sexual harassment to “date rape.” At another university a girl accused a boy of “date rape.” It was her word against his. The university promptly expelled him. But someone who is too dumb to understand the nature of political correctness went to the police. The girl ended up telling her story to the police. They started an investigation. The investigation led to an arrest warrant against the girl. Obviously the police believed that she had lied. Even then the university administration refused to reconsider the expulsion of the boy.
First you create a climate of suspicion against men. They are out to sexually harass college girls. The poor darlings have to exercise constant vigilance. So accusations are going to come easily. It is practically a duty. And then self-righteous administrators take over. Professors get fired. Going to court is not a very hopeful proposition. We have already seen how the courts set the constitution aside in their trumpeting rush to come to the aid of the “victims.” Some day we will be ashamed.