I Think, Therefore I Am a Sexual Predator

My take on the CU-Boulder sexual harassment scandal. In case you can’t tell, I could not be more delighted that these creeping motherfuckers and their hand-wringing, self-preservationist enablers got in wide, well-publicized trouble  [UPDATE: I DO NOT MEAN THE VICTIMS! My heart goes out to them! I mean the philosophers nationwide who are livid this report went public, when it should be going even MORE public] .

Fuck the academic boys’ club. Fuck it a lot. Oh, and I’ve already been accused of “fembigotry” and “misandry” in the comments, which fills me with glee. Glee. Schumanfreude, I tell you. Schumanfreude.

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25 thoughts on “I Think, Therefore I Am a Sexual Predator

  1. I want to write a song that just quotes “Fuck the academic boys’ club. Fuck it a lot.” over and over again. So wish my former dept would get this kind of attention.

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  2. Just curious. Do you mean to level your accusation of “hand-wringing, self-preservationist, enablers” to every member of the department? To the whole university? If not, could be a little more clear about who you have in mind?

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    1. Oh, I should be more specific! I mean every member of the department who is publicly upset that the report went public! “We were going to take care of it ourselves!” Uh, no you weren’t. I do *not* mean the victims.

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      1. I see.

        And I notice that you’ve removed the “I would be delighted to see the whole department burn to the ground.” Did you mean that it should burn with people inside or just that the department should be destroyed and everyone, including victims and “innocent casualties,” should lose their livelihoods?

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  3. Schumanfreude! hahaha,
    I liked this joke on Community. Some foosball enthusiast with a stock-German akzent says, “Iff only there vas some Wort for the pleasure I am feeling at your evident distress.”

    plus also, fuck the academic boys club.

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  4. Non related to your post, for that I do apologize, but I have no other way of reaching you (yeah, I should get on social media). Etiquette breach aside, this will be of your interest:

    Did you hear the outrage on “All Things Considered”? Rex Ramsier, vice provost at the University of Akron, actually saying that if all courses were given by full time faculty the cost of higher ed would increase by 40%???? Yeah, how about less inflated president and provost salaries??? What about asking TT folks to teach more and take less semesters off and sabaticals?

    http://wnpr.org/post/part-time-professors-demand-higher-pay-will-colleges-listen

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    1. Interesting claim.

      So what about the faculty who have been fighting to make the administration’s sexual harassment sanctions more severe for years, holding events to foster an improved climate (which is separate, but related to harassment), and the leadership of the department that has been trying to find funds to foster inclusion in the department? These people seem to be obviously committed to improvement and taking ownership of the department…and they’re all guilty?

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      1. Given their conspicuous lack of sucess in that endeavor, I have to conclude that they are nothing but fraudsters interested in little more than featherbedding their own little nests. “Find funds for inclusion”? They should fire the philandering philosophers first! Then they won’t need to look for funds – the funds will be freed up automatically. So I am not buying their “commitment to improvement” at all.

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      2. RE: George

        Ah, so you think that the firing is a decision that is in the hands of the department? It’s not. If it was, your wish would probably already have been granted. This is why many faculty, who feel the way you do, have been seeking more severe sanctions (e.g., termination). This is also why tenure policy is in question all over the place—many universities have tenure policies that make it difficult to fire someone for something like harassment (without launching a potentially large and expensive legal battle).

        And you’re also mistaken about funds being freed up automatically when someone is fired. At CU (and some other universities), positions (and their funds) do not belong to departments. They belong to the university as a whole. So, when someone is fired, the department has to put together a proposal to convince the administration that the position needs to be replaced. And when someone is fired in a department with climate issues, the administration very hesitant to provide extra funding (in any capacity).

        So it seems that some of your premises are false. If you improve your premises, does it modify your aforementioned conclusions?

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  5. Nick, my premises are not as faulty as they look. How many tenured philanderers… er… I mean, tenured philandering philosophers are there at CU? Let’s call it: 10. If 8 of them are fired (maybe we won’t be able to conclusively prove it for all 10, but surely for 8 out of 10?), CU would be hard-pressed to explain why the freed up funds should not be used to hire at least some replacements. CU won’t be able to seriously claim to have a real philosophy department with only 2 non-philanderers left. And keep in mind – they are only classified as non-philanderers because they haven’t been caught red-handed.

    So maybe they won’t hire 8 replacements, but they’ll hire 5 – already a huge improvement. If 3 of them are black, 4 are women, 1 is Hispanic (of the 4 women), and one Asian – we would be taking a big step forward. And, at last, CU will have a philosophy department it can be proud of.

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    1. Sure. But’s that just not the case. And as I already said, there is no guarantee that the administration would replace these positions. You are making assumptions about the facts (which are confidential) and about how things would work (even though you are not one of the people who would make such a decision and you do not have the epistemically advantageous vantage point they have).

      For example, you seem to think that there are lots of people who have been “caught red-handed.” Since the facts are confidential and the APA report is thoroughly vague, there is simply no way to know this. On what are you basing your sense of how many people have been “caught red handed”? Intuition? Is it just a guess? Do you know about some descriptive statistical analysis that no one else knows about?

      It is becoming increasingly clear that you hold your conclusions with a curiously strong sense of rigidity and certainty conclusions despite your lacking so many details. I am beginning to wonder if your conclusions are sensitive to evidence (or the lack thereof) at all. It seems like dogmatism from my perspective.

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      1. My conclusions are plenty sensitive – but where the evidence to the contrary? Where is the evidence to which my conclusions should be sensitive?

        The philanderers are hiding their shenanigans behind a wall of silence, tenure, and a power dynamic that favors them. The burden is on THEM to prove that of the 10 tenured CU philosophers, fewer than 10 are guilty of the offenses.

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      2. Wow, this is some pseudo philosophy befitting CU Boulder. I think George is being an anti intellectual putz here, FWiW. I’m fixing to delete this whole hostile thread.

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      3. RE: George at 12:44

        That’s just the point. There is no available evidence, in favor of your view or against it. All we know is that something happened. That’s it. We have no idea of its depth, breadth, severity, timing, etc. And you seem to know less than anyone at CU. So it seems that you are in the worst position to making the claims you have made. Thus, it seems that the sensible response from someone in your position is (i) moral outrage about the wrongdoing—which you rightly seem to demonstrate—and (ii) agnosticism about what can/should be done [until you have a better epistemic position than the department, the leadership, and the administration].

        As for your implied system of justice….In your implied system, all innocent tenured members of a department will have to violate the law and harm the victims (by identifying them and their situation) by releasing the only information that could possibly relinquish the burden you claim that they have. If this is the case then all innocents will have to do a great deal of harm just to satisfy your rather peculiar request.

        This hardly seems like a good idea.

        Frankly, I am glad that you are not in charge of our justice system. This guilty-by-unavoidable-association-until-proven-innocent seems like a rather sinister system of justice. And I hope, for your own sake, that you never find yourself subject to your own system of justice.

        If you can demonstrate how your epistemic position is somehow better than everyone at CU, and therefore justifies your claims, then perhaps we can continue. If not, however, then it seems that this conversation will have run its course.

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  6. I had to look up “epistemic”. And even after looking it up, I still don’t get the relevance of it.

    Epistemic or not, my position is simple: we don’t need to know anything more, with any more certainty than we already do, in order to pass judgment on the philandering philosophers – and to fire all 10 of them, if we have to.

    They are not guilty until proven innocent. They are just plain guilty.

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  7. Oh, and on the question of whether I have statistical knowledge about how many of the 10 philosophers have, or have not, been caught red-handed, common sense and logic dictate that if 50-year-old tenured philosopher X is shtooping a 23 year old grad student, and 48-year-old tenured philosopher Y is shtooping a 21-year-old undergrad, then you can bet your bottom dollar that 53-year-old tenured philosopher Z is not going to be epistemically far behind. If nothing else, Z doesn’t want to look foolish in front of tenured philosophers X and Y.

    I mean, come on, Nick. They are all in this together.

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    1. I hope I am wrong about this, but it would seem that your conclusions are currently immune to philosophical rigor. I wish we could have had a more sensible discussion. Good day!

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      1. Well, I don’t claim to be a philosopher. A philanderer, maybe (who among us is without sin, after all?), but a philosopher? No, sir.

        The way I see it, if one of the 10 philandering philosophers at CU had come up with something truly novel (philosophically speaking) during his tenure – like a whole new (pardon the near tautology) philosophy – then, OK, maybe I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. But that’s not the case, is it? There are no Aristotles or St. Thomas Aquinases there, at CU.

        So even if RS’s proposal is implemented 100%, it is no great loss to the world.

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  8. I’ve been surprised by how many people have directly experienced or have incontrovertible knowledge of sexual harassment on campus. A friend of mine back in grad school (ca. 2000), who is now on the TT at an R1, approached a campus clergy man for spiritual counsel and, perhaps, conversion to another faith. This man (surprise!) behaved in a completely inappropriate manner after gaining her trust– she was absolutely shocked and shattered. She never reported his sexual harassment but did find out that this man, who was feted that year (or one later) at his retirement, was WELL KNOWN to have a history of such behavior with women. Administrators at this private R1 VERY WELL knew this had happened for decades but did nothing. The shmuck in question? Retired comfortably, probably went on to inappropriately proposition other women (not sure if he’s dead by now…but hopefully).

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