Jackass of the Day

Alexander McPherson.

McPherson is a professor at UC Irvine, and he is bent out of shape because the University has the audacity to follow California state law and require that organizations employing more than 50 people provide sexual harassment training. Sexual harassment training, he says, is a disgraceful sham. The university asked him to attend the trainings for four years, and he refused. Now he’s angry that he is no longer allowed to supervise students. He writes:

What’s more, the state, acting through the university, is trying to coerce and bully me into doing something I find repugnant and offensive. I find it offensive not only because of the insinuations it carries and the potential stigma it implies, but also because I am being required to do it for political reasons. The fact is that there is a vocal political/cultural interest group promoting this silliness as part of a politically correct agenda that I don’t particularly agree with.

When someone makes it clear that he thinks telling people to stop sexually harassing women is “part of a politically correct agenda that I don’t particularly agree with,” his employer would have to be out of his mind to allow him to continue supervising large numbers of lower-level employees (and students). McPherson asserts that the training is “primarily designed to relieve the university of liability in the case of lawsuits,” as if that’s a totally invalid reason. Of course the university is trying to shield itself from law suits; it’s also trying to protect its students. That’s why they also have fire drills in the dorms and other buildings — they don’t want anyone dying in a fire, and they sure don’t want to get sued for it.

Are sexual harassment trainings universally enlightening? No, of course not. But they do spell out the rules and the law so that employees can’t plead ignorance. And that’s an important thing, considering how idiotic a lot of people can be. McPherson whines that “The imposition of training that has a political cast violates my academic freedom and my rights as a tenured professor.” How a training which simply tells employees how to comply with the law violates academic freedom and tenured professor rights is beyond me. How a disgruntled blow-hard employee got op/ed space in the LA Times is even more of a mystery.


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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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49 Responses to Jackass of the Day

  1. Cruella says:

    When I worked in an office we had to do sexual harassment training and the vast majority of people (a) considered it a waste of time and (b) spent a good week beforehand making jokes about how the course would teach you to be “better” at sexual harassment and “I don’t think I need a course, I’m pretty good at it already” [followed by pinching my bum or something] to hilarious effect. Then when we got on the course it turned out that it wasn’t in the least bit about stopping sexual harassment – it was all about NOT GETTING SUED. So it was a waste of time, but not in the way this a**hole is describing but a waste of time because it wasn’t taken seriously by anybody – teachers and managers included. I think they should do the course – taught by, well, people like me, people who take these things seriously, and anyone not taking it seriously – as reported by teacher, management or co-workers – should be required to do a much longer course in their own time at their own expense (and be demoted, and pay extra tax, and maybe have “SEXIST PIG” tattooed on their foreheads if they fail it a second time … but that’s just me). Well I’m exaggerating at the end there but there should be pressure to take it seriously.

  2. urbanartiste says:

    It seems to me the only academic who would be so vocal against this type of training is someone who dates students. Along with sexual harassment training they should institute cultural awareness seminars as well.

  3. Bagelsan says:

    FOOK! I saw this earlier, about the professor, and I was like “damn, that’s got to suck to be in his department.” And then just now I saw in your post that he’s a prof at UC Irvine, which happens to be one of the grad schools I’m currently applying to and I was like “oh, surely not–”

    SURELY YES. That little bastard is a prof of molecular biology/biochemistry! That’s got to have a fair amount of overlap with the immunology program I’m applying to… Sheesh. Small world.

  4. Rachel says:

    I’m in HR, and our organization gives sexual harassment training as part of the new hire orientation, rather than as a yearly event. We’ve found it’s the most effective way of avoiding this kind of flap: new employees are generally too keen to keep their jobs to protest, and we know we’ve covered everyone if they get it coming in the door.

    That being said, I have had my fair share of people complaining about it. My standard response is, “This is as much about teaching you how not to harass people as it is about teaching you how to recognize when someone is harassing you.”

    Honestly, I cannot for the life of me figure out why people complain about things that protect them. It’s like complaining about seat belts.

  5. Peter says:

    What’s more, the state, acting through the university, is trying to coerce and bully me into doing something I find repugnant and offensive. I find it offensive not only because of the insinuations it carries and the potential stigma it implies, but also because I am being required to do it for political reasons. The fact is that there is a vocal political/cultural interest group promoting this silliness as part of a politically correct agenda that I don’t particularly agree with.

    WTF is he talking about?

    Why does he feel something is being insinuated if he sits in on the training. I’m a State employee and I’m required to take driver safety and sexual harassment training. I never felt like anything was being insinuated. I’m not a bad driver, or a sexual harasser. I think its obvious that the training is supposed to be informative about knowing what the rules and limits are. And what you do if you find yourself being harassed.

    This guy is a moron.

  6. Renee says:

    He doesn’t want to attend the seminar because he wants to the freedom to harass. Of course he cannot take it seriously…why would a patriarchal idiot believe for one moment a woman should be able to work without daily being harassed by her co-workers? Notice that his argument is all about him and not about the people who are targeted and then become victims. This is nothing but a loud, whining privilege rant.

  7. arwyn says:

    I don’t like these programs. They feel like straight propaganda and I have not ever seen someone challenge one of their rules or suggestions without tacitly made to look like a thug. My husband brushes it off, but his experience matches mine. I despise this kind of crap. The hardest part is the overweening self-righteousness of those who dare to criticize the setup.

    I think the above comments are flawed. Trying to prevent lawsuits is of course acceptable, but there is a difference between that and then feeling that your are being SET UP to take the fall. I dont’ know about all your experiences, but that is definitely how the subtext plays out in the workplaces I’ve been in. Nobody is fooled at all. I work for the state, and it was CRYSTAL clear what was happening when I had to watch my male coworkers endure this pabulum.

    And he is obviously not condoning any sexist behavior, on the contrary, he is opposed in principle to what is most likely the aggressive, politically correct subtext of harassment and diversity training.

    But I realize this is just us talking past each other. I, for one, continue to be pro-woman, but I will never call myself a feminist until this kind of crap is swept away.

    In principle this stuff sounds good, but I’ve never seen it carried out right.

    And of course I disagree with the tired ad hominem rhetoric of accusing someone you disagree with as ‘whining,’ and a ‘blowhard.’ Guess what, that’s how you sound to the other side, pontificating and all full of gas.

  8. Peter says:

    He doesn’t want to attend the seminar because he wants to the freedom to harass. Of course he cannot take it seriously…why would a patriarchal idiot believe for one moment a woman should be able to work without daily being harassed by her co-workers?

    That probably describes him to a tee.

    If he’s never even been to a sexual harassment training, why is he acting like he knows what goes on in them? I’ve been to probably a dozen trainings, as have probably many of y’all. There nothing being insinutated. Nobody is made to feel like a criminal. Its just information on limits, and procedures to follow if there’s a problem.

    Why would he feel like its being insinuated that he’s a criminal. Why? Because, you’re right: he probably is a sexual harasser.

  9. kaje says:

    Honestly, I cannot for the life of me figure out why people complain about things that protect them. It’s like complaining about seat belts.”

    Ego issues?

    Anxious masculinity?

    Inconvenience?

  10. kaje says:

    I’m sorry; I just can’t take anyone seriously who earnestly uses the phrase “politically correct”.

    “Politically incorrect” is the PC term for “reactionary asshole.” ;)

  11. Peter says:

    I don’t like these programs. They feel like straight propaganda and I have not ever seen someone challenge one of their rules or suggestions without tacitly made to look like a thug. My husband brushes it off, but his experience matches mine. I despise this kind of crap. The hardest part is the overweening self-righteousness of those who dare to criticize the setup.

    …. I dont’ know about all your experiences, but that is definitely how the subtext plays out in the workplaces I’ve been in. Nobody is fooled at all. I work for the state, and it was CRYSTAL clear what was happening when I had to watch my male coworkers endure this pabulum.

    Wow, I don’t know who’s running the workshops in your State, but I’ve never had anything remotely approaching what you describe. And I’ve had sexual harrassment and diversity training in both the corporate world, and government service.

    It’s no different than the driver safety training I’m required to take every three years. Its a simple information seminar on the rules and expectations you are expected to follow. Along with procedural issues to follow if a problem crops up.

    I can’t recall ever being made to feel like either a bad driver, or a thug. I can only count on one hand the number of people who ever whined like little school children about attending the training.

  12. Peter says:

    I don’t like these programs. They feel like straight propaganda and I have not ever seen someone challenge one of their rules or suggestions without tacitly made to look like a thug. My husband brushes it off, but his experience matches mine. I despise this kind of crap. The hardest part is the overweening self-righteousness of those who dare to criticize the setup.

    …. I dont’ know about all your experiences, but that is definitely how the subtext plays out in the workplaces I’ve been in. Nobody is fooled at all. I work for the state, and it was CRYSTAL clear what was happening when I had to watch my male coworkers endure this pabulum.

    Wow, I don’t know who’s running the workshops in your State, but I’ve never had anything remotely approaching what you describe. And I’ve had sexual harrassment and diversity training in both the corporate world, and government service.

    It’s no different than the driver safety training I’m required to take every three years. Its a simple information seminar on the rules and expectations you are expected to follow. Along with procedural issues to follow if a problem crops up.

    I can’t recall ever being made to feel like either a bad driver, or a thug. I can only count on one hand the number of people who ever whined like little school children about attending the training.

  13. Seriously. At my training, it was all straightforward information. “X, Y, and Z are harrassment behaviors. You should take A, B, and C steps to address any problems you experience/observe.”

    I admit, I already knew a lot of what was covered in the training. But the very beginning of it did talk a lot about sexual harrassment law in my state, and that was really useful to me. And since laws do change, and I have to take this training only once every three years, then it might be a good refresher.

  14. Also, I’m annoyed that the LA Times hasn’t published any of the comments yet. And I know there’s at least one. My comment on the times site went into moderation at like 9:30 or 10 this morning, and it’s still not up yet.

  15. weejit says:

    “I don’t like these programs. They feel like straight propaganda and I have not ever seen someone challenge one of their rules or suggestions without tacitly made to look like a thug. My husband brushes it off, but his experience matches mine. I despise this kind of crap. The hardest part is the overweening self-righteousness of those who dare to criticize the setup.”

    You do know you’re referring to yourself in your last sentence, don’t you? LOL

  16. Kit Kendrick says:

    The training we have at work is automated (it’s a click-through e-training) and while there’s some stuff about how to recognize if you’re harassing someone else (good intent is assumed), most of it was how to identify if you’re being harassed and how to report it. The main theme I took away from it was “If you’re being harassed, don’t just sit around being miserable, let us know so we can fix it.”

  17. Peter says:

    The training we have at work is automated (it’s a click-through e-training) a…. most of it was how to identify if you’re being harassed and how to report it. The main theme I took away from it was “If you’re being harassed, don’t just sit around being miserable, let us know so we can fix it.”

    Exactly.

    That’s my experience. And I’ve had the training at two major corporations, and for a State government. And its always like that. Straightforward legal information, and a process to follow to resolve potential problems.

    I’ve never, ever heard of a training were men were made to feel like thugs, or belittled in any way.

  18. Hot Tramp says:

    Notice how the critics of these training never explain specifically what’s wrong with them. They rely on vague dogwhistles like “political correctness” and “propaganda” rather than offering a direct, simple, clear enumeration of the flaws in sexual harassment training. I’ve been in harassment trainings at at least a half-dozen employers in California, and all they’ve done is explained the law and given sensible advice for how to behave in the workplace: Here are things that are clearly unacceptable, here are some things that you may intend well but often make others uncomfortable, and here are ways that you can handle it if you feel uncomfortable. What’s wrong with that, exactly?

  19. bleh says:

    avoiding lawsuits = setting up ways to stop the problem. Oh noes, not that. Yeah, ours is a click through on-line program. No-one accuses anyone of anything. If anything, it goes out of the way to use examples of women harassing men to protect the menz’ fragile egos. Wevs Doctor biology guy. Don’t take it. Now, we all know who you are…so we can avoid your harassing ass.

  20. Rebecca says:

    I don’t like these programs. They feel like straight propaganda and I have not ever seen someone challenge one of their rules or suggestions without tacitly made to look like a thug.

    All right, what word would you use to describe someone who disagrees with the rule “don’t harass people”?

    there is a difference between that and then feeling that your are being SET UP to take the fall.

    “Set up to take the fall”? You mean, if one person harasses another, they should not be punished for it?

    And he is obviously not condoning any sexist behavior, on the contrary, he is opposed in principle to what is most likely the aggressive, politically correct subtext of harassment and diversity training.

    Preventing harassment is hardly an issue of political correctness. It’s about workplace safety. The safety of others should not be compromised so that this guy can get his little rushes of power from harassing others.

    (A little while ago I was looking into the organization FIRE, because they were sponsoring a rather large scholarship. Turns out that, though they look like an ACLU wannabe, they defend assholes like this guy, who think sexual harassment seminars and diversity training are intrusions on their “freedom of conscience.” As well as a professor who called his Muslim students terrorists and Nazis, and a university housing group that wouldn’t admit non-Christians. I’m not applying for that scholarship.
    …Tangent, sorry.)

  21. bleh says:

    I also wonder if these people complain when they are forced to strip off articles of clothing just to get on a plane. That is offensive, reactionary, and an abuse of power to pretend to do something about a problem. Funny, that we don’t have many people refusing that one.

    I agree w/ Hot Tramp – the critics are not in favor of freedom per se or progaganda – only when it involves women being full human beings who can work without abuse.

  22. Peter says:

    Oh my God. I just read the rest of his editorial. This was some crazy shit.

    I am not normally confrontational, so I sought to find a means to resolve the conflict.

    I proposed the following: I would take the training if the university would provide me with a brief, written statement absolving me of any suspicion, guilt or complicity regarding sexual harassment. I wanted any possible stigma removed. “Fulfilling this requirement,” said the statement I asked them to approve, “in no way implies, suggests or indicates that the university currently has any reason to believe that Professor McPherson has ever sexually harassed any student or any person under his supervision during his 30-year career with the University of California.”

    There’s something really freaking wrong with this guy. Taking the training class has nothing to do with assuming guilt on anyone’s party. That’s all in his mind. And, I wonder WHY its on his mind??

    First of all, I believe the training is a disgraceful sham. As far as I can tell from my colleagues, it is worthless, a childish piece of theater, an insult to anyone with a respectable IQ, primarily designed to relieve the university of liability in the case of lawsuits.

    LOL. What a nitwit. “Childish theater”? This guy’s been stuck in a lab his whole life. He has no idea what goes on in the training. He has one thing right. The university has a vested intererest in preventing law suits and creating a paper trail to cover their asses. I notice this in the University of California. My female friend was a grad student at UC, and won a major lawsuit because of harrassment by her graduate advisor. Damn right they have a vested interest. Guess what buddy? Your job is paid for by the taxpayers of California. It doesn’t help the university to get sued, and it doesn’t help to have students or employees being harrassed. That’s not good for anyone.

    I have not been shown any evidence that this training will discourage a harasser or aid in alerting the faculty to the presence of harassment.

    First, why does he feel its required for the University to give him evidence. The State doesn’t give me evidence that Driver Safety training has any effect on safety. I’m sure he could get on Google for three minutes, and find out what the statistics are training.

    Second, he assumes the training is all about behavioural modification of the “harasser”. In short, he still thinks its all about him. The moron is incapable of understanding that much of the training is not about “him”. Its about giving people who might be potential victims, the information on the administrative procedures to resolve the problem. And its about giving everyone some general ideas about general common sense workplace expectations.

    Why am I getting the impression that he thinks this training is all about “him”?

    Interestingly, I have received many letters of encouragement — about 25% of them from women. The comments have been rich with words like “demeaning,” “oppressive,” “politically driven” and “indoctrination.” Other phrases included “unctuous twaddle” and “sanctimonious half-wits.”

    Yeah, I’m sure some of the ladies at Free Republic and Fox News might be writing you those letters. I highly doubt they are representative of women at large.

  23. ipens says:

    I wonder if he kicks up this much fuss when his institution (more than likely) requires him to do his yearly IRB training.

    How offensive! Singling out scientists and treating them like thugs! It’s all propaganda, right? The Nuremberg Code, the Declaration of Helsinki… all just PC hooey, I suppose. (note: This is sarcasm. I’ve noticed that sarcasm isn’t always recognized when put in print and I’ve no desire to be flogged.)

  24. lowly_adjunct says:

    I used to work in his department here at UCI. Those two years were some of the worst in my work experience. Given the abuse of privilege and power among the faculty in that department, I can’t say I am at all surprised he’s refusing to take the training.

  25. RacyT says:

    The earliest comment is a wingnut comparing the training to Nazis. Good grief. Don’t you automatically lose when you do that?

  26. Cara says:

    The earliest comment is a wingnut comparing the training to Nazis. Good grief. Don’t you automatically lose when you do that?

    I’d like to see a rule where everyone who Godwin’s in seriousness loses all internet privileges! :)

  27. metabonbon says:

    The point of sexual harassment training is simple: don’t be an asshole.

    Nobody thinks they’re an asshole. Most of the time, you wouldn’t specifically try to be an asshole, or seek out ways to offend others. In a work setting, overall, offending someone tends to be an accident. Unspoken rules of workplace professionalism often prevent people from confronting and correcting others for offensive behavior. They laugh it off, or stay quiet, and the offender gets off without realizing they’ve hurt someone.

    These seminars show you how some of your words and actions might make you an asshole, even if you don’t mean to be. Nobody wants to hear that.

    Which is why they’re necessary.

  28. evil_fizz says:

    I am not normally confrontational, so I sought to find a means to resolve the conflict.

    I proposed the following: I would take the training if the university would provide me with a brief, written statement absolving me of any suspicion, guilt or complicity regarding sexual harassment. I wanted any possible stigma removed. “Fulfilling this requirement,” said the statement I asked them to approve, “in no way implies, suggests or indicates that the university currently has any reason to believe that Professor McPherson has ever sexually harassed any student or any person under his supervision during his 30-year career with the University of California.”

    Here’s the other thing that chaps my hide about this: the training is required for people who work in supervisory positions. It is not all about preventing harassment: it’s also in place so that supervisors can identify harassment if it happens between their subordinates, but also so they know how to handle the situation if someone comes to them with a complaint.

    That’s hardly stigmatizing. Although reveling in your own idiocy when you’re a professor might be…

  29. norbizness says:

    I had to take one of these seminars and my effectiveness in harassing increased by a whopping 21%!

  30. Gregor Samsa says:

    Norbizness needs his own blog.

  31. Robert says:

    We have diversity training at my company ever year. While its aims are praiseworthy, some of the things we were taught were just silly. It is sexual harrassment for gay employees to go to a gay bar together, because either asking straight colleagues to come along, or not asking them to come along, makes the straight people uncomfortable. It is ethnic harrassment to mispronouce someone’s ethnic last name, unless it’s German or Russian or something that no normal person could be expected to pronounce right. It’s sexual harrassment to describe someone as charming, unless it’s a man. Etc. The whole thing just needs a lighter touch.

  32. Radfem says:

    Ah, 1825 training.

    It’s not a very strong law in terms of enforcement. You can’t really sue for failure to implement but if a sexual harassment lawsuit happens and the training’s not in accordance with the law, it’s extra penalties.

    It’s just a few hours of sexual harassment training for supervisors every two years. My city just conducted it in a large auditorium which means it was a lecture and one supervisor in the police department said they usually received the same presentation each time only before it was smaller groups (as shown in the rosters I received).

    I asked for rosters of police supervisors attending 1825 training and the dates they attended and discovered that while they did get the training, it was two years after their promotions to sergeant (the entry supervisory level) rather than six months.

    I learned about the law from a female lieutenant who is a regional representative for a women’s police organization and she was very helpful.

    Incidentally my city’s agency is doing an internal audit on why the female officer retention rate is so much poorer than the men’s. But it’s internal, not outside as it should be. If what I suspect is true, it’s going to be very tricky b/c it won’t take long before it would turn into an IA investigation which isn’t going to happen if it’s internally done.

  33. Ms. Fakename says:

    This guy’s an asshole, no doubt, but I don’t think sexual harassment training is useful, either. It’s not a bad idea; if people were better at changing, it could be really useful. But I’ve never known a harasser who stopped being one. People don’t quit being racists, either.

    And I guess I’m a little more like him than I’d like: I won’t shop at CostCo because I refuse to have my receipt checked at the door. If you want to accuse me of shoplifting, do it. But I’m not going to queue up and have you inspect my bag after I just paid for it.

  34. LauraB says:

    I had to take sexual harassment training, 2 hours in a big auditorium. The important things that I learned had more to do with what I should do if someone I was supervising came to me with a complaint. I hadn’t known that there were multiple offices at my university that would handle a harassment complaint, so that was good to know. I hadn’t really thought about what I would do if someone came to me for help, so that was good.

    I also had to take fire extinguisher training, which was pretty much the epitome of useless corporate training. I learned that in the event of a fire in my workplace, I will not be running for a fire extinguisher so much as running out the freaking door.

  35. Peter says:

    This guy’s an asshole, no doubt, but I don’t think sexual harassment training is useful, either. It’s not a bad idea; if people were better at changing, it could be really useful.

    The point of sexual harrassment training isn’t to reform serial harrassers. That’s a job for psychologists and therapists. At least every training I’ve been too.

    The point of training is to let everyone know generally what the boundaries of acceptable workplace behaviour is, and more importantly to let employees know what the administrative procedures are for resolving a problem and to train managers on how to recognize it and adminstratively deal with it.

  36. courage says:

    When someone makes it clear that he thinks telling people to stop sexually harassing women is “part of a politically correct agenda that I don’t particularly agree with,” his employer would have to be out of his mind to allow him to continue supervising large numbers of lower-level employees (and students). McPherson asserts that the training is “primarily designed to relieve the university of liability in the case of lawsuits,” as if that’s a totally invalid reason. Of course the university is trying to shield itself from law suits; it’s also trying to protect its students. That’s why they also have fire drills in the dorms and other buildings — they don’t want anyone dying in a fire, and they sure don’t want to get sued for it.

    There is a fundamental difference between fire drills and telling people to stop sexually harrassing women. First of all that sentence smacks of sexism in itself. Men can’t be sexually harrassed? Second of all when a state school compels all personnel to submit to sexual harrassment training so as to tell its personnel to “stop harrassing women” does it presume that the personnnel attending have sexually harrassed women? Does a person’s attendance at such a training create an assumption that they have sexually harrassed women. Do they compel their personnel to attend racial or ethnic sensitivity training? This is an absurd policy, driven by the PC police at its worst.

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  39. Craig R says:

    Sexual harassment training is for recognition, reporting and avoidance.

    It is about spelling out the ground rules so you don’t allow yourself to be harassed, how to recognize what could be construed as out of line, and what do if you see or are the object of the harassment.

    It can also be a helpful thing in that it can make an associate aware that if you tell them “dude, stop making jokes about pregnant women to the receptionist — it will get you in trouble” they can be aware that, yeah, your idiot rear *could* be sued and fired

    As for the prof? His own wife’s attitude says it all: “Alex, take the training”

  40. W. Kiernan says:

    I am a land surveyor. My employers required me to take training on Maintenance of Traffic in order to do work in roadways. Some nonsense about “compliance with state laws,” or something stupid like that. This is outrageous! Do they think I don’t know how to set up traffic cones? You put the pointy-side pointing up and the wide-side flat on the asphalt; everybody knows that. Naturally, I angrily refused on grounds of principle, and I stuck to my guns until the bitter end.

    So if you agree with me that this was an utterly unwarranted attack against my dignity and a slur against my intelligence, and I’m sure you all do, please send cash contributions to:

    W. Kiernan
    [street address redacted]
    [city/state/zip redacted]

    ’cause now I’m out of a job and I got to pay my bills…

  41. Eli Rabett says:

    Laura, that fire extinguisher training: get out, may save your life. Basically you want people who are amateurs to leave fast.

    We do the sexual harassment training on hiring which seems to be a good system. 95% of what you hear is known, but the 5% or so that is new makes it worthwhile. That makes the signal to noise higher than a whole lot of meetings.

  42. Peter says:

    There is a fundamental difference between fire drills and telling people to stop sexually harrassing women. First of all that sentence smacks of sexism in itself. Men can’t be sexually harrassed? Second of all when a state school compels all personnel to submit to sexual harrassment training so as to tell its personnel to “stop harrassing women” does it presume that the personnnel attending have sexually harrassed women?

    I get the impression that either 1) there’s a lot of people on this thread who have never been to sexual harrassment training, or; 2) the training I’m hearing about from some commenters is vastly different than any of the training I’ve had throughout the corporate world and government service.

    Every training I’ve been to goes to great pains to illuminate the problem of sexual harassment of men. Even though sexual harasment of men is only a tiny fraction of the problem. There certainly have been cases of women managers harassing male employees, or gay male employees being tormented by straight employees. Sexual harassment is not limited to heterosexual interactions. ANY type of harassment that is intended to to exploit someone’s gender or sexual orientation falls under the legal definition of sexual harassment. Although, it mostly happens to women, that’s just a fact. Its a very broad law, I don’t know why some people are feeling so sorry for the “men” who take the training. I was never felt to made like a thug or a creep.

    This professor dude is totally misconstruing what the training is, and he’s taking it VERY personally. Like its all about him. I wonder why that is?

  43. Peter says:

    edit, sorry I forgot to turn on the blockquotes.

    There is a fundamental difference between fire drills and telling people to stop sexually harrassing women. First of all that sentence smacks of sexism in itself. Men can’t be sexually harrassed? Second of all when a state school compels all personnel to submit to sexual harrassment training so as to tell its personnel to “stop harrassing women” does it presume that the personnnel attending have sexually harrassed women?

    I get the impression that either 1) there’s a lot of people on this thread who have never been to sexual harrassment training, or; 2) the training I’m hearing about from some commenters is vastly different than any of the training I’ve had throughout the corporate world and government service.

    Every training I’ve been to goes to great pains to illuminate the problem of sexual harassment of men. Even though sexual harasment of men is only a tiny fraction of the problem. There certainly have been cases of women managers harassing male employees, or gay male employees being tormented by straight employees. Sexual harassment is not limited to heterosexual interactions. ANY type of harassment that is intended to to exploit someone’s gender or sexual orientation falls under the legal definition of sexual harassment. Although, it mostly happens to women, that’s just a fact. Its a very broad law, I don’t know why some people are feeling so sorry for the “men” who take the training. I was never felt to made like a thug or a creep.

    This professor dude is totally misconstruing what the training is, and he’s taking it VERY personally. Like its all about him. I wonder why that is?

  44. Chris Mallory says:

    I don’t know…….maybe he is opposed to brain washing and thought control? Maybe he doesn’t need a nanny to hold his hand and tell him right from wrong.

    But then I forgot, the unwashed masses need the enlightened to tell us how to live and how to think.

    No difference in this and any other program used by a totalitarian regime.

  45. Women who file such claims are being played by rent seeking lawyer scam artists. The entire field of sexual harassment employment law is pretextual lawyer plunder of productive entities. Sexual harassment training is thinly veiled threatening of males, and hurts decent, sensitive and caring males. It is sexually discrimination itself. Males subjected to such hate speech should file repeated formal complaints and should sue the left wing feminist controlled government. To deter. The law and regulations imposing such hate speech are facially discriminatory, imposing offensive discriminatory, threatening mind control de jure.

    It also introduces an atmosphere of fear and distrust. Every female is a potential accuser, and should be shunned to avoid false allegations. The overwhelming number of allegations are unfounded and retaliatory false accusations by vicious, disgruntled, mentally ill victims of feminist false propaganda.

    Since this bogus field of law got invented and forcibly imposed by extreme, unshaven feminists, sexual harassment has markedly increased. In the past, there was a correct remedy for piggish behavior, a smart slap to the face. It applied to the offender, and worked to deter future offenses. It left out the innocent employer from wasteful litigation. If the victim of harassment were to do that, she would be fired, when the pig reported her. he pig would then move on to oppress another victim.

    Today, the employer gets sued, no matter what. The offender is not even named in the lawsuit. The idiotic plaintiff wins, she will never work anywhere again. Then she gets taxed on the entirety of any verdict or settlement, and cannot deduct the fee of the lawyer. That means she gets almost nothing.

    That is about what sexual harassment law is worth, nothing.

  46. CYA says:

    that prof is an ass but the point of this particular sexual harassment training isn’t primarily about preventing sexual harassment. It revolves around your obligations as a supervisor and therefore a representative of the university.
    From what I remember it is – take any and all complaints seriously, file a report, contact your compliance coordinator. While the University certainly wants to foster a harassment free environment you do get the feeling that it is primarily concerned with the process and CYA.

    FWIW – the three people I have had to deal with are a 60+ gay man and a 45+ straight woman both of whom were way to touchy with male undergrads and a 30+ gay man who called a female coworker a bitch. While the language sometimes needs to be corrected, most of the male staff in my department who are under 40 know better than to have unwanted physical contact with their coworkers and students.

  47. Kate says:

    We have to go to these sexual harassment trainings every year (along with universal precautions, which is how and when to put on gloves and wash your hands, and mandatory child and adults with disabilities neglect and abuse reporting) and my co-workers and I love the part of the sexual harassment training where they tell us the reported state statistics for male to female, female to male, male to male and female to female harassment. Since only 3% of harassment is female to female my coworkers love to make big jokes about my classroom being the best place to work because they have statistically the lowest chance of being harassed since I am a lesbian.

    Overall though we just sit through the sexual harassment training just like the hand washing and the neglect abuse reporting trainings – passing notes, sipping on luke warm coffee and counting the minutes until we are released to go do things that are more productive in our day. These trainings are a fact of life, you just have to grow up and sit through them. Saying that they imply you are a harasser is like saying the hand washing one implies I touch feces and don’t wash my hands – ridiculous.

  48. Suki T says:

    If anything, it goes out of the way to use examples of women harassing men to protect the menz’ fragile egos.

    My company’s e-training portrayed a female customer harrasing a female employee. I thought “Hey, anyone can be a harrasser!” and then laughed at the terrible acting.

  49. bushfire says:

    Supremacy Claus wrote a hilarious parody of an MRA.

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