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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