Evolution of Scholarly Opinion

“Rape-Prevention Scholar Who ‘Celebrated #MeToo’ Is Accused of Sexual Assault and Harassment” (Chronicle of Higher Education; paywalled, but this link might still work):

[Erin] O’Callaghan has accused Schewe, an associate professor of criminology whose research specialty is sexual-assault prevention, of assaulting her in November 2017.

Schewe has vigorously denied that claim, and Title IX investigators exonerated him after concluding that O’Callaghan’s most serious accusation — that Schewe undressed her and started to perform oral sex on her when she was too drunk to consent — could not be substantiated.

Schewe, who is in his early 50s and has worked in the field for more than a quarter-century, regards the implications of the movement differently now that he stands accused.

“I celebrated #MeToo. I thought, ‘Yes! Victims are finally being believed and men are being called out for their shitty behavior. This is fantastic,’” he said in an interview last week with The Chronicle. But the side effect of that, he said, “is that people are now guilty by accusation.”

(“guilty by association” with the drunk woman’s naked body?)

Working from a base of decades of scholarly inquiry, #BelieveWomen turns out to have some subtle exceptions:

He told Title IX investigators that he has devoted his life “to preventing violence against women” and is inclined ”to believe survivors” — even as he dismissed O’Callaghan’s accusations as “something she largely created in her own mind.”

But in his interview with The Chronicle, Schewe said: “If she would have told me that a professor got her drunk and took advantage of her, I would give her support. I would believe her.”

To Schewe, his ordeal is evidence that it’s gone too far. “Maybe it’s a warning to everybody that nobody is safe in the #MeToo era,” Schewe said. And his takeaway? “That guys should stay away from any woman because they have the potential to destroy their life with a couple of words with no consequence to them.”

Life at the University of Illinois can be cozy, at least for those who are not so drunk as to have forgotten most of it:

The lawsuit states that O’Callaghan, who had consumed one or two drinks at Schewe’s apartment [after five or six drinks at a bar], fell asleep on the couch. At some point the rest of the guests went on a late-night food run, leaving O’Callaghan and Schewe alone.

Schewe, intoxicated and “extremely tired,” said he lay down on his bed. He said that O’Callaghan followed him into the bedroom, took off her jeans, and climbed into bed with him.

“Nothing happened, of course,” Schewe told The Chronicle. “Being a sexual-assault-prevention researcher, I knew that there was no safer place that she could be.”

O’Callaghan says in the lawsuit that while she does not recall how she ended up in Schewe’s bed, she remembers that at some point, he “entered the bedroom, laughed, pulled her pants and underwear down, and performed oral sex on her, all without consent.” That’s when O’Callaghan says she blacked out.

Who paid for all of these drinks, you might ask? The taxpayers of Illinois! They’re on the hook to pay lawyers to defend the university from the referenced lawsuit. They’ll also be paying their share of the salaries of judges and other Federal court officials. They’re paying the accused scholar’s salary and benefits while he is “on administrative leave”. They’ll each work a few extra hours in 2020 if there is a fat settlement for the plaintiffs.

(Practical tip in case someone complains about the contents of your PC’s hard drive:

In his statement to the Title IX investigators and his interview with The Chronicle, Schewe dismissed many of the women’s claims outright. No, he did not offer cocaine to Kirkner and Lorenz, nor did he make the remark Lorenz’s partner attributed to him after her dissertation defense. While it’s possible Lorenz saw a nude woman on his desktop-computer screen, such images are common in work on rape prevention and teaching safe sex.

Another practical aspect of this is that the married guy in his early 50s (a “wife” is mentioned) was able to get a woman half his age to share his bed by expressing a passion for some female-oriented issues.)

The good news is that public radio will now have a little more color.

The lawsuit against Schewe, a clinical psychologist who has shared his expertise on rape prevention with such outlets as NPR and Quartz, is one of the more unusual sexual-misconduct cases confronting higher education. Schewe has served as director of the university’s Interdisciplinary Center for Research on Violence, and he recently co-edited the Handbook of Sexual Assault and Sexual Assault Prevention (Springer, 2019).

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Liberal arts colleges running out of woke white men?

The financial struggles of New England liberal arts colleges have been in the news lately. “Marlboro planning to give campus and endowment to Emerson College” describes the end of 73 years of operation in Southern Vermont. “Can small liberal arts colleges survive the next decade?” (Christian Science Monitor)

A friend who has worked at the highest levels of college governance said that these bastions of righteousness in which white males are blamed for most things are having difficulty recruiting white males. Why does that matter? “Once the men stop attending,” he noted, “then women don’t want to enroll.”

Marlboro has a 56-percent female student population (US News), which is right at the national average (“Why Men Are the New College Minority” (Atlantic)). Hampshire College, whose stress is profiled in the CS Monitor, is at 62 percent female (collegefactual.com).

A teacher at Marlboro:

He brings an intersectional lens grounded in social justice praxis to the classroom and is passionate about racial, gender and LGBTQ justice and issues of representation in film. Brad believes that the Western film canon is essentially a survey of what bell hooks calls “the imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy.” Any creative work that we do must reckon with this history of oppression, extract from it what serves us, and dismantle and discard what does not.

Hampshire College’s Commitment to Diversity:

At Hampshire diversity encompasses multiple and intersecting identities including but not limited to race, class, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, religious expression, physical and mental abilities, military and veteran status, and political expression.

We aspire to foster an inclusive community of individuals who share a commitment to all forms of anti-oppression, social justice, respectful discourse, and engagement.

It doesn’t sound as though a white male wearing an MAGA hat would be considered welcome (“respectful”) diversity! Thus, these schools are fighting over the handful of young men who are (a) rich enough to pay tuition for a non-vocational degree, (b) sympathetic to the idea that they are perpetrating abuse of women, minorities, etc.

One could argue that a liberal arts college whose male-female ratio is right at the national average of 44-56 should be doing fine. However, consider the female customer. Why should she pay 3-4X the price of a state school if the gender ID ratio is no better (from her point of view) at the expensive liberal arts college?

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Scariest thought ever: Come to MIT in January for our class

Happy Halloween!

Dr. Tina (a real doctor of aeronautical engineering) and I are teaching an FAA ground school at MIT in January once again. The course is free and open to anyone, though only MIT students get credit.

What could be scarier than (a) coming to Boston in mid-January, (b) suffering through one of my lectures?

(If you can’t make it, all of the materials can be downloaded from the course web site, which also links to YouTube videos that were captured by MIT Video Productions during the 2019 class.)

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LGBTQIA is out at Brown University…

…. because TGQN is in.

I visited a group house in which the students attending this Ivy League university vow “We reject systems that create and reinforce inequality” as a “guiding principle”.

I visited the FBO at the nearby airport, whose ramp was groaning with private jets that had arrived for Parents’ Weekend. Sometimes it is only by spinning three turbojet engines that one can reject inequality…

I had a sandwich at U Melt, which welcomes everyone except those without money:

(The sign plus the absence of any kind of program to provide meals for the poor is more evidence for my theory that social justice causes that don’t cost more than the price of a sign are the most popular.)

Fun on the main student drag:

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Harvard freshman experience

A friend’s daughter recently started her non-Asian odyssey through Harvard College ($70,000/year).

While identifying as a cisgender heterosexual female, she elected “gender-inclusive” housing and was matched up with a roommate. She’ll undress and go to bed every night right next to a person who identifies as a heterosexual cisgender male.

What’s she studying that wouldn’t be much the same at State U? “HIST-LIT 90DW: Queering the South: Race, Gender, & Sexuality in the American South”. From the class site:

The course examines the intertwined histories of race, gender, and sexuality in the American South from the end of Reconstruction in 1877 through the present. We will consider how struggles for gender and sexual freedom are linked to race in the modern South. The course proceeds along two tracks: first, we gain knowledge about the lives of women, trans people, and gay people in the South. Second, we consider how African Americans, women, and LGBTQ individuals struggled for freedom and how these efforts changed over time in response to opposition, developments elsewhere in the world, and victories. We will explore the circumstances under which people from different backgrounds come together in pursuit of a common goal and the times when conflicts arise. We will read poetry and novels, manifestos and diaries, and secondary literature written by historians. In addition, we’ll watch videos and listen to music to understand the different ways people queered the South during the last century. The course recognizes that Southerners do not fit neatly into racial, gender, or sexual boxes and so investigates the intersections of identities to lend complexity and verve to the histories of people often forgotten.

Who’s the expert on intersectionality of black, gay, and southern? Andrew Pope, whose biography says that he studied at University of Rochester (NY) and Harvard.

I tried to show off my mastery of English v5.0 by asking the freshman’s younger brother, “How’s zir candy bar?” She admonished, “You aren’t using pronouns correctly. ‘Your’ isn’t gendered.”

[Old Version = v1.0; Middle English = v2.0; Early Modern English = v3.0; English with two gender IDs = v4.0]

Related:

  • Interview with Andrew Pope that talks about the class and that he “read, and excitedly re-read, Jennifer Nash’s Black Feminism Reimagined: After Intersectionality.”
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Asians all look same to Harvard and the Federal judge

In yesterday’s post on Judge Allison Burroughs ruling that it is legal for Harvard to engage in race discrimination, I wrote

why is it okay for the judge to imply that a group of Asians is lacking in diversity? “In her decision, Judge Burroughs defended the benefits of diversity … ‘The rich diversity at Harvard and other colleges and universities and the benefits that flow from that diversity,’ she added, ‘will foster the tolerance, acceptance and understanding that will ultimately make race conscious admissions obsolete.’” Isn’t the implication that if we assemble white and black Americans we have “rich diversity,” but if we assemble a group of Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian, Burmese, and Indian students we have a boring monoculture?

A reader pointed out that there is already a web site for the Ivy League admissions officers and their Obama-appointed friends on the Federal bench: alllooksame.com.

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Silver Lining of the Ivy League Admissions Circus

A friend who is a passionate fencer, and a former Ivy League fencing team member, said “Twenty years ago, you could just send a kid to a few fencing lessons and he or she might get into Harvard. Now it is much more difficult and the kid actually has to be great for it to boost his or her chances.”

What’s the silver lining? “So many of these parents, most of whom are middle class, are pouring all of their time and money into fencing lessons for middle school and high school kids that the U.S. is beginning to win international competitions.”

[Separately, one of his friends is a fencing coach at a university. The most recent semester started with “going through the roster and he was being told which pronoun to address two transsexuals and one gender-fluid student on the team.” One of the students who was to be referred to with male pronouns asked to compete with the men’s team, but lost every practice match. He then switched to the women’s team, but continues to insist on being referred to with male pronouns.]

If the U.S. sweeps up medals at future Olympic games, can we thank the elite universities that have made it almost impossible for white/Asian kids to get in? (since being sued, however, Harvard has found that Asian applicants have more merit)

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Harvard not worried about accepting a student who scored 1270 on the SAT

Harvard starts the fall semester today.

From “Racist Comments Cost Conservative Parkland Student a Place at Harvard” (NYT, back in June):

Two other prominent Parkland student activists, Jaclyn Corin and David Hogg, both of them vocal proponents of tighter gun restrictions, are headed to Harvard this fall. Mr. Hogg, who is completing a gap year, garnered attention when he announced his acceptance last year after being rejected from other schools, including from California State University at Long Beach. On Monday, Mr. Kashuv’s defenders noted that Mr. Hogg had a 4.2 grade point average and scored 1270 on the SAT test, while Mr. Kashuv said in the interview that he had a 5.4 G.P.A., and a 1550 SAT score.

Leaving aside the rest of the story, it is interesting that Harvard isn’t concerned that someone with a mediocre SAT score of 1270 will have trouble with the academics.

[Separately, I wonder if the NYT can legitimately say that this teenager’s hyperbolic throwing around of some words for shock value is “racist”. It is the NYT itself that is constantly running stories on academic underachievement by Americans of one particular race.]

Related:

  • my review of Academically Adrift: colleges are, for the most part, indifferent to whether or not professors are effective teachers. To the extent that colleges work teaching quality into decisions about promotion and pay they do so by considering student evaluations. Which professors do students evaluate highest? Those who assign the least reading and give the highest grades (researched by Valen Johnson is cited). So every professor has a big incentive to make his or her class easy and to give every student an A.
  • my review of Higher Education?: Harvard undergrads give their professors C- on “classroom performance” and D on “outside-of-class availability”. Upset by the evidence that it was delivering a poor quality product, Harvard appointed a committee: “All but one of its members held endowed chairs … No junior faculty, no teaching assistants, and notably no students were invited to serve.”
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Artificial Intelligence and commercial sex purportedly intersect

For anyone who knew Marvin, “AI pioneer accused of having sex with trafficking victim on Jeffrey Epstein’s island” is a surprise.

Apparently Jeffrey Epstein was using some of the money that he stole to run Templeton Foundation-style scientific gatherings in the Caribbean (funded with money that John Templeton earned and then skipped paying taxes on by renouncing his U.S. citizenship and relocating to the Bahamas). A woman now says that, as a 17-year-old, she was paid to have sex with the then-73-year-old Marvin Minsky at one of these gatherings. (There does not seem to be any evidence the Marvin ever left the mainland U.S. to hang out with Epstein, though.)

In the 40+ years that I saw Marvin, at his office, at his home, and at conferences, he never once took notice of a young woman or commented on the appearance of a woman. He was simply not very interested in matters of the flesh.

On a more practical level, if Marvin had wanted to have sex with 17-year-olds, he could have done so legally in Massachusetts, in which the age of consent is 16. (Prostitution per se is illegal in Massachusetts, but it wouldn’t be illegal for an older person to supply a young sex partner with gifts of jewelry, housing, transportation, vacation trips, etc. (though the real money would be in a pregnancy followed by harvesting the unlimited child support cash available under Massachusetts law)) There were also quite a few graduate students who had sexual relationships with successful academics and, lo and behold, found that the path to a tenure-track professorship was wide open. There was never any hint or rumor around Marvin of a sex-for-career-advancement exchange (or any other kind of affair).

Ever since Stormy Daniels dominated the mainstream media, I guess it isn’t surprising that people whose job is having sex in exchange for money are newsworthy. But if they’re claiming that they were paid to have sex with those who are deceased, and there is no evidence to support these claims, should reporters be broadcasting these tales? This is the first one about someone that I know personally and it rings false.

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Harvard Economics professor beats the sexual harassment rap

“Star Economist at Harvard Faces Sexual Harassment Complaints” (NYT, Dec 14, 2018):

Before he turned 40, Roland G. Fryer Jr. had earned tenure at Harvard, received a MacArthur “genius” grant and won the most prestigious award for young American economists. He stoked a national debate by concluding that police officers show no bias in the shootings of black men.

But his rapid ascent has taken a troubling turn as Harvard officials review a university investigator’s conclusion that Dr. Fryer fostered a work environment hostile to women, one filled with sexual talk and bullying.

The findings, reviewed by The New York Times, found that Dr. Fryer had engaged in “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” toward four women who worked in the Harvard-affiliated research lab he created. In one case, his “persistent and pervasive” conduct contributed to stress that resulted in the accuser’s taking disability leave, the investigator found.

I.e., things were so bad that someone had to be paid for not working.

Cash and sex go together in economics research…

Now 41, he is one of Harvard’s best-paid faculty members, earning more than $600,000, the university’s 2016 tax filing shows. He has brought at least $33.6 million in grants to the university, according to a résumé on his Harvard web page.

Dr. Fryer told a Harvard investigator that any sexual banter in his office was related to his research and “in the spirit of academic freedom.”

Seven months have gone by. Has the guy disappeared? The Harvard web site suggests he is still on the payroll. How is that possible? Nobel Prize winners have been disappeared for far less (e.g., Tim Hunt).

“Complainant Withdrew Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination Complaint Against Harvard Prof. Roland Fryer” (Harvard Crimson, April 23, 2019):

A Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination investigation into whether Economics Professor Roland G. Fryer, Jr. sexually harassed and retaliated against a former female employee concluded in February by agreement of the parties, according to documents obtained by The Crimson. … The MCAD closed its investigation after the complainant’s lawyer, Monica R. Shah, signed the withdrawal form on Feb. 4. On the form, Shah indicated that the complainant had reached a “satisfactory settlement” with Harvard, Fryer, and Allan.

I.e., cash was the magic solution for the professor in a discipline that says most problems can be fixed with cash…

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