Friday, March 4, 2016

Is There a Double Standard at UC on Sexual Harassment?

Hat tip Daily Bruin and Campus Watch

This past weekend, I had to spend two full hours taking a newly-mandated online sexual harassment/sexual violence in-service training course  as part of my (part-time) employment at the University of California at Irvine. It was chock full of information about Title IX regulations including my duty to report alleged violations to the campus Title IX coordinator.Yes, Folks, the UC system is now taking the issue very seriously.

At least that's what I thought. Now I read this about UCLA Professor Gabriel Piterberg. This individual was the subject of complaints by two co-eds that he made improper sexual advances on them. The co-eds have also filed a Title IX lawsuit alleging that UCLA attempted to ignore their complaints. Now Piterberg has been allowed to resume his teaching duties (amid campus protests) after entering into an agreement with the school. A copy of the agreement is linked below.

Under the agreement, Piterberg acknowledges no guilt, but accepts certain punishment including a $3,000 fine.

So here is my question: Is there a double standard for conduct by a professor as opposed to conduct by a student? Numerous anecdotal cases around the country have illustrated what male students accused of sexual wrongdoing  can be subjected to by school administrative inquiries. many observers are questioning the fairness of these campus procedures.

I don't know what the truth is behind the Piterberg allegations, but I am now asking myself why I had to take this in-service training course (now required every two years), which is basically common sense material, in the light of the Piterberg case. Without making any pronouncement on the allegations against Piterberg, I can well understand the anger of students at UCLA.

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