Culture

CUNY Prof: I Was Accused of Sexual Harassment for Saying Effort Is 10 Percent of the Grade

A professor at Brooklyn College of City University of New York was forced to change his syllabus after a portion stating that effort was 10 percent of the grade was deemed “sexual harassment.” 

According a piece penned by the professor, David Seidemann, on Monday, this was the portion that an administrator asked him to take out on the grounds that it was a Title IX violation: 

“Class deportment, effort etc…….10% (applied only to select students when appropriate).”

What would make someone one of those “select students” isn’t exactly clear. It also isn’t clear how exactly those words constitute, as the administration charged, “a prelude to sexual harassment,” because Seidmann claims that the administration wouldn’t explain it to him. What is clear (or at least should be clear to anyone who is not a completely insane person) is that “effort” refers to to things like class participation and not to things like sexual favors. If anyone were to look at that and think, “He is saying that I have to do sex stuff to him to improve my grade!” then that person would be the one with the problem, and it is absolutely absurd for him to have been asked to remove it. 

And there’s more. Seidmann said that the administration also had a problem with a portion of his syllabus that stated: “This classroom is an ‘unsafe space’ for those uncomfortable with viewpoints with which they may disagree: all constitutionally protected speech is welcome,” and with the fact that he had been, as he described it, “using warning triangles sardonically instead of ordinary quote marks when referring to foolish PC terms.”

All my department chair would say is, “The triangles are the problem.” I never found out what made the triangles a problem. They were ready to act on a problem without saying what the problem was.

My guess is that some administrator thought the warning triangles were reminiscent of the pink triangles that the Nazis made gays wear. I wonder how long the administrators deliberated before deciding that the clip art street signs I’d included in my syllabus weren’t Nazi symbols.

#related#Seidmann did say that he was allowed to keep that portion of his syllabus. But if a school’s administrators are interfering in its classrooms over shapes, then it’s pretty obvious that things at that institution have gone full-on kookoobananas

This story was previously covered in an article in Reason

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