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Author Topic: Sexual harassment taken too far...  (Read 6805 times)

wraith808

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Sexual harassment taken too far...
« on: May 19, 2010, 10:53:24 AM »
http://www.tgdaily.c...-fruit-bat-sex-story

Quote
When Dr Dylan Evans showed the article (Fellatio by fruit bats prolongs copulation time) to a female colleague, she promptly accused him of sexual harassment.

The president of UCC, Professor Michael Murphy, accepted that Evans had meant no harm, but ordered him to undergo a two-year period of monitoring and 'special training'. Evans fears his application for tenure may be turned down as a result.

I'm very glad that there are rules governing relations between sexes, races, etc., because there are quite a few @$$hats out there that need such things to keep them in line.  But cases like this dilute the effectiveness of such rules because they're just so ridiculous.

Eóin

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2010, 11:31:05 AM »
I was reading about this, I suspect the scientific community is being too one-sided. The Daily Mail article sheds a little more on light on the back story

[Dr Rossana Salerno Kennedy] also says it was not the first time [Dr Dylan Evans] had raised sexual subjects with her and said he admired Casanova.

Sounds to me like he's now hiding behind the screen of "academic debate". If anything is being diluted here it's the distinction between professional and personal interactions.

wraith808

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2010, 12:16:57 PM »
I was reading about this, I suspect the scientific community is being too one-sided. The Daily Mail article sheds a little more on light on the back story

[Dr Rossana Salerno Kennedy] also says it was not the first time [Dr Dylan Evans] had raised sexual subjects with her and said he admired Casanova.

Sounds to me like he's now hiding behind the screen of "academic debate". If anything is being diluted here it's the distinction between professional and personal interactions.

Hmmm... so lets say that he did make advances previously, that she shunned.  Then he showed her the same article that he had shown other colleagues... she might have taken it the wrong way after his advances before.  But I'd think it would be easy enough to check- did he indeed show others?  And were there others present when he showed her?  If so, then this incident shouldn't be the one that gets him reprimanded.  And what was the nature of the other incidents? 

That's why I have always stayed away from workplace romances (and to a certain extent friendships).  If you make an advance, and the person isn't interested- is that sexual harassment?  At what point does it become sexual harassment?  That line is pretty gray on some subjects, and varies from environment to environment.  And whether the person will even take it that way varies from person to person.  Too much to deal with - especially when you're talking about your livelihood.

Eóin

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2010, 12:22:37 PM »
I agree completely that sexual harassment is a minefield that's too easily abused. And of course without more details it'd be impossible to ever know the truth, but something about the circumstances as they're being reported has me leaning towards him being a slime-ball rather than her crying wolf.

wraith808

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2010, 12:26:54 PM »
I agree completely that sexual harassment is a minefield that's too easily abused. And of course without more details it'd be impossible to ever know the truth, but something about the circumstances as they're being reported has me leaning towards him being a slime-ball rather than her crying wolf.

That's funny- I'm leaning towards him having been interested in the past, but this being an innocent incident that made her think that he didn't get the hint.  Especially from (1) the part about her 'giving him the benefit of the doubt' before, (2) the fact that the university didn't truly cite him, and (3) the fact that they didn't say anything about colleagues speaking up that he didn't show them the same article.

I think the uni is in CYA mode.  He made a possible misstep before, and they see that.  They also see that this incident doesn't stand up as sexual harassment.  So they send him to some training class and put him under watch to satisfy her without censuring him so that neither side really has a foot to stand on.

cranioscopical

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2010, 03:41:23 PM »
The fruit bats could probably sue, for invasion of privacy.

40hz

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2010, 05:49:39 PM »
I agree completely that sexual harassment is a minefield that's too easily abused. And of course without more details it'd be impossible to ever know the truth, but something about the circumstances as they're being reported has me leaning towards him being a slime-ball rather than her crying wolf.

All the statements about previous behaviors come from the same person making the original complaint.

Not to dismiss the fact harassment occurs in the workplace, but Dr. Kennedy (as victim) can't also act as her own supporting witness. Assertions don't equal facts. And feelings don't constitute proofs. And that remains true no matter what anybody's 'gut feeling' may be telling them.  

 Unless it's in that special court where Judge Kangaroo bangs the gavel.  ;)

Stoic Joker

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2010, 05:57:00 PM »
The fruit bats could probably sue, for invasion of privacy.
Or Bat Porn CopyRight Infringement...

Stoic Joker

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2010, 06:05:23 PM »
Okay (seriously) ...Zoologists aside ... How many of the guys here would feel comfortable sharing the fruit bat BJ article with a female coworker?

Me no, because the content is way to easy to misinterpret, intent wise.

wraith808

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2010, 06:29:21 PM »
Okay (seriously) ...Zoologists aside ... How many of the guys here would feel comfortable sharing the fruit bat BJ article with a female coworker?

Me no, because the content is way to easy to misinterpret, intent wise.

If it wasn't in my field- no.

zridling

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2010, 06:44:47 PM »
Seriously, who studied such a subject on bats!
______________________________
However, I got fired from a university job once because I straightened the collar of a fellow (female) professor as we and three others were heading out in the snow for lunch. Two weeks later she claimed she was sexually harassed by me and felt fear in my presence. I was shocked at her weird interpretation (never touched her body, neck or even her hair). I was further shocked that my other colleagues didn't tell the truth about the incident in my defense. I was fired a day later because I refused to apologize or resign. The result? I don't talk to women at work; I don't help women at work; I don't dine with women at work; if they fall down, I don't help them up; if I'm in a room alone and one walks in, I promptly leave. They can accuse someone else if they're into lying. The last thing on my mind or that I'd ever do is have sex with someone I work with. EVER. It never works out.

Fortunately, karma got her back. She tried a similar stunt on the Department Chair and lost her job 19 months later. Her "incident" made the newspapers and as far as I know, she's not working at a university.

AndyM

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2010, 07:21:34 PM »
Okay (seriously) ...Zoologists aside ... How many of the guys here would feel comfortable sharing the fruit bat BJ article with a female coworker?

Me no, because the content is way to easy to misinterpret, intent wise.

You'd have to be completely clueless to not think this sort of thing could cause a very sticky problem.

Eóin

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2010, 03:32:28 AM »
Not to dismiss the fact harassment occurs in the workplace, but Dr. Kennedy (as victim) can't also act as her own supporting witness. Assertions don't equal facts. And feelings don't constitute proofs. And that remains true no matter what anybody's 'gut feeling' may be telling them.

True but I really don't mean to suggest that the facts as presented are enough to hang him. I'm just saying that neither am I about to get worked up over this whole 'freedom of academic debate' angle which seems to have the internet up in arms. Without more background it's simply very possibly this whole encounter was more sleazy than professional.

40hz

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2010, 05:36:56 AM »
^Agree.

Unfortunately (in the USA at least) the 'facts' as presented in this story are often deemed sufficient enough 'proof' to hang someone out to dry.

Even sadder is how often it happens.

It's such a common story that I doubt it would have even made the news if it weren't for the part about the fruit bats.
 :-\  
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 05:40:48 AM by 40hz »

wraith808

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2010, 07:40:32 AM »
I read a bit more about it- and this thing is becoming larger than is proportionate to the incident.

First, it does seem that this might relate to his field of study, though I'm not so sure.  He's a Lecturer in Behavioural Science, School of Medicine.  (from http://www.dylan.org.uk/).

Some other articles- including the complaints and responses.
http://www.huffingto...politi_b_576597.html
http://felidware.com/DylanEvans/
http://www.newscient...dal-in-academia.html
http://www.irishtime...9/1224270655043.html

And I'm not so sure that this public revelation will do him any good:
http://www.corkstude...t-abuse-scandal-6477
http://www.corkstude...of-fruitbatgate-6575

And in fact he's been censured for releasing confidential papers, even though he said he didn't:
http://www.corkstude...tation-to-press-6535
http://www.corkstude...st-bat-lecturer-6521

Like I said... it's being blown way out of proportion at this point, and I don't think anything good is going to come of it on either side.

Eóin

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2010, 09:02:19 AM »
Truly it's gone way out of hand. Though if he did really leak information improperly then he's very much responsible for this whole mess. To me this quote from the UCC President's blog is quite telling.

Nobody in University College Cork, from the President down, has at any point suggested he can not work on, be interested in, read, write, publish and disseminate studies on the sexual habits of fruit bats, or indeed anything else. The complaint was about the manner in which Dr Evans presented the article to the complainant. The investigators found that what he did amounted to ‘a joke with sexual innuendo’ and that ‘it was reasonable for [the complainant] to be offended’. In fact, Dr Evans’ statement in the letter he circulated widely and which was published in the Huffington Post that ‘external investigators concluded that I was not guilty of harassment’ is grossly misleading, suggesting that he was cleared of any wrongdoing. He wasn’t.

Also this blog (linked to from the above UCC one) is also worth reading, Stephen Kinsella, Fruitbatgate.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 09:06:16 AM by Eóin »

wraith808

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2010, 10:44:40 AM »
Well, the disingenuous thing about the president's stance is the fact that all witnesses were not interviewed- even the person that he said that was in the room was not questioned.  It seems at this point he's riding the wave of internet created cause célèbre, but he could be brought down to earth quite quickly if he's linked to any of the leaks.  He could also be cited for the fact that he linked to the location of the leaked documents, even if he didn't actually link them.

Gwen7

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Re: Sexual harassment taken too far...
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2010, 10:58:01 AM »
is "witch hunt" spelled as one word or two?
 :)