April 22, 2008

At the end of a year when 3 professors resigned because they were accused of sexual harrassment...

... the University of Georgia announces that its graduation speaker will be Clarence Thomas. Protests ensue, predictably.

Whether you think Justice Thomas did what his foes accused him of or not, isn't it a poor choice?

38 comments:

rhhardin said...

Probably male professors. You know how guys are.

MadisonMan said...

Well, it certainly shows little thought on the part of the people selecting.

So Bill Clinton wasn't available?

Ron said...

Hey, Eliot Spitzer was probably, you know, busy!

ricpic said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
George said...

This is a case of a bored and lazy reporter using exciting words to gin up a story without doing much research.

There are no "protests," just complaints. The story mentions "rounds of angry and frustrated e-mails." In what volume and between how many people the story does not say.

The story says "some" faculty members are "outraged." Then it quotes two people, only one of whom is a professor. The latter says she plans to use not one but two (!) psychology lectures to "educate" students about Thomas' appointment.

Clearly, the "faculty" as a whole are not "riled."

And, ricpic, take your gutter talk somewhere else.

rhhardin said...

Somebody long ago analyzed lectures as seductions. Kenneth Burke?

Anyway they struck him that way.

No male has any standing to speak anywhere this year, even in class.

Simon said...

Have the charges against the professors been substantiated, or was it a Duke-style rush to judgment followed by "resignations"?

rhhardin said...

Thomas didn't do what Hill said, but it doesn't matter. He could have. He's a guy.

Pogo said...

From The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 30, 2008
"Professor Accused of Sexual Harassment Resigns
A professor at the University of Georgia who has been accused of sexually harassing female undergraduates for nearly two decades will resign by the end of the academic year."


I cannnot find the other cases.

I don't understand why Thomas would be a poor choice. Accusations of sexual harrassment are aplenty at most universities steeped in the postmodern multicultural PC goo, i.e. everywhere. Which precludes every heterosexual male from being a speaker, guilt by association and all that.

All of this could be avoided by women-only schools. Like in Islam. Women are tender flowers that cannot abide the gruff male, but needs constant oversight and protection.

ricpic said...

Up yours, George.

Richard Fagin said...

Justice Thomas is a great choice for a speaker. He was in fact the best possible choice to replace Thurgood Marshall on the Supreme Court, too, because he is a gigantic, unrestrained thumb in the eye to race and gender mongers.

MadisonMan said...

ricpic, why so bitter?

Triangle Man said...

The complainers obviously didn't see the 60 minutes interview with Thomas. If they had, they would know that because of his difficult upbringing, his opinions are correct.

ricpic said...

Both you, MM, and George, apparently don't understand that my original comment was an allusion to Thomas's "incorrect" positions. Now it's all spelled out. Happy?

Middle Class Guy said...

Justice Thomas was accused by one person, whose credibility was challenged from day one. He gets slammed.

Bill Clinton, a serial adulterer and harasser who has verified claims against him is the rock star and makes tens of millions of dollars.

What is wrong with this picture?

dbp said...

"Whether you think Justice Thomas did what his foes accused him of or not, isn't it a poor choice?"

No. A thousand times, No.

It flies in the face of justice to punish, shun or otherwise discriminate against a person on the mere basis of accusation.

Besides, come-on: It is a university, Thomas is a black conservative, of course there will be complaints. As expected as the sunrise.

Ann Althouse said...

ricpic: I understood your point, but I don't want this "n word" here, even when it is used satirically or to make a good point. If you want to rewrite, I won't delete.

Ann Althouse said...

My point about having Thomas to UGA this year is that it appears to use something about him that he doesn't want to be known for to make a political statement. He deserves to be in a setting where that distraction isn't present. And for the people at the university who were outraged by what happened, inviting Thomas looks like a slap in the face. Thus, it's bad for them and bad for Thomas. I'm assuming the accusations made against Thomas were false when I make this point.

MadisonMan said...

Commenters here have the same tin ear of people who agreed to this speaker.

In an Campus Environment where three professors have resigned because of harassment allegations, some committee decides to invite another person who was accused of harassment. There are two possible messages:

(1) We don't believe the accuser from 1991. (Wow that was a long time ago). All you accusers here at the University: your stories are suspect as well.

(2) We do believe the accuser in 1991. It doesn't matter. All you accusers here at the University: your complaints won't affect the harasser.

UGA President Michael Adams announced he is ... creating a women's center on campus. How nice that the activist women on campus can leverage this controversy into a nice center. It seems he is not leading, but being pushed around.

What would have been lost by pushing this speech back a year?

Larry said...

I am seriously disappointed that you would suggest that Clarence Thomas is a poor choice, even if I take into account the transparency of the attempt to be a shit-disturber.

PatCA said...

I would guess that the kerfluffle hangs on the fact that Thomas is unapologetically conservative rather than on allegations fro the past.

Why not Bill Clinton? A liberal womanizer!

Richard Dolan said...

Ann says: "He deserves to be in a setting where that distraction isn't present. And for the people at the university who were outraged by what happened, inviting Thomas looks like a slap in the face. Thus, it's bad for them and bad for Thomas."

As for what Justice Thomas "deserves" and what is "bad for Thomas," those are judgments best made by him. By accepting the invitation, I gather he has made them.

As for those "who were outraged by what happened, inviting Thomas looks like a slap in the face," there are two problems. First, that reduces Thomas to a symbol of activity that, as Ann says, she assumes he did not commit. Second, to accept Ann's analysis is to make the determining factor the feelings of the "outraged." We don't do that in any other context (it would be the end of the open university if we did), especially where the issue is whether a particular speaker should be invited to a campus. In other contexts, Ann has batted away any such PC-driven standard intended to be used to disinvite politically disfavored speakers.

What makes you think it is such a great idea in this context?

Pogo said...

There are two possible messages:

No, there are many possible messages.

One might be that the Univerity's issues have been resolved, including the ritual power grab/bribery by the aggrieved minority (i.e. creating a women's center on campus).

Or the message might be that Thomas was accused but never has the issue been settled, and we cannot settle it here. Uncertainty is our lot.

It would be no better to invite Thomas next year or the next. The victim mentality is continually crying foul and their complaints cannot ever be assuaged. Sexual harrassment will continue to occur and continue to be claimed.

They are the eternally embittered, perpetually victimized Ellen Jamesians. Bowing to their tongueless whimpering further infantilizes women.

They're graduating. The world is hard. Time to grow up.

SGT Ted said...

Outrage is the default mode of the Victim Institutional Complex which is taking charge of Universities. It is how they make their living; securing themselves fraudulent sinecures on college campii via Womens/Victims/Crypto-Marxist "studies" departments by getting the vapors everytime their delicate little ideologies are crossed.

It's not enough to correct the behavior and punish the transgressor, no. People who were never involved or injured need to be bribed or there will be hell to pay.

Why should any college base its speaker invitations on whether or not thesed clowns will be outraged? It would be akin to not inviting Clarence Thomas because one of the womyn was raped or abused by a black guy.

tituswantsababy said...

Hi, My name is Keith and I am a taurus from Athens G A and I like to find the essence from within.

tituswantsababy said...

Athens Georgia is really cool.


Let Thomas speak.

What happened to freedom of speech?

tituswantsababy said...

Macon Georgia not so cool.

Skyler said...

I'm pretty sure that the charges against Thomas have indeed been settled, as he was confirmed. That some people want to keep stomping their feet and insisting otherwise says more about them than him.

Trooper York said...

That's why they couldn't get Obama to speak. Isn't Macon against his religion or something?

MadisonMan said...

Pogo, I left the only out from in front of two on purpose!

Pogo said...

Rats.

And here I thought I was being so thoughtful.

David said...
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David said...

Ann, based on your argument in the comments, it might be a bad choice for Justice Thomas to accept, but not a bad one to invite him. He is a grownup who can evaluate the context (though it's quite possible the Justice has--or had--no idea that harassment was a big issue at UGA in the past year.)

David said...

Pogo--I'm so old that I went to college in the days where many of the so called better schools in the northeast were single gender, male and female. The faculty were mostly male in both categories. Nobody was better at harassment than the male faculty at the all female schools: for some it was a constant supply of adoring, pliant young lovers.

Norman O. Brown, who taught at my school Wesleyan, used to like to go to women's schools and give lectures on penis envy. He did not do it just to get the ladies thinking about deep issues--he played it for laughs.

MadisonMan said...

By the way -- if he were to have been asked next year, and people still objected, well then I'd put it down to victimology or anti-Conservative politics.

It would be interesting to know if Justice Thomas knew of the brouhaha when he was invited. I wonder if the committee doing the inviting thought to bring him up to speed on it when they extended the invitation if he didn't. Always nice to know if you're wading into a minefield.

Pogo said...

Always nice to know if you're wading into a minefield.

You said it.

He only has to say this however: Please consider whether you would have similarly objected to Bill Clinton being here at this time. And would you ask him the same questions?

I'd change it into a referendum on harrassment and Mr. Clinton's behavior; reframing it, as they say.

dbp said...

Maybe inviting Thomas says exactly what should be said:

From the standpoint of U. of G:

Look, we demanded (and got) the resignation of three professors who were accused of sexual harrassment. So, we take the issue seriously. Thomas was accused, but given that a Democratic Senate confirmed the conservative Thomas, we should consider the case against him closed. Justice is served by punishing sexual harrassers, not by punishing people who were wrongly accused of it.

Middle Class Guy said...

Trooper York said...
That's why they couldn't get Obama to speak. Isn't Macon against his religion or something?



Hey, remember Little Richard; the Georgia Peach from Macon Georgia?