A college law professor at Howard University has been found guilty of sexual harassment over a test question that included information about a bikini wax and the use of the word “genitals”.
The question posed by Professor Robinson was a hypothetical situation in which a person sued a beauty salon claiming to have been touched inappropriately by a therapist. This took place after falling asleep while undergoing a bikini wax.
The question asked whether a court would support the person’s claim against the salon owner as opposed to the therapist. The question also asked if it would even be upheld given that the person had consented to the somewhat invasive wax on their genitals.
Two students complained back in 2015 and after an exhaustive review, the professor was found guilty.
Mind you, these are the same people who probably parade around in vagina costumes or put pussy hats on their heads.
This is the question:
The two students who complained said it made the “uneasy”. After a 16-month investigation, the professor has been found guilty.
He will have to undergo sensitivity training and this will be his last warning. Any more complaints and he’s gone.
The students said the question made them feel forced to reveal if they had ever been waxed themselves. His test questions will forevermore be screened by other staff members.. His classes will be supervised indefinitely.
The professor issued a statement
“My case should worry every faculty member at Howard University, and perhaps elsewhere, who teaches in substantive areas like law, medicine, history, and literature. Why? None of these academic areas can be taught without evaluating and discussing contextual facts, especially unsavory and emotionally charged ones.
I also can’t prepare my students adequately for legal practice if I can’t teach them new developments and require them to read unedited, unfiltered cases.”
InsideHigherEd, a blog for college professors, notes the question is “rather graphic “but many would say the response is an overreaction.
Gee, ya think?
Many law cases will be a lot more graphic.
FIRE wants the finding revoked
It’s not over. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education — which asked Howard to revoke Robinson’s sanctions, but reportedly did not hear back by a June 30 deadline — said this week that the university’s “overreaction to a simple hypothetical question is a threat to academic freedom and a professor’s ability to effectively teach students.” The question “clearly does not constitute sexual harassment,” added Susan Kruth, FIRE’s senior program officer for legal and public advocacy.
It would seem that if the professor had a pattern of sexually graphic questions, they might have a case. That’s not what happened here.