Academia vs. Morality
Uploaded by bestbet33 on Sep 17, 2001
A university professor has an exalted position, not only on campus but also in society. A professor’s students should have higher expectations of his/her behavior than they would of fellow students and others in society. Professor Dobyns was found guilty of sexual harassment by Syracuse University. Not only was a female student harassed and embarrassed, the reputation of the University also suffered. The verdict was appropriate, given the circumstances.
A student attended a university sponsored party where she met the English Department graduate students and faculty members. At that party she was approached by Professor Dobyns. She was not close to Dobyns, they had only exchanged a few words of casual conversation. He immediately made aggressive remarks and acted in a belligerent manner. The girl ignored the professor’s overtures and turned away from the situation. Dobyns’ reaction was to make a comment to another male about her breasts. Such a remark, of course, turns the situation into one of a sexual nature. Again, the student showed no reaction. While she was walking away Dobyns yelled out, “Stalinist bitch!” When she reacted to the remark with silence, he became very angry and threw his drink in her face. This act clearly shows not only that Professor Dobyns has no respect for his female students, but also that he has much to learn in containing his tongue and his temper.
Professor Dobyns was representing the University when attending the party. He was there in his capacity as a professor and should have acted accordingly. As a professor there should be a trust between students where they can feel comfortable. When that trust is broken both the student and the University suffers. Dobyns portrayed not a professor but an arrogant rude male who thought it was ok to interrogate his female students. Students need to feel comfortable and aware that their teachers will be there for them on and off campus for guidance and advice. Not to be intimidated and bullied by them. Someone who is recognized as a distinguished poet and novelist should be fully aware of his duties as a teacher and how to express himself appropriately.
One of Dobyns colleagues stated in his defense, “Clearly, my friend is guilty-but only of bad behavior. You don’t go throwing drinks in a student’s face and talking about her breasts.” Dobyns’ friend admits that he was in the wrong. But how could she possibly...