Professor's behaviour- innapropriate? - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 12 Old 02-07-2011, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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 I am in a program that is currently women dominated with the exception of 2 males. Quite a few of these women appear to be middle-aged, single, low-income  not the most self-confident kind (easy prey is what Im trying to say).

 

We have a male prof, who I personally think is one of those oily sleezy kind of peeps. He looks it, he jokes it, he talks it, he walks it.

I am not the only student who feels this way about him.

 

From the beginning he has been leaning on women when he helps them with, and last week had 'escalated' into putting his arm around the shoulders and pulling the woman (in this case it was just the one) into him.

I did not go to class this week. But i was planning on paying closer attention to his behaviour- Is the same for everyone, who is ok with it, who is not. Is it indeed going to far and being unprofessional.

 

IMO, he should not be touching anyone.  I am unsure of wether this is something reportable since it is not me he crowding.

I have no problems speaking up for myself. Ill tell him to his face, and go to the dean of he bothers me. However, I do not think he would, as my body language is clearly confident and ' keep your hands off'.

 

Is this something I speak to someone (who if yes) about, or do I just shudder inside and make faces with some of the other gals over his behaviour?


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#2 of 12 Old 02-07-2011, 09:46 AM
 
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Ewwwwww!!! cold.gif Yeah that is totally not ok. As to who you should speak to, I would recommend speaking to the head of his department, and request that they speak to him but that you remain anonymous. If he is the head of the department (shudder!) then I'm not sure.

If the behavior escalates beyond what you have seen then I think you should file a formal complaint with student services.

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#3 of 12 Old 02-07-2011, 09:54 AM
 
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If he's head of the department, go up the line. Dean/Provost is usually the next level.

There may also be a liason in your program or at the college. At my graduate institution, there was a grad student ombudsperson who was supposed to help with problems (at the department level - but, the ombudsperson was the creepy one in the department, so THAT wouldn't have worked). Where I am now, there is an ombudsperson for the whole institution, and even if s/he can't help directly, s/he will know the organizational structure and help get the information/complaint/concern to the right office.

 

You might also ask one of the women - or several of them - if they feel uncomfortable and want to join you in talking to the department head. Or if it's ok if you speak "for" them if you feel comfortable doing that. The thing I could see being an issue is that YOU don't feel harassed by the prof, so action might not be taken until one of the "victims" speaks. But, if this is the case, at least you've paved the way/greased the wheel, so to speak, so that if one of them DOES make a complaint, she might be taken more seriously from the start. (Not that she shouldn't or wouldn't be taken seriously, but her complaint would be occurring in a context where there is already concern about the professor's behavior).


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#4 of 12 Old 02-07-2011, 09:55 AM
 
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Figure out who he answers too (Because everyone answers to someone unless your the president) and go to that person.  I agree that its unappropriate, boundary crossing bahavioir. 

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#5 of 12 Old 02-07-2011, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Phew, thanks for validating that this behaviour is not ok.

 

I know who the dean is, and our program liason. I will share my concerns with them. I will also see if any of the other students wish to speak up a bit louder.


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#6 of 12 Old 02-09-2011, 12:33 AM
 
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I would absolutely say something. His behavior is not professional at all, this is actually a form of sexual harassment, "third party" sexual harassment to you, more direct to the people he's fondling; though you are a student and not an employee, HE is, and I'm sure the University will want to know about it. I would ask some of the other people in class to go with you, or to at least submit an anonymous complaint in writing (not through you, through mail or some other delivery system). Also, mention it on the teacher evaluation if you have one at the end of the term.


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#7 of 12 Old 02-09-2011, 07:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeckedyPeg View Post

I would absolutely say something. His behavior is not professional at all, this is actually a form of sexual harassment, "third party" sexual harassment to you, more direct to the people he's fondling; though you are a student and not an employee, HE is, and I'm sure the University will want to know about it. I would ask some of the other people in class to go with you, or to at least submit an anonymous complaint in writing (not through you, through mail or some other delivery system). Also, mention it on the teacher evaluation if you have one at the end of the term.


Yes, I went through enough harassment seminars in the military to know that the harassment doesn't have to be aimed at you, for you to be harassed. My office actually got a talking to when one officer made a complaint with EEO about the "off color" humor/language used in the office though no one tried to involve him in it--it creates a "hostile environment." I had a science teacher like that in Jr. High--it was confusing at the time because he was likable except when he had his arms on either side of you, looking over your shoulder and breathing down your neck.


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#8 of 12 Old 02-10-2011, 09:34 AM
 
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you really need to have the person who this occurred to complain about him.  Since it wasn't you and YOU WEREN'T THERE (this could be a problem), then I think you should go and talk to your advisor first.  It really depends on your school--when I was in college and University, you could go straight to the Dean, but at nursing school, there was so much bull, you had to go to your advisor first.

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#9 of 12 Old 02-11-2011, 11:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheer mom View Post

you really need to have the person who this occurred to complain about him.  Since it wasn't you and YOU WEREN'T THERE (this could be a problem), then I think you should go and talk to your advisor first.  It really depends on your school--when I was in college and University, you could go straight to the Dean, but at nursing school, there was so much bull, you had to go to your advisor first.

 

She wasn't there for one incident; he has been behaving inappropriately all semester.
 


"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#10 of 12 Old 02-11-2011, 09:46 PM
 
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Find out too, if there's a sexual harassment network or something like that on campus. (Not a network to promote sexual harassment, but one to stop it.) Many universities have these networks to help students/staff who feel they've been sexually harassed. Since there's such a power differential between the person doing the harassing (professor) and the victims (students whose grade depends on the evaluation or the harasser), some universities have recognized that there needs to be a 'neutral' group that people can take their concerns to and get help from.

 

It sounds like you're willing to take this further, which is great, but go into it knowing all of your resources -- the dean, the liason, any student ombudsman program, any sexual harassment network. The Dean of Students should also be someone you could contact.


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#11 of 12 Old 02-15-2011, 07:06 PM
 
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Every University has something called an Operations Manual.  It is like a playbook that tells you what to do for everything from a bomb threat to how to get reimbursed for expenses.  I suggest that you search the school's website to look for the Operations Manual and find out what the procedure is for reporting sexual harassment.

 

Your school will take you seriously, but the school will take it much more seriously if you can convince one of the people who were touched to complain.  Ten years ago, one of my undergrad students was repeatedly touched (in the manner you describe) by one of my fellow faculty members (senior to me) in the presence of other students.  She was desperate, and she came to me to complain. Complaining to the Department Head was not an option. She didn't want to formally complain, because as the only female student, she was obviously identifiable even for an anonymous complaint.  I eventually persuaded her to report it to the Dean.  The Dean hit the roof, and fixed the situation so fast that it made my head spin.

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#12 of 12 Old 02-16-2011, 09:30 AM
 
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also, besides what pp's mentioned above, there is usually an anonymous feedback mechanism on the college or univ. website. 

that behavior is unacceptable in any case, esp. if students feel as though assistance or grades depend upon fraternization or feelies from the prof.


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