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As the fall 2008 school semester begins with much of the country hoping for change early next year it seems that some things have not changed:

Inside Higher Education (August 15, 2008): If One Professor Gropes, Does Everyone Need Training?

That what Arthur H. Miller is accused of doing would constitute sexual harassment is, one would hope, obvious to anyone who works in higher education. The political science professor at the University of Iowa was arrested last week on bribery charges arising out of accusations by female students that he told them he would give them higher grades if they let him fondle their breasts. In one case, he is alleged to have grabbed and sucked on a student’s breast and then sent her an e-mail telling her that she had earned an A+. … Sally Mason, Iowa’s president, announced on Tuesday that she plans to extend the university’s sexual harassment training : currently required only for those with supervisory roles : to all professors and other employees.

Many experts on sexual harassment say that Mason’s action is the right thing to do : and would be even if the Miller case hadn’t come along. …

But others question whether requiring all professors to go through training is necessary or appropriate. … “It’s ludicrous to think that the faculty member who was arrested was unaware that it was morally offensive to offer higher grades to several of his students if he could grope them,”Peter Wood, executive director of the National Association of Scholars, said.”I don’t believe there is a single faculty member who is unaware of the university’s sexual harassment policy. The fact that harassment took place did not happen because of the lack of awareness of the university’s policies.”

(hat tip to Paul Caron and TaxProfBlog and see also.)

–Francine J. Lipman

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