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* Irish academic Dylan Evans has been accused of sexual harassment after discussing a paper on bat fellatio with a female colleague. Seems like a perfectly acceptable topic of conversation to me; at the same time, I’m not entirely convinced that this guy wasn’t discussing bat fellatio in the creepiest way possible. The New Scientist report is vague:
It seems there was more to the grievance between Evans and the complainant than the fellatio paper incident, but an independent investigation found that Evans was not guilty of sexual harassment. The investigation stated that it was reasonable for the colleague to have been offended and that showing the paper was a joke with a sexual innuendo, but that it was not Evans’ intention to cause offence.
Evans was censured by the University, which he says “may” prevent him from securing tenure. So what sort of behavior was Evans involved in beyond the bat fellatio incident? Here’s an excerpt from his colleague’s complaint:
Since he arrived at the school last year, Dr Evans has often come to my office, generally early in the morning and always uninvited, to talk mainly about himself.
On many occasions he used unwelcome patting, hugging, kissing on the cheeks and touching behaviour with me; he also used to make compliments on my beauty or the way I was dressed.
I told him that I do not appreciate compliments as they do not mean anything to me.
Some high-profile academics—-like Tufts’ Daniel Dennett and Harvard’s Steven Pinker—-have come to Evans’ defense:
Dennett calls the punishment “an outrageous violation of academic freedom” and Pinker says the “absurd and shameful” judgment “runs contrary to the principle of intellectual freedom and freedom of speech, to say nothing of common sense.”
Ah, the freedom to unwelcome-pat. Look: There are hundreds of contexts in which one can discuss a bat fellatio paper with a colleague. We should probably consider that before concluding that sexual harassment policies are killing our freedoms.
* The newly-crowned Miss USA, Rima Fakih, is “the first Arab-American and Muslim to win the title.” Is this a sign of the widening of traditional American beauty standards, or an Islamofascist conspiracy?
* Meanwhile, some guy at the Huffington Post has called her a whore.
* Glenn Beck and the performance of femininity through fake tears.
Photo via Wikipedia Commons