The lab instructor tells her class, “if you can’t remember my name, just make up one.”
The student cannot, so he makes up a plain-vanilla name: Sarah Jackson.
What happens next tells you what happens when
- universities have unfettered power over students,
- those universities give “Social Justice Warriors” on the faculty and in the administration carte blanche to terrorize students
- students have no rights to a fair hearing (much less due process), and
- bogus claims of sexual harassment begin to crowd out legitimate concerns about coercion, violence, rape, intimidation, and other truly awful behavior.
That’s the toxic mix that slimed a student for writing the horrendous words, “Sarah Jackson.”
For writing those two innocuous words, in response to a teacher’s invitation to make up a name
- The professor gave him a ZERO on the test.
- The appeal to another faculty member sustained the ZERO.
- Then the University of Tennessee started an investigation against the student for sexual harassment simply for writing the name “Sarah Jackson.”
Go ahead, see if you can possibly guess why writing “Sarah Jackson” would set off these fireworks? Any guesses?
I didn’t have a clue myself. None at all. See if you can guess!
After all, hundreds of thousands of people have the name “Sarah Jackson.”
So does a Canadian lingerie model, as it happens. Apparently she does some nude modeling. I’d never heard of her. Most people haven’t, and that seems to include search engines.
I couldn’t find her on Wikipedia (although I confess it’s not a top site for research on lingerie and nude modeling). The only “Sarah Jackson” who did show up in Wikipedia is a Canadian sculptor who died in 2004.
The actress/model’s picture (I guess it is her) shows up in a Google search, but she is clothed and the IMDb site lists her as an actress and names a few of her films. I wouldn’t have realized she was sometimes a nude model unless the well-informed faculty at the University of Tennessee told me. One must admire the thoroughness of their research. I only hope it is publishable. Of course, these internet search hits would show nude models more prominently if they are part of your internet-search history. That, of course, could never, ever, never be true for the good folks who run the Spanish Inquisition and Auto-da-fé for Students at the University of Tennessee.
To give you some inkling of how truly moronic the professor and lab instructor are, I want to give you the freshman student’s polite request and Dr. William Deane’s reply.
Now, let’s see if Bill Deane’s ex cathedra decision makes any sense.
First, I looked US listings for “Sarah Jackson” on LinkedIn (since the student was in an American university). It turns out that 1,856 Sarah Jackson’s are registered with Linked In. In my humble opinion, the Spanish Inquisition at the University of Tennessee should immediately report these 1,856 people for violating Title IX. I would hate to think any might be admitted to study there, much less teach. It is inconceivable that so many people–all of them women–can persist in keeping their names when it is obviously such a manifest assault on other women. Have these women no sense of decency?
But, oh the humanity, when you search Google for “Sarah Jackson.” Despite the distress that name causes, there are 116 million hits. This is a true humanitarian catastrophe–and a devastating, perhaps irreversible blow to women’s equality at the University of Tennessee. I urge Cardinal Deane to take immediate, severe action.
Perhaps it is a name used only by actresses and lingerie models and not by professors or others working at universities. Nope.
⇒ Of course, it is the University of Tennessee’s teachers and sleeping administrators who should be ashamed. What they are doing to this innocent student is a college version of Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition. It’s just that they are doing it in the name of “Social Justice” and “Gender Harassment” instead of Counter-Reformation Catholicism. The moral superiority, instant judgments, and unfettered power are the same.
These professors need a little adult supervision. The Title-IX zealots here should be sanctioned for their abuse of power and unbelievably bad judgment. Any guesses the name of the department investigating this incident? “Office of Equity and Diversity.” They will spend a week or so meeting with everyone, including the surely-petrified freshman, to determine an outcome. This case should take 25 minutes and should have been completed immediately. Why so slow? Answer: Because it is a bureaucracy and is not designed to help students (or faculty).
Quick side-note: if you think the Office of Equity and Diversity in any university is designed to include diversity of viewpoints, then you still believe in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
Who should step in and fix this shambles? The Dean who handles geophysical sciences should do so. If he/she/zie doesn’t, then the Chancellor, Jimmy Cheek, or Provost, John Zomchick, should. If they don’t, then the board of trustees should hire new people to run this university. The board is chaired by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
If these people have a sense of academic integrity, or simple fair play, they should step in immediately and remedy this injustice. And they should punish those who dealt it out. (That never happens in any university or in any bureaucracy tasked with policing itself. Never. Look at the Duke University faculty who falsely pilloried the lacrosse team. Nothing happened to them. None that I know of have apologized or publicly recanted their cruel misstatements. Some are now administrators, in positions to continue doing harm.)
⇒ It may seem ridiculous to make a huge case out of a minor quiz in one class. But it represents something larger: the Social Justice Warriors using unchecked power to coerce and punish students arbitrarily. That must stop. It might as well start with “Sarah Jackson.”
Meanwhile, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is on the case. Thank goodness for them.
The information in this post came from several sources. Thanks to
♦ FIRE and its article on this incident by Tyler Coward
♦ Total Frat Move and its article on this incident
♦ Knoxville News-Sentinel for their news story