Bit extreme isn’t it?

She claimed that the case highlighted a long-standing sexist culture in some British universities, where it was regarded as acceptable for older male professors to sleep with younger graduate students and for male students to chat up women.

Umm, it is acceptable for professors to sleep with graduate students. Because they’re all consenting adults and that’s what consenting adults get to do, whatever they consent to.

It isn’t quite so acceptable that “here is this research position now drop your knickers” happens: but adults shagging adults is just fine.

And what the fuck is that second complaint? That male students chat up women? Did that come from someone who is still a member of the human species? Have they ever met any adult humans?

23 thoughts on “Bit extreme isn’t it?”

  1. “Ann Olivarius, the lawyer representing Morrison, told the Sunday Times that her client’s career had been destroyed and she had suffered mental stress.

    “To repair and make her whole you are looking at a couple of million dollars. We have got that in other cases,” Olivarius said.”

    Or ‘Nice university you got here. Be a shame if something happened to it, eh?’

  2. From my hazy memories of Manchester University between 1996 and 2000, I don’t recall it being necessary to exactly “chat up women” in the student bars. In fact, I seem to remember my attempts at speaking was where it would all go wrong.

  3. Also, the incident took place in, er, Florida. The link to British universities is based entirely on the fact that the ‘professor’ is British.

  4. Colin McGinn, 65, is said to have exchanged 400 emails and texts with Monica Ainhorn Morrison, 29, writing erotic poems to her foot and giving it a nickname based on the teenage character Lolita in the Nabokov novel.

    His foot sports a trademark gold medallion and cigar.

    In other emails he is alleged to have […] told her that he owned her, writing: “You are mine … I want to repeat it so that it sinks in. You are mine, mine, mine.”

    This doesn’t sound like harrassment, unless we’re being asked to believe the 65 year old philosophy professor is some sort of latter day Travis Bickle. It sounds like the kind of email someone already in a sexual relationship with the recipient would send.

    Ann Olivarius, the lawyer representing Morrison, told the Sunday Times that her client’s career had been destroyed

    Her promising career as a philosopher?

  5. Coming from an all girls boarding school, my meeting the opposite sex was part of the education package. Grad and postgrad tutors and lecturers were more attractive than my callow male contemporaries. Professors, on the other hand, generally show the effects of creeping middle age and were sexually unappealing.

  6. Looks quite sexy in the photo, I used to have a Malinois very similar, but it wouldn’t let me have sex with it.

  7. I read a lengthy profile of this case about a year ago. Can’t find it now. Needless to say, it’s all a lot more complicated than is currently being made out. McGinn has been extremely foolish, but it was a genuine relationship to start with, not just a sexual harrassment case.

    Both of them should have realized that as they had started a relationship that they should no longer continue working together as supervisor and student. But that’s sometimes easier said than done — there may have been no one else suitable at that University who could supervise her area at the level she wanted, so it may have been in her interest to stay working with McGinn despite the relationship.

    From my experience most female philosophy grad students are people to steer well clear of.

  8. The usual problem of prof/student shagging is that they are in the same department so that the prof has power over the student. Some profs are unscrupulous bastards, and it’s unlikely that they make an exception about getting their ends away.

  9. @dearieme

    That’s a second educational lesson for all concerned then- mind your own lines well, because unscrupulous bastards etc etc*

    * the lesson for the prof being “some of the students father’s may be very very angry at you if you mess with their freshly fledged chickadees”

  10. Speaking as a prof, it’s mind-bogglingly unprofessional [not to say immoral] to supervise someone with whom you have a relationship. There’s all sorts of power/influence and judgement things going on in PhD supervision and the last thing you should have is for those lines to be blurred by any other form of relationship.

    Now to get real, I suppose that is a counsel of of perfection, but I would expect the supervisor who did end up in such a relationship to inform their Head of Department and request a second supervisor (as a minimum).

  11. The only possible reason to spend your life in academia, making shit money surrounded by wankers, is for the blow jobs.

  12. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Profs having it away—or even thinking about having it away—with their female students has such a lengthy pedigree that it’s a staple of narrative fiction. It could be The History Man, Oleanna or Animal House, for God’s sake. As for the power imbalance, I’m not sure it’s all one way. Yes, the Prof might exert an influence on the student to the effect that the quid pro quo for academic success is some May-September humping, but the ability of a moist, lissome twenty-something to wrap a tweedy middle-aged fart round her finger shouldn’t be underestimated.

  13. “the ability of a moist, lissome twenty-something to wrap a tweedy middle-aged fart round her finger shouldn’t be underestimated”: as long as she doesn’t inveigle him into doctoring exam results, or the like, that’s his problem not the university’s.

  14. So Much For Subtlety

    Charlie Suet – “Also, the incident took place in, er, Florida. The link to British universities is based entirely on the fact that the ‘professor’ is British.”

    McGinn is a real professor. Don’t need the quotes. And an interesting one, in places, too. His autobiography is actually very interesting. We all know the story – working class lad, coal mining family, struggled hard, got into decent university, ended up doing philosophy etc etc. What is unusual is that I don’t think it was the Eleven Plus that helped him. If I remember correctly, and I may not, he went to a Secondary Modern and from there got into Manchester and then to Oxford.

    He did write a book called “How to be Moral” (or as I would call it, How to have the same banal opinions as everyone else in the Guardian-reading common room). I wonder if it had a chapter on banging your students.

  15. @Interested “…blow jobs”.
    Nah, some of us really like being paid to do mathematics.
    I agree about the lefty colleagues though…oh sorry, you said “wankers”; but one is a subset of the other and I wanted to be more specific.

  16. As this is in Florida, what has the horror of “male students chatting up women” got to do with anything?

    I’ve heard they sometimes talk with their mouth full too. And, even worse, sometimes they drink beer.

  17. So Much For Subtlety

    Rob – “As this is in Florida, what has the horror of “male students chatting up women” got to do with anything?”

    I believe, due to Affirmative Consent laws, if you want to chat up a girl on campus these days, you must first ask permission.

    If I remember Donald Symons correctly, Florida was where someone did the famous experiment of sending out attractive young people to ask people of the opposite sex (back then this was much easier) if they would sleep with them. I would love to see the expression on the face of the committee charged with approval if you asked to do that these days.

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