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Gertie Keddle

Banishment of an acclaimed UC Irvine professor sparks debate over whet

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Gertie Keddle

Banishment of an acclaimed UC Irvine professor sparks debate over whether #MeToo can go too far

Teresa Watanabe

By Teresa Watanabe

Oct 13, 2018 | 5:00 AM

LA Times

Excerpt:

 

 

For years, the professor told the assistant dean that she was beautiful and greeted her with hugs and a kiss on each cheek.

 

During their time together at UC Irvine, Francisco J. Ayala, 84, and Benedicte Shipley, 50, perceived their encounters in dramatically different ways.

 

He said he believed he was showing her admiration, respect and the courtly manners of his native Spain. She said she felt objectified and humiliated. Her version won out this year, when officials concluded that Ayala had sexually harassed Shipley and two other women.

 

The university swiftly moved to erase his presence. The world-renowned geneticist resigned, was banned from campus and stripped of prestigious University of California titles. And though he had given Irvine $11.5 million in donations, his name was taken off the university buildings he helped support.

 

The sanctions have bitterly divided the campus, drawn international attention and underscored the growing complexity of the nation’s pitched battles over sexual harassment.

A year has passed since the start of the #MeToo movement. How has it affected your life? »

 

As the #MeToo movement empowers more women to share their stories and hold powerful institutions accountable, the UC Irvine case highlights conflicting views about how to define sexual harassment — and whether all offensive acts deserve equal punishment.

 

That debate is likely to deepen if, as expected, the Trump administration changes federal sexual harassment standards for campuses. Under Title IX standards followed by UC, one marker of sexual harassment is unwanted conduct “sufficiently severe or pervasive” to unreasonably interfere with a person’s education or employment. The administration is considering moving to a definition used by the U.S. Supreme Court that states the conduct also must be “objectively offensive.”

 

Unwanted fondling or forcible kissing clearly crosses that line — but people sharply disagree about Ayala’s conduct, which included a 2015 incident in which he jokingly offered one of the women his lap as a seat at a faculty meeting (and then apologized after he learned she was offended).

 

Elizabeth Loftus, a UCI professor of social ecology, law and cognitive science, said she found Ayala’s hugs and cheek kisses “adorable.” Shipley, who said Ayala also on occasion rubbed his hands up and down her sides when hugging, viewed his behavior as “more than creepy.”

 

Of the 10 women besides the complainants who said Ayala gave them compliments or greeted him with kisses, two said it made them feel uncomfortable, according to UCI’s findings. The Times obtained an unredacted copy of the report. Others who witnessed Ayala’s actions called them inappropriate. One called him a “dirty old man.”

 

Rose McDermott, a Brown University professor who specializes in gender issues, believes younger women are more sensitive to perceived harassment than older ones.

 

“How we draw the line between inappropriate or patronizing behavior and genuine harassment is really challenging because women themselves don’t agree,” she said. “Those in-between spaces are getting harder to negotiate.”

 

More than 100 scholars at UCI and around the world have signed a statement expressing concern that the sanctions were “a massive overreaction.”

 

Article

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Dean Adam Smithee

I think there's no longer any question whether it 'can' go to far. Or even whether it already HAS.

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Ben Cranklin

I get that #MeToo has gone too far, but I think this story is a bad example of the point. Frankly, the guy in the OP does come across as a “dirty old man” to me; the Joe Biden of UC Irvine. Taking his name off buildings he helped fund seems a little excessive, though. Wish the women had given the old fool a good prolonged yank on his ear and a lecture, like you would to a naughty child. A few of those in public might have cured the old codger and induced him to start being a little more dignified in future.

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USNRETWIFE

I get that #MeToo has gone too far, but I think this story is a bad example of the point. Frankly, the guy in the OP does come across as a "dirty old man" to me; the Joe Biden of UC Irvine. Taking his name off buildings he helped fund seems a little excessive, though. Wish the women had given the old fool a good prolonged yank on his ear and a lecture, like you would to a naughty child. A few of those in public might have cured the old codger and induced him to start being a little more dignified in future.

But too many people don't discipline naughty children any more, let alone telling someone their actions are offensive before it goes this far.

 

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Buckwheat Jones

For years. The article starts out with For Years.

 

If you are going to put up with it, you are going to get more of it.

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Gertie Keddle

For years. The article starts out with For Years.

 

If you are going to put up with it, you are going to get more of it.

 

She couldn't say anything before because #RespectAllCultures and all that.

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Ticked@TinselTown

Since when was 50 considered 'young'?

 

As stated before, when you put up with it for years, you have tacitly agreed to accept the behavior.

 

However, allow me to point out that this octogenarian comes from a different culture and was raised in a different time.

 

It sounds to me like those complaining were after something else, like maybe a cut of this professor's income, because if he was able to donate over $11 million to the school to build buildings on campus, he was pulling down some serious loot.

 

Just sayin'...

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Coach

It's California, anything is possible there.

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Dean Adam Smithee

Since when was 50 considered 'young'?

 

As stated before, when you put up with it for years, you have tacitly agreed to accept the behavior.

 

However, allow me to point out that this octogenarian comes from a different culture and was raised in a different time.

 

It sounds to me like those complaining were after something else, like maybe a cut of this professor's income, because if he was able to donate over $11 million to the school to build buildings on campus, he was pulling down some serious loot.

 

Just sayin'...

 

I'm late '50s.

 

No, TODAY, I'm not going to pat any lab assistant on the ass. Go back 30 years, tho at the time I wouldn't have because I wasn't in position to. I probably WOULD have. ('70s? Patting on the ass = okay. Going a step beyond and "copping" a feel? Not okay.) In fact, such touchy-feely things were somewhat expected, lest you be considered a "cold fish". It was the mores of the '70s/'80s.

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Hieronymous

Since when was 50 considered 'young'?

 

As stated before, when you put up with it for years, you have tacitly agreed to accept the behavior.

 

However, allow me to point out that this octogenarian comes from a different culture and was raised in a different time.

 

It sounds to me like those complaining were after something else, like maybe a cut of this professor's income, because if he was able to donate over $11 million to the school to build buildings on campus, he was pulling down some serious loot.

 

Just sayin'...

Since I turned 50.

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grimreefer

Since I turned 50.

:thumbsup:

 

 

:D

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JerryL

I'm late '50s.

 

No, TODAY, I'm not going to pat any lab assistant on the ass. Go back 30 years, tho at the time I wouldn't have because I wasn't in position to. I probably WOULD have. ('70s? Patting on the ass = okay. Going a step beyond and "copping" a feel? Not okay.) In fact, such touchy-feely things were somewhat expected, lest you be considered a "cold fish". It was the mores of the '70s/'80s.

Sorry, but I am about the same age as you and patting on the ass was never OK. Was it done? Yes. Was it OK? No.

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