More of ancient philosophy dudebro Colin McGinn’s emails have emerged as his harassment victim brings suit against him. The former student’s responses are consistent: he makes advances, she says no.
On May 18, he textedI feel like kissing you.She responded, “You can’t do that.”
But at the same time, you can tell she’s conflicted: this guy is part of her pathway to a career in philosophy, and she can’t afford to just tell him to fuck off. So she gets more and more email like this one:
Need to avoid the scenario I sketched: you meet someone else, I broken hearted, our relationship over (except formally). This follows pretty obviously from current policy. To avoid my heart break I need to prepare myself mentally, which means withdrawing from you emotionally–not good for either of us. Also no good to just have full-blown relationship–too risky and difficult in the circumstances. So need compromise. Many are possible. Here’s one (I’m not necessarily advocating it): we have sex 3 times over the summer when no one is around, but stop before next semester begins. This has many advantages, which I won’t spell out, but also disadvantages, ditto. I am NOT asking you to do this–it is merely one possible compromise solution to a difficult problem, which might suggest others. It has the FORM of a possible solution. Try to take this in the spirit in which it is intended. yours, Colin
Jebus. She finally had enough, and resigned. And then, finally, the university administration leapt into action…and did their very best to keep everything on the down low. Of course.
She resigned her position as his research assistant on Sept. 11, 2012. Two days later, McGinn emailed her, stating “you are much better off with my support than without it. So please think carefully about your actions.” On Sept. 14, Morrison made what she believed to be a formal sexual harassment complaint and provided some of McGinn’s messages to university administrators, hoping to be protected from retaliation. However, UM routed her complaint through an “informal process” pressing the professor to resign, according to reports, because it was quicker. (McGinn denies on his blog that he was forced out.)
UM lawyers have said they chose to pursue this informal route to achieve an immediate resolution. Isicoff echoed the comments in conversations with HuffPost. Morrison said she had a right to choose between a formal or informal complaint process.
Keeping it informal, quiet, and private allows the university to hush up the misbehavior, but notice — it does not provide the victim the support and protection she needed and wanted.
Just once in my lifetime I’d like to see university bureaucrats come down on harassers like a swarm of vengeful angels in nice conservative suits and dresses. I know, it’s strange to see a call for more wrath on university professors from a university professor, but these people are not my kind. They are exploiters who damage the reputation of my profession, and if only these administrators would see it, the reputation of the universities they nest in.