Another professor embarrasses the professoriate

A university professor filed suit against his institution because it chastised him for inappropriate sexual behavior. He wasn’t fired, they just tut-tutted, put a black mark on his record, and told him not to do that anymore. He sued anyway, for his ego.

During a class in 2013, a psychology professor at George Mason University named Todd Kashdan told students he had once performed oral sex at a party, an anecdote he later said was meant to make a point about exhibitionism, according to findings from an internal school investigation and a federal lawsuit the professor filed against the university.

In 2016, Kashdan told graduate students gathered in his hot tub about a sexual experience he had in Europe, and in 2018, he went with graduate students to a strip club where he received a lap dance, the internal investigation found. The professor’s lawsuit said these incidents were misconstrued.

How is bragging about performing oral sex, his sexual experiences, and getting a lap dance in front of his students “misconstrued”? I’m mystified. Just going with students to a strip club seems like it’s crossing a line, and with all the rest, it’s hard to imagine how it could be “misconstrued”.

On top of all that, two former students also filed complaints about him with the university. He is baffled.

The professor, according to the suit, “was surprised to learn that the same women who had given him unsolicited praise for his teaching and research, and sought him out for assistance with academics and their careers, now alleged that he had created a ‘hostile environment.’ ”

Wow. He doesn’t understand that he’s a gatekeeper, that he holds the keys to future advancement in his students’ careers, and is so oblivious to the social workings of human minds that he can’t comprehend that people whose future he controls might flatter him to his face while resenting him?

Psychopaths. Psychopaths everywhere.


  1. stwriley says

    And remember, this guy’s a psychology professor. The irony is strong with this one…

  2. hemidactylus says

    I’m wondering how I could make a point about inhibitionism. Blushing when asked a question by a student and hiding behind a desk? Telling students how I tried to get the nerve up to say hi to someone, but walking away instead and going home to binge on chocolate? Bragging about my prowess at computer solitaire?

    Isn’t GMU a stronghold for market fundies?

  3. specialffrog says

    Isn’t that the university where the Koch brothers have hiring and firing power?

  4. Aoife_b says

    Grad students.
    Hot tub.
    The things that prolly shouldn’t be in a sentence together.

  5. John Morales says

    Aoife, note that “prolly shouldn’t” equates to “maybe should”.

    (Is that really what you meant to express?)

  6. cvszasz says

    Isn’t GMU a stronghold for market fundies?

    As a person whose degree is from GMU (there was no particular reason that I sought out the school, I bounced around a fair bit and it just happened to be convenient for me where I was when I settled on something and decided to finish up), I can share my personal sense of the place, obviously based only on the departments and professors that I had significant contact with as an accounting major:

    The accounting and math staff were very matter-of-fact, neutral types; they were just there to teach factual information and I never got any particular sense of anyone’s political leanings
    The English professors that I knew were on the liberal side, up to occasional small pokes at some of the other types (no specific individuals or anything, just general wry commentary about, for example…)
    The economics department, which was loaded with Rand-worshipping supply-side loons; generally when I see the school pop up in the news, it’s something about this, like the Econ professor who said that maybe there was something to the idea of giving men government-mandated girlfriends, or the department giving all of their graduating students a copy of Atlas Shrugged

    Altogether, I imagine it’s not actually too different to the mix you’d find at a lot of places, just maybe somewhat exacerbated by the Koch influence and such.

  7. John Morales says

    chigau, ahem. From your own link: “Litotes is an understatement in which a positive statement is expressed by negating its opposite.”

  8. says

    @10 No.

    Has he done the standard “Well, I used to be a liberal, but they told me not to do something so now they’re the real fascists” round through the Alt-Right podcast circuit yet? I shouldn’t be surprised if he really was one of the “liberalism means no one can tell you no” types.

  9. Rob Grigjanis says

    Aoife_b @12: If there were enough hours in the day, John would nitpick everything.