How did he persist?

I am just shocked at the stories emerging about David Yesner, the University of Alaska anthropologist. He is being sued for sexual harassment by 20 women, for events spread over 26 years.

The women allege that Yesner subjected them to years of sexual discrimination, harassment, abuse, exploitation and retaliation that was crippling to both their academic careers and their emotional well-being and that the university failed to comply with federal Title IX requirements in response to their numerous complaints.

They describe Yesner as someone who would deliberately stare at their breasts, make inappropriate sexual comments and advances and find ways to touch them without consent. He was known to keep an extensive pornography collection on his computer that was discovered by multiple women on different occasions during his time at UAA. He also kept photos he had taken of students participating in field digs, cropped to highlight body parts rather than archeological artifacts. One woman reported walking into his office to find him masturbating.

In one of the most serious claims against Yesner, a woman who spoke to Title IX investigators reported that Yesner sexually assaulted her in a public shower during a field project.

There’s something rotten at the University of Alaska. They’re suing Yesner, the whole dang university, and the regents of the university — they reported the problems many times, and the Title IX office dragged its heels, the chancellor did nothing and was in fact about to bestow emeritus status on Yesner. There seems to be a real problem among the faculty there.

Jane Doe I and Jane Doe II “constantly” reported Yesner’s behavior to professors and other faculty, according to the suit, but were met with excuses like “Oh, that’s just David being David.”

Jane Doe II was also told she “should cover up more” and that she should just “switch advisors” – a move that would have set her studies back by years since she was already writing her thesis under Yesner’s guidance.

The lawsuit alleges Yesner retaliated against Jane Doe I for rejecting his sexual advances by delaying grading her comprehensive exam, which prevented her from graduating. The task should have taken the professor five weeks at the most, according to the suit, but instead it took 2 1/2 years. She eventually withdrew from the university, but still must pay back student loans with interest.

“David being David.” Jesus. Try mentally reviewing your colleagues and coworkers, and you probably know their personalities and quirks well enough that you can say that’s “[Name] being [Name]” about something — it’s about the emptiest thing you can say — but it can also numb you to what harm they’re doing. “Oh, that’s just Joe, he likes holding up liquor stores on the weekend. That’s Joe being Joe!” Usually, when we’re told about criminal behavior, we don’t excuse it by dismissing at just a feature of their nature.

Unless, it seems, it’s sexual harassment. Boys will be boys, you know; if we kicked out all the men who fondled young women and made lewd jokes about them and held up their progress in the system, why, we wouldn’t have a department any more. As one of Yesner’s accusers put it, though:

“Because the university ignored a longstanding problem, my dream of becoming a professional archaeologist came to an end. All of the hard work I put into my chosen path leading up to graduate school was subverted by Yesner and UAA when I had to quit. Yesner made it clear to me I would never finish my degree. Every student should have the opportunity to work hard and succeed, not work hard and have their professional confidence debased. Every student should be able to trust the institution they attend.”

Exactly right. When Yesner started his petty tyranny over two decades ago, he should have been fired then. I understand precisely the pressures universities face, where dismissing a faculty member means the administration is going to take years to replace them, and meanwhile, everyone else has to work harder to fill the gap because he was also teaching essential courses and doing the administrative work, but the procedures should have been initiated long ago, not the year he is retiring. Sure, if you kick out the harassers you’re going to weaken your department for a while, but what will thoroughly destroy your department and blight the careers of your students is if you keep him there.

Would anyone recommend to an enthusiastic student who wanted to study anthropology that UAA would be a good place to go? I wouldn’t. I’d steer them to just about any other university. Yesner may be gone, but the faculty who said, “Oh, that’s just David being David” is presumably still there. The chancellor still has his job. The Title IX office is still understaffed and not doing its job.

Whoa. I thought having a vagina & no Y chromosome defined a woman?

Although, if you think about it, having two characters already meant it wasn’t a binary, but that you had 4 possible states. It looks like there are other characters people were avoiding talking about, which means there are already a heck of a lot more possible states.

This is all about the complicated story of Caster Semenya, an Olympics-class track star who has XX chromosomes and female genitalia (I’m sorry, she’s been poked and invasively examined to a degree no person should be subjected to), which, according to all the TERFs who yell at me now and then, ought to be sufficient to define her as ALL-WOMAN, but a committee has determined that her testosterone levels are too high, and that she shouldn’t be allowed to compete with the “aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics”. So apparently the vagina/XX chromosome requirement is insufficient, and you also have to have lower testosterone levels than a certain amount?

The physiology of top athletes is already weird and abnormal, or they wouldn’t be top athletes. There are subtle differences in proportions in some cases, and blood cell and bone density may be greater, and don’t get me started on the freakish psychology of people who spend long years in intense physical training. Maybe we should also insist that no one can compete in women’s events with a hematocrit above 40, or set an upper limit on the proportion of fast twitch muscle fibers they can have. Uh-oh…body fat. Women on average have more body fat than men. If they train so hard that they get lean, maybe they should be declared non-women. But it’s the nature of athletics to have to exercise hard. A conundrum!

The good news for us men is that all the policing of the boundaries of acceptable human morphology and biochemistry seems to be executed on women, not us. No one seems to be looking at athletes and suggesting that maybe that much muscle mass means you aren’t human anymore, and you should go home — that it would be unfair for you to compete with normal human beings, to preserve the integrity of the athletics of Homo sapiens. It isn’t a Harrison Bergeron situation if only women get handicapped.

It’s almost as human sexual properties are multifactorial and on a continuum. But that can’t be, right?

CORRECTION: Semenya is 46 XY DSD.

I still don’t know which bathroom she’s supposed to use.

Still not a fan of debate

But this discussion between Roxane Gay and Christina Hoff Sommers is half-entertaining. Sommers is stuttering and stammering and throwing around her usual garbage — there is no pay gap, #metoo has gone too far, constant exaggeration of “hysteria” on college campuses — and Gay is calm and strong and focused. It was worth it for her commentary alone, so the whole thing could have been half as long and ten times better by cutting out the jittery blonde hack.

I wonder where he got those of ideas of masculine entitlement?

Minnesota had its own local tragedy recently: a man walked up to a child at the Mall of America, and abruptly and intentionally threw them off a 3rd floor balcony. The child is currently in critical condition at a local hospital. Beyond the act itself, what’s horrifying is the attacker’s reason.

“He said he planned to kill an adult, because they usually stand near the balcony, but he chose the Victim instead,” the complaint said.

Aranda told investigators he had been going to the Bloomington mall for several years “and had made efforts to talk to women in the Mall, but had been rejected, and the rejection caused him to lash out and to be aggressive.”

He had been pestering women and been rejected, so he marched off and decided to murder a random innocent. He felt justified in killing someone because women spurned his creepy ass.

Now there’s a sense of entitlement. I am a man, therefore women owe me sex. If they don’t give it me, I can vent my frustration by murdering people. If I am caught, I can give that as my explanation and expect officials to sympathize.

The Society for American Archaeology acts immediately to create a safe space for the good ol’ boys!

Speaking of the privileged professoriate, here’s another example, David Yesner, an archaeologist at the University of Alaska.

Yesner has been accused by nine women of sexual misconduct that spanned decades during his time at UAA. The accusations include keeping pornography on his work computer and assaulting a woman during a research outing. According to KTVA, which obtained a report of an investigation into Yesner’s actions that UAA had commissioned, the women’s accounts were credible.

On Monday (April 8), UAA prohibited Yesner from entering the campus and attending any school events. “If you see him or become aware of his presence in any such location please inform the . . . person in charge of that location and contact the UAA Police Department at xxx-xxx-xxxx or other law enforcement personnel without delay,” the school alerted students in an email, according to KTVA.

Whoa, he’s been banned from campus and you’re supposed to report him to the police if you spot him? Sounds serious. So why is he hanging around the Society for American Archaeology meetings this week? A journalist, Michael Balter, who was supposed to speak on a panel on #metoo in archaeology, saw him, reported him to the conference leadership, and confronted him.

So it was with shock that Balter heard of Yesner showing up at the SAA conference this week. Balter took to Twitter yesterday morning to alert conference goers and track Yesner’s movements throughout the building. Within a few hours, he encountered Yesner himself and told him to leave. Balter says he immediately informed SAA’s communication officer, Amy Rutledge, of what transpired and repeatedly called and emailed her afterward to follow up and see if SAA would boot Yesner from the meeting.

But it was Balter who got kicked out.

Yes, you read that right. Balter was evicted from the meeting and missed his panel. Yesner is still prowling about the conference. Several of the victims of his harassment are presenting at the meeting, and @SAAorg is busily tweeting about how “SAA has been in the forefront in creating an anti-harrassment policy that is designed to make the meeting a safe space for all attendees, which includes SAA staff”. They acted swiftly, don’t you know, to take action against the wrong person.

I mean, really, when his own university does this

The University of Alaska Anchorage police department sent an email to students, faculty and staff Monday evening alerting them that David Yesner had been banned from “participation, affiliation or association of any kind with the University of Alaska,” including public and private events. He is also banned and trespassed from all property owned, controlled or used by UA, including the Anchorage campus.

“If you see him or become aware of his presence in any such location please inform the UA person in charge of that location and contact the UAA Police Department at xxx-xxx-xxxx or other law enforcement personnel without delay,” the email said.

…why is the national organization failing to recognize a serious problem?

This also looks familiar.

During that period of time, UAA [University of Alaska at Anchorage] received 86 Title IX reports. Not a single report resulted in disciplinary action.

The usual predictable BS about women in science

Katie Bouman was one of the primary team leaders on the project to image a black hole. She’s gotten a flurry of media attention lately, which she always seems to handle with grace and takes care to acknowledge all of her teammates, but you can imagine what’s going on in the cesspools of the internet, Twitter and Reddit and the chans. A woman is being respected for her contributions to science? We can’t have that. So the trolls went hunting for a different member of the team, one with a penis, so they could declare that he did all the work, and she stole all the credit.

Except they picked the wrong guy, one who wasn’t full of sexist BS and who understood the roles of the various people involved in the project. Actually, one could argue that it would be hard to find a productive, functional member of a scientific team who wouldn’t appreciate the cooperative work required. But they picked Andrew Chael.

You know, the trolls (and you can find a few in that thread) are not astrophysicists with solid knowledge of the inner workings of the project. Their only qualification is that they’re contemptible assholes who are irate that their stereotypes don’t hold up to the evidence.

In case you were wondering why Quillette is a hacky web site

They ran an article titled Activists Must Stop Harassing Scientists. That made me wonder what they’re complaining about: animal rights activists setting fire to labs? Anti-vaxxers deluging immunologists with abusive emails? Republicans misrepresenting climatology and trying to shut down research?

Nope, none of the above. They are concerned that women complaining about sexual harassment are driving “good” men out of scientific fields. Their evidence: two anecdotal complaints. The first is from an anonymous Australian astrophysicist who left his native country for a position in China, because of the “political climate in Australian universities”.

It’s very hard to find a tenured job in astronomy if you don’t belong to a protected group (alas, I am a white hetero Christian male, bad luck!) and/or you don’t do enough visible activism (or at least enough virtue signaling) for a number of green-left issues. In China, it’s highly likely that Chinese astronomers are subject to the same political interference from the Communist Party, but at least a foreigner like me is left alone, and I can do astronomy in peace, without wasting my time with diversity initiatives. And I see first hand that astronomy jobs are still given to the best candidates regardless of gender, ethnic origin, etc. Unlike my Australian boss, my current Chinese boss has never berated me for not being socialist enough.

Huh. Here’s a chart of the percentage of women in the International Astronomical Union, by country.

I don’t see evidence of discrimination against males, Christian, white, hetero or otherwise in Australia, or in China. Rather, there seems to be a strong bias against women. I wonder why that is?

If you care about the science or your specific field, abandoning diversity initiatives would seem to be likely to drive more good women out of the field than good men. If you actually cared about merit, I would think you’d want to work to make sure the best people had opportunities.

He also complained that he had to write a diversity statement. It is routine that researchers have to justify their contributions to university administrations — you have to write a summary of your research, your teaching, and committee work and outreach. This is utterly normal. As he describes it below, the diversity statement is simply more of the same.

There are many levels of discrimination. At one level, you have an increasing number of jobs, fellowships and grants officially reserved for women and “first nation” people. At another level, for jobs open to white males, there will be special clauses in the application to make sure the candidates are sufficiently woke. For example, you’re required to write a “diversity statement”—which is nothing more than a pledge of allegiance—to illustrate how you have shown “leadership” when it comes to diversity issues in your previous jobs, your teaching and your research (organizing workshops, writing reports, giving talks for women-only audiences, etc.)

It’s not a “pledge of allegiance” to state how you have addressed diversity concerns in your work. It is not oppressive to be asked how you’re trying to correct a bias in your field. But I guess some snowflakes are so outraged at having to write a paragraph about that that they’ll pack up, leave their homes, and move to a country where their native language isn’t routinely spoken, rather than face up to real problems in scientific recruitment.

Their second example of the oppressive nature of Leftist academics is…Alessandro Strumia. Strumia is the guy who gave a talk at CERN in which he invented his own citation metric which conveniently “proved” that women were less productive in physics than men, and also even more conveniently “proved” that a woman who got a job that he applied for was inferior to Alessandro Strumia, as if the job application process could be fairly reduced to performance on a single metric. His arguments were all refuted by the physics community, exposing what a shallow, bigoted thinker he is. All you need to know is that Strumia blamed “cultural marxism” for sexist discrimination, and claimed that differences in physics ability were forged by “human biology practiced as in the plains of Africa thousands of years ago” (his grasp of English grammar is rivaled only by his understanding of biology).

(You can see all of his slides online. They do him no favors.)

Quillette predictably claims that he is the victim of…wait for it…a witch-hunt, a word that automatically throws a red flag on the play. But then, being published in Quillette is itself a big red flag.