Friday, August 7, 2015

Rosemary FROM Raleigh, Not IN, No, God, No. One Has Long Since Left Raleigh Behind. One Will Always Love It, But, Really, Raleigh, Well, Some Folks Just Won't Understand. Anyway, This is Rachel with an Orientation Update.

I had part one of my new faculty orientation today. (Oh, and one finally did obtain the correct faculty parking sticker...)

Anyway, I sat beside another new professor, much closer to the traditional age. (I perhaps am more "advanced" than most.) This fellow was a brute, not so much his build, but his whole manner, legs spread wide, lots of fidgeting. He coughed a lot, threw his elbows as he pulled from his diet Coke. One needed to rest on the far armrest to avoid his man-spreading exercises.

We didn't speak much, saying hello and exchanging names only, because there was a full set of speakers. The orientation was all right, and though one may not have needed some of the detail about how to spark discussion among first year students, one was made to feel most welcome. (One was reminded a bit too often, perhaps, of how terrific the university is. If one knows it is so, one need not proclaim it so loudly.)

When the inevitable sexual harrassment presentation began, my loutish seatmate gave a kind of scoffing grunt. Frat boy. I thought to myself. He was a frat boy, and always shall be.

On a list on the screen was a list of questionable and inappropriate behaviors for faculty. Now, this is mostly old hat for anyone who'd done the job, but most of my fellow attendees are in 1st or 2nd positions. It's standard, required by law, and done well and briefly.

On the list mentioned above, were these two inappropriate examples:
  • Going out drinking with students.
  • Touching students, even in a friendly way.
At this, my new friend put his diet Coke down, leaned uncomfortably close me, and said, "How can we touch them if we don't get them drunk first?"

One turned red, some embarrassment, but mostly just rage. After the break one took a new position in the auditorium for the remaining presentations.


  1. I'm liking Rosemary! This turd seatmate of yours is why we have sexual harassment orientation at all.

  2. And just to think, he's probably a coach or in the business or law school, and makes 5-10 times more than you ever will. And when Scott Walker becomes president, not necessarily by being elected, your program will be cut and his won't. Welcome, Rosemary!

  3. My first guess was engineer or economist, but I think Frod's scenarios are pretty plausible too. Plot twist: He turns out to be the new Title IX coordinator.

  4. Frod, the probable school is not relevant. I'm B-school and was as creeped out as anyone.

    1. Somehow, it is reassuring to see how modern college students aren't the only ones who can't laugh about anything. Of course this guy isn't a physics proffie, since they don't have the social skills even to do what he did. (When a discipline loses the ability to laugh at itself, as they did long ago in the humanities, something important has been lost.)

  5. LOL! Yay for Rosemary! I had to take an online version of harassment training recently--required of us every so often, etc. I thought "it's 2015, who needs to be told these things?" And then BAM, I met my new boss. Holy troglodyte, the guy can't stop being an inappropriate ass-hat. By December of his first year he had completely alienated every woman on campus and most of the men. Formal complaints were filed but he somehow weathered the storm, which has just made him worse. He's a white dude, former athlete and frat boy, but here's the thing: his field (when he taught) was English literature.

  6. Oh, joy, another creepy dude gets a job someone decent should kill him to have.

    Love your posts, Rosemary!

  7. What. A. Pig.

    You're far more reserved than I am, Rosemary. I would have shot back something along the lines of, "That's probably the only way you can get even close to them," or, "Gee, you're going to do really well here, aren't you?"

    And like you, Rosemary, I was more advanced in years than my cohort was when I was hired. Fortunately for me, there were no frat boys among those hired. That year, at least.