ERIN BENNETT, LEFT, KATHLEEN GUTIERREZ, CENTER.
Three women losers who are so dainty and delicate that a male flirting with them caused them to break down and lose their ability to function in school won a big victory when Professor Blake Wentworth was fired.
His flirtatious interest in three mildly attractive students who appear to be in their mid-20s has made international news for the last two years.
First the story, then some commentary.
The University of California has fired a professor who was accused of sexually harassing multiple students, nearly two years after campus investigators first concluded he had made unwanted advances and violated school policies.
The dismissal of assistant professor Blake Wentworth – who sued the women who filed harassment complaints against him – marks a rare instance of termination of a faculty member accused of sexual misconduct at the prestigious public university.
The allegations that the professor of south and south-east Asian studies at UC Berkeley sexually harassed and inappropriately touched female students he was overseeing contributed to a major scandal, sparking an international debate about sexism and discrimination in academia.
Two graduate students and one undergraduate shared their accounts with the Guardian last year, arguing that Wentworth’s mistreatment of them had derailed their studies and careers and that the university had repeatedly failed to support them and hold the faculty member accountable.
Attorneys for Wentworth – who filed a defamation suit against the three women in September and has sued the university – said in a statement on Wednesday that the university was trying to distract from an ongoing financial scandal and that he continues to deny the “false assertions, which are a pretext to discriminate and retaliate against him”.
Evidence in his pending lawsuit will show that UC embarked on a “campaign to ruin his career”, the lawyers added.
It’s unclear why the decision to terminate the professor took so long. The university substantiated the first claim of harassment against one of the graduate students in October 2015, and the three women filed formal complaints with state investigators more than a year ago.
The university concluded that Wentworth made unwelcome sexual advances against grad student Kathleen Gutierrez, who accused Wentworth of grabbing her hand and saying, “I could lose my job over this … but I’m just so attracted to you.” He also allegedly came up behind her and wrapped his hands around her head and made offensive comments about a strip club.
BENNETT AND GUTIERREZ.
Erin Bennett, the other grad student, accused Wentworth of inappropriately touching her and making comments about sex during their one-on-one independent study in her first semester at the school. The process of reporting the harassment took a toll on her mental health and led her to take a leave of absence, she said.
Wentworth, a tenure-track professor, allegedly told undergraduate student Nicole Hemenway that she was a “gorgeous young woman”, calling her “honey bear” and saying that others in the department were “jealous that such beautiful young women are always coming and going from my office”.
NICOLE HEMENWAY, UNDERGRAD, AGE 24.
More details on Mestizo Hemenway’s story reveal that Hemenway considers Wentworth to be middle-aged and that his attention to her made her skin crawl.
Victim mentality? Much!
The story also reveals that the professor’s “inappropriate touching” involved putting his hands on hers.
On Wednesday, Hemenway said that the dismissal would not have happened if the students hadn’t devoted significant resources to fighting the case.
“This firing was our doing. The university gets to put their name on the decision, but they were perfectly happy not doing anything,” she said by phone. “This was because of student organizing efforts.”
You won’t want to watch much of this boring video, but it does give you a good look at Blake Wentworth and his manner of communicating.
So what is going on here?
First, I can assure you that there is a huge amount of sexual activity taking place between professors and students at all universities. It’s virtually always consensual. It’s often student initiated. And a disproportionate amount of it involves feminist lesbian women professors seducing young coeds confused about their gender identity.
Secondly, no university that I am aware of has specific instructions regarding what is considered sexual harassment and what is OK. The general rule is that “romantic relationships” between a professor and his or her own students is forbidden. Once the teacher-student relationship is over, the parties are free to do as they wish.
Third, at my former university, the policy was always to side with the female when a complaint was lodged against a male professor. The idea of challenging some of the nut job feminist students who populate universities was off the table. I never heard of any female professor facing any consequences for her sexual indiscretions.
Now, coming to the specifics of the Blake Wentworth case, the following thoughts occur to me.
1. Two of the ladies are nonwhite and the third one has that short, feminist haircut and mode of dress that sets off alarms in my mind. Wentworth ought to have avoided all three. The two Latinas come across as having a grudge against whites. What’s interesting though is that THEY PICKED HIM TO WORK WITH. They could have picked anyone. Students have to seek out a professor to work with when doing one on one work.
2. Wentworth sexually assaulted no one. It’s ridiculous to call putting hands on hands “inappropriate touching.” This is not Victorian England. I guarantee you that all of these women are highly sexually experienced, with lewd sexual appetites. I only met a few “innocent” coeds during my time at the university and they were 18 year old freshmen.
3. I strongly suspect that these women were flirtatious with the professor. I cannot speculate what turned their willingness to play the mating game into a vendetta.
4. As I read the story, none of them explicitly told Wentworth that his flirtations were unwanted. This is another example of where women expect a man to read her mind.
5. Wentworth is stupid, but probably not evil. In a reasonable workplace setting a boss might have called him in and warned him to cool it.
6. I reiterate my general principle that every male has the right to woo any female of his choice, while she has the right to reject him. And believe me, these girls know how to reject guys in bars. Watching guys get shot down in Texas bars used to be one of my hobbies decades ago when I briefly explored the singles bar scene.
Am I wrong? Does Wentworth deserve to be fired? To have zero future job prospects? To be a target of hate from social justice warriors?