An insult to the concept of “training”

Via the The Chronicle of Higher Education — apparently every staff member at the University of Iowa, including faculty, will now learn how not to be a jerk. Great news! Obviously it’s only ignorance of social norms that would lead a professor to offer higher grades to his female students if they let him feel their breasts. It couldn’t possibly be the case that he knew it was wrong and did it anyway. What kind of appalling free-will hell of a universe would that be to live in?

That said, I’m not at all opposed to requiring people to spend a few minutes or an hour being told about university policies and punishments, even quizzed on such policies and punishments. Oooh, let me write the quiz!

The University of Iowa punishes professors who trade grades for sex, money, or any consideration whatsoever besides merit by

A. Suspending them.
B. Firing them, tenure or no tenure.
C. Depriving them of copying privileges.
D. Relegating them to offices where new carpet has been installed.
E. Setting a trap baited with jailbait and posting the resulting video on YouTube.

Two things are wrong with this “sexual harassment training,” though. First of all, I’ve been through similar things, and usually the questions are more like the following:

For a professor to trade grades for sex, money, or any consideration whatsoever besides merit is wrong because

A. The Berne convention of 1886 declared it illegal.
B. You could lose your job.
C. It might offend the student.
D. You did not state these considerations in your syllabus’s Course Requirements.
E. All of the above.

However, I haven’t seen their proposed test. I’m sure they haven’t written it yet. Perhaps it will be sensible, and perhaps I’m being unfair. But the second thing that’s wrong? Don’t call it “sexual harrassment training.” That dilutes the very idea of education. “Training,” especially at a university, should mean teaching someone to do something. Unless they’re offering a certificate in CYA, I don’t see what they’re teaching. Call it a “University Policy Review” or something.

Current mood: disgusted.

UPDATE 8/15: Others are also disgusted.

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