Here’s another instance of University Pecksniffs going way too far, as reported by ABC 2 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The skinny: a University of Tennessee (UT) student took a geology test from instructor Bill Deane, and one of the questions (known in our trade as a “gift question”) was to name the lab instructor. As you can see from the question below, it says “If you don’t remember make something good up.”
A student named Keaton Wahlbon didn’t remember, so he made up a name: Sarah Jackson. That’s pretty generic, right?
Big mistake. Wahlbon not only got a zero on the quiz, but was reporteed to UT for sexual harassment. As ABC 2 reports:
As it turns out, [Sarah Jackson] is also the name of a lingerie model, a porn star, and plenty of other people from all walks of life.
Instructor Deane gave Wahlbon a zero grade for the answer and called it inappropriate. Whalbon emailed the instructor claiming his innocence and stating it was just a coincidence. Wahlbon received an email back back from the instructor, saying he had no way to determine Wahlbon’s intent and could only consider the result. In an email response shared with FOX Nashville from Wahbon, the instructor says, “The result is that you gave the name of Sarah Jackson, who is a lingerie and nude model. That result meets the Title IX definition of sexual harassment. The grade of zero stands and will not be changed.”
The rest of the report:
Wahlbon emailed FOX 17 Nashville, saying it’s not so much about the grade, but about his integrity that has been “degraded.” Wahlbon says “It’s not that it’s going to affect my grade it’s just the principle of the whole thing. I shouldn’t get a 0 for a coincidence like that. I even googled “Sarah Jackson” and nothing like that came up besides the thumbnail pics of a model. All the other results were artists, music, and bios of people named Sarah Jackson. My professor sent me an email defending her when I asked him about it. It’s really not so much about my grade, but they degrated (sic) my integrity as a person automatically assuming ‘the worst’ from me.”
FOX 17 spoke with UT’s Director of Media Karen Simpson, who issued the following statement on the incident: “The university is aware of the issue. Our Office of Equity and Diversity is looking into the matter as they are required to consider all complaints brought to them by a member of our campus community.”
Simpson says a report was made to the Office of Equity and Diversity by the geology department which deals with Title IX issues. The school is conducting a fact-finding investigation and has yet to speak with Wahlbon. Simpson says Wahlbon has not reached out to the office and it could be next week before all the facts can be considered and the issue resolved since students are on fall break.
The station adds that UT will look at Wahlbon’s record to see if there’s any indication he knew anything about pornstars or the like, but even if he did—and even if he knew that “Sarah Jackson” was a pornstar—is that sexual harassment? Who is being harassed?
Title IX, which was a good measure enacted to ensure equity in funding for men and women students, especially in sports, has now been coopted into a Big Brotherish form of policing that can be used, as it was here, to terrorize a student and, in fact, penalize him academically.
My last question is this: How did Professor Deane know that “Sarah Jackson” was a pornstar? I’ve never heard of her; have any readers?