Sexual abuse on campus ignored again

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The Sandusky Affair, as it is called nowadays, is, I hope, as sordid as it gets in our hallowed halls of higher education. Regrettably, it’s not the only serious sexual misbehavior on campus. It’s just so bad that others are overlooked. I want to highlight another “affair”, to reinforce, yet again, how corrupted higher education has become today, primarily due to the new caste of administrative titans controlling the system. Consider a story from February of this year:

“…the University of Connecticut placed the music professor Robert Miller on leave and barred him from campus, amid allegations that he had committed sex crimes with minors while working at a camp, and had had inappropriate interactions with UConn students.”

So, the story starts out as “just another pedophile sex scandal,” one that might have happened anywhere else. The next line in the article clarifies that higher education’s current status has much to do with the horrors here, since outside of academia (and, I concede, churches), public accusations of horrible crimes get investigated in a timely manner:

“The allegations concerned conduct that had apparently gone on for years, …”

Sigh. It had gone on for years.

Further in, the article states the rumors and allegations started “by 2003.” Over a decade of this sort of activity, and only now, in 2014, does admin think maybe something should be done about a predator on campus (keep in mind, most campuses have high school students on them, so this sort of allegation requires a response, at least by people that don’t advocate taking advantage of the young). Recall in my essays on administrative corruption that only the most egregious acts are ever revealed, and then only after many years. The article from Insider Higher Ed continues:

“…prompting the university to commission an outside law firm to determine whether the university had failed in its responsibilities.”

What does administration do first when there’s a predator on campus? Well, hire an outside law firm to make sure “the university” wouldn’t be in any legal trouble.

Yeah, “the university” might be in trouble. That’s what administration is afraid of, so they’re protecting “the university.”

It’s not the university that’s being protected here, it’s the administrators, since “the university” has no chance of going to jail over this. It’s so funny be told, year after year, that’s there’s no money for faculty pay raises, no money for lightbulbs for the projectors, even, but if an administrator’s neck is on the block, then millions of dollars suddenly become available to hire an extra law firm (reading between the lines here: the university’s on-retainer legal counsel, probably the cheapest they could get, was good enough to protect the university, just not good enough to protect administrators).

Hmmm.

But enough about the administration’s sudden ability to find money when they need to protect themselves, let’s get back to how much of a threat this predator was

“Miller’s reputation was such that upperclassmen took to warning freshmen and sophomores about his “creepy” behavior.” –everyone on campus knew about this alleged human being. Understandable, after a decade of complaints in various forms (including formal). This is important to understand: administration cares nothing for the students on campus, so warnings about a dangerous predator must come from the students, not from the insanely overpaid administration.

In my blogs I often give, or pass on, eyewitness testimony from myself or colleagues, so I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my only direct observation of something similar. On one campus, there was one teacher notorious for hitting on basically every female student there. At the risk of dating when this was, the lecherous faculty’s MySpace page was the internet equivalent of a cringe-worthy “love trap,” and students regularly complained about him. My advice on the matter was asked, and actually heeded (this was before the school became accredited, after which faculty were considered no more than wastes of institutional resources).

I said we really shouldn’t keep the guy, but I didn’t see any other cause for action. Yes, he called students and said “I love you” to them (a student played such a message for me)…but the legally adult students kept giving him their phone numbers, and there was never even an accusation of anything illegal. His targets were all of legal age, and while he propositioned many, there was never any claim of follow through. At the time, we didn’t have any underage people on campus, but there was no evidence or indication that he didn’t have that modicum of discretion.

He was just creepy.

We used him as an adjunct until we could finally fill the permanent position (but by that time faculty no longer had influence, and it was filled by an educationist instead of someone knowledgeable in the field).

Much like with Miller, the whole campus knew about this guy, and students with sense avoided him. I guess a case could be made the students that DID associate with the campus creep had it coming, but shouldn’t admin do what they can to protect minors, and even barely high school graduates, from this sort of thing?

Back to the story:

“The report found “numerous instances” of violations of university rules and policies…in which Miller provided alcohol to underage students, took students to his vacation home after being warned by his dean not to do so, showered with students at his health club, and went into a hot tub naked with students.”

Yikes.

Now, I grant that students might get together and complain about a faculty member (especially one boneheaded enough to actually check for cheating, since that can easily catch half a class), so it’s possible admin investigated (stop laughing!) and just never found any real evidence. I’d totally respect that. Alas, it wasn’t just students reporting this guy, and administrators received official documentation:

“Robert F. Miller is the same one who taught at Whittier Junior High in the late 60’s in Fairfax county, he is a pedophile. He is responsible for molesting several 7th and 8th grade students…”

Admin allegedly investigated this, and still found nothing; another e-mail detailing what Miller was (allegedly) doing was also insufficient to set off any alarms by (effin’ clueless) administrators. If it flirts like a pedophile, acts like a pedophile, and copulates with children like a pedophile…only an administrator could not finish that thought.

Still, with so many accusations and documentations, it was clear to admin that they had a predator willing to prey on and exploit the underage for personal benefit. Since administration was satisfied that Miller fit this description, they had only one proper way to treat someone who would ruthlessly exploit the innocent:

They promoted him to administration.

I can’t make this stuff up, so I encourage the reader to consider this from the article:

“…appointed Professor Miller special associate to the dean for the 2011-12 academic year…The university confirmed, however, that Professor Miller’s salary for this period did, in fact, reflect that he received the full salary, including the supplement, associated with this position.”

I’d like a pay raise, too (in this case, a supplement of $10,000 a year), but I’m unwilling to engage in the run-of-the mill exploiting of children that is basic administration activity, much less the things Miller was (allegedly) engaged in.

Many of my colleagues have lost their positions for having standards and integrity, because administration doesn’t want that. I presume administration doesn’t want pedophiles on campus (hey, it’s possible), but it’s clear that given a faculty member devoted to education, or a faculty member devoted to seeking out minors to have sex with, administrators very much prefer the latter. I’ve shown before that tenure can be denied for faculty that have even minimal standards, whereas on the other hand even active pedophilia doesn’t preclude someone from administrative duties.

Alumnus: At my alma mater, a small, private college, there are 350 faculty members, 67% of whom are contingent labor and 4% of whom are tenured. There are 2200 students and–wait for it!–1300 administrative positions. What in the world can ever explain those numbers.

Many point to the bloated ranks of admin as a sign that something is very wrong in our institutions of learning. I tend to agree, but for now I’ll point to the literal promotion of pedophilia as the largest signal that there is something fundamentally wrong in higher education today. What larger signal could there be?

Think about it…and if you have an answer, let me know.

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