Education

"Their Kinky College Romance Ended Badly. So Did the School's Sexual-Assault Investigation."

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Via the Twitter feed of the Washington Examiner's Ashe Schow comes a truly strange tale of college sexual harassment. As is often the case in these things, exactly who is being harassed or railroaded isn't immediately clear.

The article appears in Westword, the Colorado alt-weekly, and is titled, "Their Kinky College Romance Ended Badly. So Did the School's Sexual-Assault Investigation." It involves a student named Keifer Johnson who was charged with various infractions of Western State University's student policies after what he says was a consensual relationship with a student named Emily went bad. The two had started up during finals week and then over the summer, Emily entered a rehab center, had an abortion, and dropped out of school. When Johnson showed up at college in the fall, he was in all sorts of problems.

There's an obviously lurid dimension to this—Johnson and Emily involved some 50 Shades of Gray lingo in their letters to each other—and a less-obviously lurid dimension. After Emily contacted a member of the psychology department about her abortion, this faculty member replied:

[Psychology Professor Susan] Coykendall wrote back a few days later, offering sympathy and encouragement: "The guy that got you preggers sounds like a douchebag…If you want me to bring a complaint on your behalf (even anonymously) to student affairs, I am more than willing to do so. I am not real comfortable with a TA who works with first year students acting so inappropriately, but I also will respect your choice to handle it how you want."

Emily wasn't sure how she wanted to proceed. "If I did disclose the information to you about the guy who got me pregnant, what would the consequences be?" she asked. "And, would I have to be part of it (would I have to talk about it, or say something)?"
Coykendall outlined several options. She could file a report with student affairs without disclosing Emily's identity. She could also "let the English faculty know on the down low that one of their TAs is an asshole and to watch him." If Emily wanted him to lose his job, an anonymous complaint probably wasn't sufficient. "But if you want me to sort of make his life suck without him knowing why, I can probably get that accomplished!"

Elsewhere in the story, as an aside, the writer Alan Prendergast mentions the difficult position universities are in:

Schools that fail to properly investigate misconduct complaints risk a possible federal investigation and sanctions—not to mention lawsuits from aggrieved parties. The University of Colorado at Boulder is currently being probed for possible Title IX violations in the wake of a sexual-harassment debacle that's ravaged the school's philosophy department. In addition to accusations of bullying and gender discrimination in the department, one graduate student recently received an $825,000 settlement from the university over alleged retaliation by a professor. The professor—who reportedly launched his own investigation of the woman's claims of being sexually assaulted by another student at an off-campus party and sought to repudiate them, labeling her as "sexually promiscuous"—is now facing possible dismissal.

Can you imagine what kind of nutjob professor would take it upon himself to play Veronica Mars when it comes to the sex life of his students? Not a healthy fellow, I'm guessing. And Prof. Coykendall's assistance to Emily comes off as truly messed up, too.

Read the whole thing. And start looking at online education.

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  1. Psychology Professor…wrote back a few days later…”The guy that got you preggers sounds like a douchebag…”

    Very eloquent, professor.

  2. I thought douchbag was the most desirable trait for hook ups?

    1. That’s what our PUA friends seem to think.

  3. Does it outline, somewhere, why the guy was an asshole and or douchebag? Or, being the guy, is he automatically the villain?

    Could be he did some shady stuff- and abusing his position of authority as a TA…

    But that’s a broad conclusion to jump to.

    1. While the TA may or may not have acted inappropriately, there is no question that the professor was ready and willing to abuse her authority. What are the chances she was actually striking back at some person from her own past?

      1. Yes. he was guilty in her mind before any evidence was gathered- without a doubt.

    2. a broad conclusion

      I see what you did there.

    3. Why do we know Keifer’s real name, but not “Emily”‘s?

      1. Because she is obviously the victim of a crime… right?

  4. I’m a normally sanguine individual but this psychology professor needs a rubber mallet upside the brain cage. Might shake some of her doofus loose without making her more mentally-disturbed than she already is.

  5. Let me be your middle-aged white knight against that guy you so enjoyed fucking for a semester.

    1. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    2. That’s just insane. I can’t see why the school should be involved at all.

    3. But remember, Catholic Church officials are bad people when they *don’t* go to the police (something the victims and their parents apparently didn’t think to do either).

  6. “But if you want me to sort of make his life suck without him knowing why, I can probably get that accomplished!”

    And there it is. Jesus tap-dancing motherfuck, I am so glad I went to college in the 80’s, when campuses were jus STARTING to get totally fucked up. At least there was no AIDS (for awhile), so Sport Fucking was still an option.

    Not so much today…

    1. “People shouldn’t carry gunz cause they’ll like act like, you know, vigilantes.”

  7. Take a moment to appreciate how fucked up this world is. In a sane world that psychology prof would be out on her ass for threatening to take matters into her own hands. Think about how ridiculously quickly you would be canned for trying that shit in the real world.

  8. But, remember kids, the folks you really, really need to be afraid about interfering with your sex life are those nasty old religious conservatives.

  9. Can you imagine what kind of nutjob professor would take it upon himself to play Veronica Mars when it comes to the sex life of his students? Not a healthy fellow, I’m guessing.

    What if he was convinced one of his students was being falsely accused, Nick? That, at least, sounds like what may have happened in that case. If so, are we to take it that you think it is wrong to try to exonerate the innocent if it runs afoul political correctness?

    1. There’s a difference between speaking out to say that a student is being railroaded and a better investigation needs to be done (preferably by law enforcement) and “launching his own investigation.”

  10. wake of a sexual-harassment debacle that’s ravaged the school’s philosophy department

    There’s something funny in this sentence, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

    1. Well, there’s a bit if a chuckle in the use of “ravaged” in that sentence. It seems to be pointing the wrong way.

  11. Can you imagine what kind of nutjob professor would take it upon himself to play Veronica Mars when it comes to the sex life of his students?

    Didn’t uh, California just pass a law demanding just that?

  12. As a friend said to me, this is a strange women’s empowerment movement that treats women like children.

    1. Women are Mighty Girls who are the equal or superior to men in all things except when they are delicate helpless flowers who must be protected from men and given special privileges.

    2. Is that really so strange? These people have a lot of overlap with the affirmative action supporters.

    3. As a friend said to me, this is a strange women’s empowerment movement that treats women like children.

      I don’t know that treating someone who does something they regret and blames it on someone else as an adult makes sense either.

    4. *RETARDED* children!

  13. I’m glad I don’t have any children. I’m sure I would be labeled a monster for absolutely refusing to send them to college.

  14. Calling him a TA is unnecessarily inflammatory. If you read the linked story, he was a sophomore, she a freshman, and he was a peer tutor in basic composition. Thinking of him a predatory graduate student is the wrong takeaway.

    1. Yeah, a bit misleading.

      I had some students older than I was in a couple of classes I TA’d for as an undergrad.

      1. But you were totally in a position of authority over them, and would have been abusing that authority if you so much as flirted with them.

  15. “But if you want me to sort of make his life suck without him knowing why, I can probably get that accomplished!”

    These people are evil, mendacious pricks.

    1. [Don Corleone gives two thumbs up.]

  16. “Kinky college romance”? Pix, plz.

  17. Perhaps society should require men and women enter into some kind of formal covenant before engaging in coitus.

    Nah, what am I thinking…

    1. Well, if you don’t consider “sharing enough alcohol to appear attractive to one another” a ‘covenant’, well then maybe you believe in a different God than I do.

  18. “[Psychology Professor Susan] Coykendall wrote back a few days later, offering sympathy and encouragement: “The guy that got you preggers sounds like a douchebag…”

    Please tell me that writer has a very good sense of humor, and that description of “sympathy and encouragement” was a joke.

    Also =

    “Via the Twitter feed of the Washington Examiner’s Ashe Schow comes a truly strange tale of college sexual harassment.”

    A quick look at the actual story shows it to be written by Alan Predergast?

    why should i give a shit whose ‘twitter’ anyone found the story on? I confess, i don’t know how that thing works, so forgives if ‘Ache Schow*’ person is more instrumental than they appear.

    *speaking of which: an “ash scow” is a type of boat.

  19. “Can you imagine what kind of nutjob professor would take it upon himself to play Veronica Mars when it comes to the sex life of his students? “

    The ‘strongly incentivised by the administration and the Federal Government’ kind?

  20. I wonder if this professor is going to be disciplined, if not removed, for using clearly inappropriate terms like douche bag and asshole in a work ? related communication. That would certainly be the case in virtually every other workplace I can think of

  21. A very long time ago, when the Professor in this story was young and living in Tucson, my sister made a prank phone call to her house. When Susan’s mother answered the phone, my sister–in a sexy voice–asked if the husband was home. Susan’s mother was terribly upset, her screaming trailing off as we hung up the phone, laughing at our brilliance. A few months later I heard that Susan’s parents were getting divorced, and I wondered if our prank had anything to do with it. I always wondered. Flash forward 35 years later, I get the idea to see how her life went after childhood, and here she is. Now I wonder if she hates men and became a psychologist because of her parent’s divorce. Only someone who has felt helpless and out of control in their own lives chooses psychology, as it offers an easy way to exert control over others and feel powerful.
    The lesson here is that every thing you do, from an intentional harm to a seemingly harmless prank, sets off events that come into play many decades later, and affect people that you’ll never know. This young man’s life may be ruined because 35 years ago, my sister made a prank call.

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