Defensive training dept.: University of Iowa and Arthur H. Miller

by Ted Frank on August 14, 2008

University of Iowa professor Arthur H. Miller (who is not the NYU Law professor Arthur Miller) allegedly traded grades and offered to trade grades for second-base action with female students, appropriately resulting in criminal charges and being placed on leave by the university.  Paul Caron points us to this Chronicle of Higher Education blog post that says Iowa has ordered all of its professors to undergo sensitivity training to avoid sexual harassment.  Because obviously a professor who would demand students let him fondle their breasts for a grade would never have engaged in such a behavior if only he had an additional hour of sensitivity training.

What this is really about is lawsuit prevention.  Just as a doctor fearful of being sued will order an inefficient, wasteful, and possibly counterproductive medical test, an employer fearful of being sued will insist upon inefficient, wasteful, and possibly counterproductive sensitivity training.

{ 1 trackback }

Quote of the Day « Let’s Try This Once More
08.14.08 at 11:52 pm

{ 10 comments }

1 JTT 08.15.08 at 5:44 am

“appropriately resulting in criminal charges”

I don’t think criminal charges are appropriate in this case. Presumably the girls were over the age of consent.

2 William Nuesslein 08.15.08 at 9:21 am

What was the uptake rate for the offer?

3 Deoxy 08.15.08 at 10:37 am

Yeah, I’m not sure criminal charges are correct, either. Surely what he did was aweful, and I am open to the possibility of some kind of extortion charge, perhaps (it’s conceivable, anyway), but a criminal bribery charge? There are lots of things private citizens do with other private citizens that could be considered a “bribe”, but that’s not the term or charges we generally apply, right?

4 Insomniac 08.15.08 at 11:08 am

“appropriately resulting in criminal charges”

I don’t think criminal charges are appropriate in this case. Presumably the girls were over the age of consent.

JTT on August 15th, 2008

The charges were for accepting bribes, not sexual assault.

5 Insomniac 08.15.08 at 11:14 am

Sorry, hit “return” prematurely. I would think soliciting bribes would be a more appropriate charge(unless there’s no criminal classification for that in Iowa).

6 Heather 08.15.08 at 12:34 pm

If he’d asked for money instead of a little action, would y’all still insist there was nothing wrong here? Misogynists.

7 The Curmudgeonly Ex-Clerk 08.15.08 at 1:01 pm

Regarding the appropriateness of criminal charges, depending on how broadly a given jurisdiction’s law is written, this sort of conduct could result in prostitution-related charges as well (i.e., against the professor for seeking sex in exchange for something of value). Were I a DA in Texas, for example, I’d feel comfortable prosecuting such a case under Tex. Penal Code 43.02. I’m not positive it would stick; but, unless there’s some contrary case law, such a charge seems far from frivolous. Iowa’s Criminal Code provision (725.1) seems similarly broad.

8 Paul 08.15.08 at 2:09 pm

If he’s an agent of a public institution, why wouldn’t bribery be appropriate? He’s no longer just a private citizen. After all, all the lawsuits about what is and is not Constitutionally protected speech on campus and in the classroom, etc. are necessarily predicated on the idea that the schools are government institutions.

9 Deoxy 08.18.08 at 12:23 pm

If he’d asked for money instead of a little action, would y’all still insist there was nothing wrong here? Misogynists.

So, we don’t see things your way, therefore we are sexist? Nice argument.

Actually, if you’ll read what people are saying, I don’t think anyone has said that there was “nothing wrong here”, only that the charges being levelled against him seem wrong for what he did.

If a female professor did something like this to male students and was charged similarly, my reaction would still be the same. By definition then, this is not misogyny.

I would think soliciting bribes would be a more appropriate charge

and

this sort of conduct could result in prostitution-related charges

and

If he’s an agent of a public institution, why wouldn’t bribery be appropriate? He’s no longer just a private citizen.

are all good examples of an argument that does not amount to simple name-calling. As it happens, I think they all make some sense. Funny how that works. :-/

10 IA Hawk 08.22.08 at 10:07 am

It doesn’t matter whether the girls were “of age” or “consentual” – the major problem here is the fact that he is a professor: he is in a respected position of authority and is using that authority to receive sexual favors. Teachers at any level are expected to conduct themselves in such a way that upholds moral and ethical values. He conducted himself in the complete opposite manner by not only abusing his students but abusing his position and disgracing and embarassing the U of I.

Comments on this entry are closed.