07 June 2009

Admit It, You've Never Heard of Any of These People, Either...

Poetry by living poets is not my thing. So, I've never heard of any of these folks (even the dude with the Nobel), but I recognize crap when I hear it and Ruth Padel is dropping a steaming heap when she feigned innocence (the Telegraph's take on the same story from two weeks ago) as to her role in undermining Walcott's appointment as Professor of Poetry at Oxford that she herself now holds after the conflagration she reignited razed Derek Walcott's opportunity.

Not that I condone Walcott's behavior, instructors should never prey on students they directly supervise. Not all students are wide eyed and in their late teens, early twenties. Especially at the graduate level you have plenty of grown-assed adults capable of taking care of themselves, but there's still a huge imbalance in power when an instructor has a go at one of their own students.

There's usually a campus full of attractive prospects not under a particular instructors direct influence. Is it so hard to keep the swapping of fluids (or entreaties to swap fluids) limited to students with whom you have no direct input on their successful completion of their degree?

Not that I didn't have a few Professors I would have enjoyed a tumble or two with back when I was an older university undergrad, in some cases older than my instructors. But if I had been propositioned by an instructor in my department, in a manner that suggested that refusal would have been bad for my academic career, then that would have been seventeen kinds of wrong. I think the culture on campuses is different now, and the age of the Don Juan Dons and Predatory Professors has mostly passed.

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