by Jack Halberstam
Welcome to the DeVos University where our motto is: Reddere Ludere or Pay to Play.
As part of your orientation to your shiny and new look university, we offer you our standard Online Sexual Harassment Training Course at the end of which you can choose between different malpractice insurance packages – we can help you to decide which one is right for you depending upon your status (social identity factors), your profile (visibility in the profession), your friendship networks and your usefulness to the university.
The university in the past was an antiquated place where people sat around reading and thinking and exchanging ideas. It was a boring and dull place in which, to misquote W.H. Auden on poetry, nothing happened. But today, we offer you a new educational environment in which different opportunities exist for maximizing your potential and the potential of those you coach in a crowded marketplace of purchasable intellectual material.
In order to begin advertising your thoughts you need to develop online curricula (that can be sold), textbooks (that can also be sold) and a series of lectures which your university will buy back from you for the price of what we used to call your “salary.” Now, your salary will be docked according to how much you owe the university for the use of your own lectures, for malpractice suit coverage, for any counseling you need as you navigate this difficult process and for bi-monthly sexual harassment training sessions. Please do not be alarmed if the deductions for these services, along with standard deductions for health care, taxes and retirement, actually come to more than your salary. You believe in education after all so now is your chance to prove it by paying to elevate the minds of the youth in your care.
We will help you to develop your intellectual persona over time as a brand and then show you how to maximize that brand and you might even, eventually, make some money back on it!
But, before we get into how you can actually make money in addition to teaching, prepping, publishing and administering programs (and we do suggest looking into opportunities for second jobs at local coffee houses and grocery stores), we need to make sure you are protected from nasty grievances that may arise as you counsel our student clients and guide them to higher learning. And, of course, protecting you means protecting the university so this is extremely important. Please spend at least 12 hours on the online training course, this is not simply a matter of learning the material, which can be done rather quickly, it is required for the insurance coverage that we may offer you at the end of the course.
By way of an introduction to your sexual harassment training kit, please click the cute emoji marked NOT WAVING, DROWNING to continue. You will then enter the sexual harassment training portal and we will lead you through some real-world scenarios in which you are forced to make some hard decisions and pay more money to the university.
But first please answer the first question in order to establish your “status”:
A) A straight white man – if yes, please bypass the first section. In fact, you will find that you can bypass many of the sections.
B) A queer person – if yes, consider purchasing our full coverage and making monthly contributions to a “potential law suit” defense fund.
C) A Woman – please sign a university indemnification form. This form confirms that even if you need to press charges against a colleague or university employee or student for harassing you, and indeed, 90% of all cases are women harassed by men, you guarantee that you will never sue the university.
D) A person of color – our insurance plans do not offer coverage for all law suits you may run into, consider extra coverage and a monthly contribution fund.
E) A queer person of color – you are on your own.
Read through these scenarios and answer the questions that follow:
1. A woman has reported to HR that you insisted upon engaging with her sexually in exchange for good grades in your class. According to her grievance, you insisted that she wanted sex with you and you disregarded her obvious discomfort. You later failed her in the class. Please answer according to your “status.”
A. White guy – do you marry her? Denounce her as delusional to all who will listen? Feel confident that it will all blow over? Explain that this is just run of the mill heterosexual sex and you “get that a lot” – what’s the big deal?
B. Queer person – do you point out that you are queer and not sexually interested in her? Counter sue alleging that she came on to you?
C. White woman – skip this section, we all know women don’t have “sex” with other women.
D. Person of color – hire a lawyer and prepare to go to jail
E. Queer person of color – your life is over.
2. A group of women specifically bring a charge against a white man who has engaged in multiple accounts of sexual abuse, sexual assault, and slander. The women all have remarkably similar stories. Law suits are in the offing. Should the university:
A. Talk to the man in question and tell him to marry as many of the aggrieved students as possible?
B. Investigate further because the fact that the women all have similar stories sounds suspicious?
C. Call upon the man’s friends on campus to support him and hold him up as a genius who has just been misunderstood?
D. Ask his wife, and his ex-wife, and his first wife to come in and testify on his behalf?
E. Get him an opportunity to write an op. ed. explaining what happened?
F. Offer him a very nice retirement package with full benefits, a house in the Bahamas and free access to study abroad students?
3. One man brings a charge against a feminist professor known internationally for her path-breaking work. The man claims he has been forced by the professor to hang out with her, sit by her in her home, read to her and talk to her. The complaints pre-date their student/teacher relationship and go back to when he was a young man who bumped into her in a European capital. The charge is backed up by some flirtatious emails and has a he said/she said feel to it.
Should the university:
A. Fire her
B. Hire a publicist to broadcast the case internationally to show that feminists fuck up too and even more than anyone else does but that the university is willing to go to any lengths to protect its student/clients from feminists?
C. Tell her to marry the victim
D. Put her on leave without pay indefinitely
E. Lock her up in her university owned apartment and force her to hand out all of her intellectual property to the university while continuing to admit students to work with her and using her reputation as a lure for the program with which she is affiliated.
4. A queer person of color has been accused of engaging inappropriately with another queer person of his own age and status off campus. This person does not work with the alleged victim, does not supervise the alleged victim and has no further contact with them.
Should the university:
A. Fire them both?
B. Get rid of queer studies and Ethnic Studies and Black studies and feminist studies?
C. Hire some graduate students to post repeatedly about this case on social media to make something out of what could potentially have been nothing?
D. Deny them both tenure?
E. Set them up with a white guy mentor who can explain how this all works?
5. A man of color has been accused of sexually harassing a white student by being in the same room as her and looking at her in an “odd way.” The two never met out of the classroom but the student says she feels “unsafe.” You are the chairperson to whom the student reports this feeling. Do you:
A. Call the police.
B. Call the army?
C. Investigate to find out how and when and why a Black man was hired on your campus?
D. Contact the NYT?
E. Take out more insurance?
Section 3: Now that you have completed your training it is time to purchase your insurance. If you are a white guy – don’t worry, you are covered by our “male majority non-liability clause agreement.” If you are anyone else, the cost of coverage, if and only if you qualify for it, will be a third of your current salary but we offer you the chance to teach for the coverage by adding 2 extra classes per year to your work load. You will also be asked to pick up extra mentoring.
Finally, what is the take away here? Yes, pay to play! No bad universities, only bad faculty! One million years of patriarchal rule can’t be wrong!
That’s all folks!