Dean of Edinboro University
What should be done with Professor Smut? Professor Smut should be fired from Edinboro University. For the following reasons he violated the First Amendment, academic freedom, and may have caused damage to the students. The First Amendment states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Professor Smut violated academic freedom, “The standard established in these cases requires a plaintiff who alleges a hostile environment to prove that sexual advances and comments are “sufficiently severe or pervasive ‘to alter the conditions of [the victim’s] employment and create an abusive working environment (Rutherglen 1)’” It’s problematic to categorize what is considered sexual harrasment. Men and women take and view harrasment differently. What men may find acceptable, women may find it offensive, and classify it as sexual harrasment. Academic freedom is the belief that the freedom of inquiry by faculty members is essential to the mission of the academy as well as the principles of academia, and that scholars should have freedom to teach or communicate ideas or facts without being targeted for repression, job loss, or imprisonment. “The constitutional protection for academic freedom, must necessarily be qualified, not absolute (Rutherglen 2).” There are limits to academic freedom, restricting what is protected under the bill. Speech that receives constitutional protection may still be regulated and restricted. Certain forms of speech only receive qualified protection, for example commercial speech. Pornography may have caused behavioral and emotional damage to the students. “Greater exposure to pornography (both violent and non-violent) is associated with increased acceptance of violence against women and aggression against women (Vega and Malamuth 106). The pornography may have caused behavioral damage to the students because, students may think that violence and aggression is socially accepted behavior. The students would be emotionally damaged, because the pornography was violent, and that could’ve been traumatizing. Pornography causes men to be violent. “Pornography that is far more violent and explicit has flooded the market, and this has been accompanied by a commensurate increase in the number of sex crimes (Davis 14).” Sexually violent pornography is a leading cause of sexual offenses; it influences men to believe that women enjoy being forced into sexual activity and that they enjoy being physically hurt during intercourse.
Showing pornography in class wasn’t the problem; the problem was the effect it had on the students. The porn only had an adverse impact on the class because it was violent pornography. If Professor Smut showed soft pornography to the class, it would’ve had a less negative impact. None of Professor Smut’s students were warned about the course or its content ahead of time. He has the right to show pornography in class because of academic freedom, but the effect on the students could get him prosecuted. Men and women take and view harassment differently. “In the absence of any requirement that they take account of the plaintiff’s gender, they may—or they may not—tailor the standard for sexual harassment to the perspective of the particular plaintiff in the case before them (Rutherglen 6).” There are also differences in behavior of men and women. Men are more aggressive and women are more sensitive. The pornography would affect the women more than it’ll effect the men. The opposing points of view are the students we’re not forced to watch the pornography. The First Amendment protects Professor Smut. Pornography does not diminish equal opportunities. The students...
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