A molecular biologist at the University of California is gambling with his employment by refusing to attend a state-mandated (not just a university requirement) two hour training course on sexual harassment, wanting the university “to sign a disclaimer that says that he must take the training to remain employed and that he has never sexually harassed anyone that he has supervised.” As to the second part of that statement, how could the university be sure? The best he could hope for is “no formal complaints of sexual harassment have been made against him”, but there is no good reason to demand that the university do this, despite his claims that attending the course will not only waste his time but also will “cast a shadow of suspicion on my reputation and career”.
This is not something that Alexander MacPherson has been singled out on – everybody has to do it. Zuska sums up:
This is, pure and simple, resistance to an attempt to create a cultural norm of official disapproval and discouragement of harassing behaviors.
Whether MacPherson simply can’t be bothered with the hassle of supporting staff who are sexually harassed and disciplining/reporting the offenders, or whether he’s personally invested in unhindered harassing behaviours himself is objectionable either way, and he’s still objecting to just one mandatory two-hour seminar when I bet he hasn’t complained about a the eleventy-three lab safety sessions he’s attended during his career or mandatory avoiding plagiarism sessions etc.
In the same post, Zuska mentions yet another report of a study showing that female academics are paid less than men and the predictable responses in one forum about how it’s all down to lady brains and lacking toughness or something like that.