A molecular biologist at the University of California at Irvine faces the possibility of being put on unpaid leave because he won’t attend training sessions on preventing sexual harassment, the Orange County Register reported.
Such training, Alexander McPherson told the newspaper, is a “sham,” and he has consistently refused to take it because, among other things, it “violated my rights as a tenured professor” and “cast a shadow of suspicion on my reputation and career.”
Oh, tenured professor of molecular biology Alexander MacPherson. You are no doubt a smart man - you've got the big fancy degree, all about the molecules and the biology and such. They gave you tenure. Yet you seem to be not entirely clear on what "[casting] a shadow of suspicion" actually entails. Because, you see, attending mandatory sexual harassment prevention training is not all that suspicious. Giving up your job because you don't want to attend it? That, right there, might raise some questions.
In fact, Alex, I would like to take this opportunity to offer you some non-mandatory Casting of Suspicion Upon Oneself Prevention Training. It is available online, just like the sexual harassment thing! Here we go:
- Voluntarily going through the metal detector at an airport does not cast a shadow of suspicion upon oneself. Running away from it in a panic shouting, "my various illegal drugs - oh god, please, don't let them take my various illegal drugs," on the other hand, may do so.
- Calmly paying for goods at the counter one's local bodega or deli does not cast a shadow of suspicion upon oneself. It is inadvisable however, to approach the counter and shriek, "for the last time, I have not been shoplifting!" This may result in some suspicion.
- If one is driving, and is signaled by a police car to pull over, one may do so without casting a shadow of suspicion upon oneself. Once one has done so, however, it is generally wise not to greet the officer with, "I bet you think I have a dead body in my trunk, don't you? WELL, I DON'T." Nor is it advisable to disobey the police officer's signal and to engage the police in a high-speed chase of the sort which would be broadcast on all local news channels. In each case, suspicion will result.
- When going to the bank to make a withdrawal, be sure to wear appropriate clothing - business casual is always a good fit. In no circumstances should you approach said bank wearing a black and white horizontally striped shirt and an eye mask, nor should you accessorize with a large burlap sack printed with the "$" symbol. This is regarded as highly suspicious.
According to the paper, Mr. McPherson, who studies proteins, offered a compromise: He asked 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.The university wouldn’t sign such a document.