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perp's in our lab space

aloisia t schmid a-schmi at uiuc.edu
Fri Jun 13 12:26:19 EST 1997

Dear group,

    So I am not sure exactly what happened in this story.  The male
graduate student went in to the women's room, and dropped his pants and
sat on the couch?  Did anything else happen?  Was he undressing to take a
nap?  Did he expose himself?  I guess my point here is that while he does
sound unbalanced, I am not sure that what he did was enough to get him
kicked out of graduate school---unless I missed some crucial details in
the story.  But i think that now that he has been caught doing something
really creepy and socially unacceptable, he has to be treated with
caution, and the women around him need to be careful.  

      When I was in graduate school we had this guy who was a post-doc in
one of the labs in my department.  And he was this total right-to-life
crusader and used to say that he and his wife wanted 20 children or more,
if God would give them to them, and they used to spend their entire free
time taking their two children (presumably the first of 20), to abortion
clinics and public events, wearing sandwich boards with photos of aborted
fetuses on the front.  And they would protest.  I went to a political
rally once and there they were, right in front of the arena, wearing the
poster boards in question.... 

     Anyway, this reason I bring this up, is that one night I caught him
in the act of down-loading pictures of nude male children, and printing
them out on the
departmental printers.  It was two in the morning on a friday night and I
am sure he didn't expect anyone to be there.  At any rate, I think that is
a pretty threatening thing too, especially from a man so in to leading a
double life.  The thing is--- you never really know how people think, or
how they rationalize what they do, or how they manage to compartmentalize
portions of their lives.  I am not saying the graduate student's offense
should be minimized, but my point is that---women need to be aware that
you just never know.  Even the people you work with who might seem
terribly above board, could have dark sides, and you just have to be
self-protective.  And try to minimize risks...maybe by getting people like
the grad student out, I don't know, but maybe more importantly by being
alert, and reporting the stuff that is threatening and in general, being
protective of yourself first and foremost.  Because sometimes, you just
aren't going to know.  

     Interestingly, I never told the authorities about this guy, but I
told my friends, and the male graduate student response was that you
should be discreet about this, because it was no big deal, whereas the
women graduate students  were outraged at the act, at the hypocracy and at
the male reaction amongst our peers.  

      I don't know.  The big question I have to ask is just how seriously
threatening is this behaviour?  


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