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perp's in our lab space

aloisia t schmid a-schmi at uiuc.edu
Sat Jun 14 14:29:51 EST 1997

> >      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?  
> > 
> alice, you should definitely report this to the authorities. keeping
> quiet about such things only fosters more of this kind of behavior. even
> if the authorities act crazy and don't do anything about it, at least
> reporting will bring this guy out in the open. other people like him
> will then think twice about doing such things.
> if there is a disease at large, definitely we should be guarding
> ourselves against it. but even then, it will attack some people.
> shouldn't we be doing something to fight the disease and bring it under
> control as well? just putting ourselves under curfew does not help much
> in the long run.
> vineeta. 

Hello all,

      Interestingly, we had a discussion about this in the lab yesterday
after I posted that and the other (all female) members of my lab who were
in this discussion, were of the same position that  you are advocating,
Vineeta---that you should get this guy OUT.  You know, at the time, that
was my instinct too, but I suppressed acting on it because of the way all
of the guys in my department were acting---almost outraged that he should
be punished "jsut because he had a perfectly normal interest in
pornography."  I was pointing out that this was not normal, that it was
sick, but that's when they started calling me a prude and an hsyterical

       I would be willing to bet that most people I know in science would
be appalled at the pedophilia aspect of it, but not at the pornography
aspects at all.  In fact there has never been a single department that I
have been in where at least some of the guys didn't get together and go to
strip clubs every now and then or to topless pool halls, etc..  and
routinely talked about it in the lab or at lunch the next day.  i am not
saying this is true of all members of the department, but it is fairly
common if my own experiences are at all representative.  And frankly, it
is always demeaning and makes me squirm.  Just because it reduces my own
sense of importance.....  As I once said to some friends  in graduate
school who were into the topless pool thing, "IF you can tell me that you
talk or think or behave exactly the same way towards me after you have
jsut gone to one of those bars, as you do normally, then fine."  But they
all acknowledged that their complete abilities to relate to women were
fundamentally altered afterwards.....

       I just think this might be one of the areas that either men will
never "get" or is an area where women have an almost overwhelming amount
of work to dom in order to get this to change. 

       But I digress.  The point that I was making is that I can easily
doubt my reactions to this kind of thing in a science envrionment, 
because it is always such a surprise or even a shock that I am never sure
how to respond.  And when my responses are called into question, I am
never sure if they are right or not,especailly when i am being told that I
am over-reacting.

        Also, when we were discussing this in the lab yesterday, one of
the things I mentioned to a post-doc friend is that the janitors we have
in our building always feel creepy and slightly threatening too.  Are you
being an elitest snob in not wanting to chat?  I notice they don't insist
on chatting with the men, but they do with the women and they are always
just a little over the top. This is obviously a much smaller point, but
you know what?  It always makes me uncomfortable and I always look forward
to being in the lab on the week-ends when I know they won't be here.....

         I'd be interested in hearing what other people think is the "line"?  
What crosses the line?  What is the appropriate response when you feel
someone IS crossing it?  How much should you just shut about in order to
not cause trouble?  


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