Letter to the editor:
The administration at Ohio State wants to send the message that it will not tolerate sexual harassment. Good! Every fair-minded person finds this kind of behavior reprehensible: someone in a position of power mistreats another who is left powerless to defend against the attack and who is expected to be powerless to pursue recourse later. In fact, I find this behavior morally objectionable whether or not the aggressor’s motives or intentions are sexual in nature.
How did the powerful at OSU decide to send their message? They made a big public splash by releasing a report of a ridiculously flawed “investigation” that painted thousands of former and current marching band members as drunken perverts. They made an example of the marching band director for allegedly tolerating this allegedly rampant misbehavior. And by repeatedly refusing to “revisit” either decision, they made sure the people humiliated and harmed in the process were powerless to defend themselves. Oh, there was one concession. At the last Board of Trustees meeting, someone reluctantly agreed that a representative of the band alumni could make an impromptu five-minute statement. A band parent’s attempt to defend her son’s reputation then led to a pathetic scene of fleeing rear ends as the powerful scrambled to exit the room while she pleaded in vain for one minute of their attention.
Will any of the powerful recognize the irony (or hypocrisy) in the situation, come to their senses, and rectify these mistakes?
Bruce W. Weide
Professor emeritus of computer science and engineering at OSU