Professor Charges ‘Rape Culture’ for Vagina Building Satire

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

A professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is demanding an independent investigation about two complaints she filed alleging sexual harassment by the school’s student newspaper.

The first article appeared in The Sun Star, the campus rag, on April 1, 2013. The April Fool’s Day piece heralded the construction of the “Kameel Toi Henderson Building,” which is “a new building in the shape of a vagina.”

The satirical piece suggested that the building would be a tribute to “UAF’s 59 percent female demographic.” “Courses such as Home Economics, House Cleaning 101 and the Perils of Feminism will be offered each semester.”

Sine Anahita, a sociology professor and the coordinator of the school’s women and gender studies program, was not amused. She filed a complaint charging that the piece and a graphic that ran along with it amounted to sexual harassment.

“Nearly every faculty member and staff member I have talked with finds the graphic objectionable,” Anahita asserted in her complaint, according to the Student Press Law Center (SPLC). “The publication of the graphic also reproduces the ‘rape culture’ that trivializes the forced and non-consensual display and penetration of women’s bodies.”

It’s not clear exactly what the graphic showed. However, in its investigation report, the UAF administration observed that it originated in a PG-13 movie.

School officials also concluded that the article did not create a hostile environment on campus and does “not meet the definition of sexual harassment.” They further noted that the piece is protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Sun Star journalist who wrote the April Fool’s piece, Lakeidra Chavis, noted that her goal was to poke fun at the number of buildings at UAF shaped at least vaguely like penises.

“Personally, I thought it was funny,” Chavis told the SPLC. “It’s not meant to be factual.”

Lakeidra Chavis is a female, according to her Facebook page.

A few days after filing her complaint about the April Fool’s Day piece, Anahita filed a second complaint. This one alleged “hate speech” and another hostile environment in a different Sun Star article about the UAF Confessions Facebook page.

Chavis noted that the newspaper did nothing illegal when it published screenshots of the Facebook page and reported on what was in it.

“It was a public Facebook page,” she said.

School officials again concluded that the newspaper did nothing wrong.

In at least one of the complaints, Anahita bizarrely charged that The Sun Star had violated Title IX, a federal law intended to thwart sex discrimination in schools. School officials determined that Title IX doesn’t apply to school newspaper articles.

The nutty professor is dissatisfied with the outcomes of both of her complaints. She has appealed UAF’s determinations in both of her complaints, reports the SPLC. As a result, the complaints will now be reviewed by someone unaffiliated with the university.

“The report has got enough factual errors and misattributions and faulty process that the chancellor has appointed an external reviewer,” a UAF faculty member told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “The investigation was that sloppily done.”

That faculty member appears to be Anahita, though the News-Miner insists that it won’t name names “because the university’s sexual harassment complaint process is designed to be confidential.”

A UAF spokeswoman echoed this sentiment.

“The process is meant to be confidential,” the spokeswoman, Marmian Grimes, told the SPLC. “We don’t want to have a chilling effect on people’s willingness to report things.”

Chavis noted that the months-long investigation has caused tremendous stress for her and her colleagues. She  will probably be required to explain herself again in the rehash of the investigation, she noted, and no one knows what the consequences will ultimately be until the case is finally closed.

The Poynter Institute notes that Anahita has some history of trouble with the student newspaper. In 2010, for example, the gender studies professor dispatched the manager of UAF’s women’s center to the offices of the paper after a photographer took pictures at a panel discussion in defiance of a request for privacy.

Anahita refuses to comment on the fracas she has created.

“I am unable to discuss the issue at this time,” she told the Poynter Institute in an email.

Follow Eric on Twitter and on Facebook, and send education-related story tips to erico@dailycaller.com.

The Daily Caller


One Comment on “Professor Charges ‘Rape Culture’ for Vagina Building Satire”

  1. […] The Butcher A professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is demanding an independent investigation about […]


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