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Monday, October 3, 2016

Columbia grad: I was reported for gender misconduct for calling myself handsome in class

I've excerpted the beginning and a couple of high points of Columbia grad Ben Sweetwood's story here, but you should read the whole thing. It's interesting that he put off talking about this until after he graduated (two years after the "incident".

Columbia put me through ‘re-education’ for telling a joke:
Now I’ve graduated from Columbia University, I am finally ready to reveal a dark and shameful secret I have kept buried for almost two years: I am the living manifestation of the evil white male cis patriarchy. I, Ben Sweetwood, committed “gender misconduct” while a student at the above mentioned institution of higher learning.
I was in Chinese class in the Fall of 2014. I was a bit of a jokester in class, though also a good student, so it’s not like I didn’t make contributions to the class. Often we had to use new vocabulary or sentence structures to make up our own sentences.
One somber autumn morning, I took the opportunity to call myself handsome in Chinese. Wǒ hěn shuài, I uttered in my unchecked malevolence and without care for cultural norms or general moral principles. I know you must be too aghast to read on at this point, but please, bear with me, so that this kind of horrific statement never sees the light of day again.
“The University’s Gender-Based Misconduct Office contacted us because they received a complaint about your behavior towards your Elementary Chinese II professor. It is important we meet to discuss this as soon as possible.”
He then goes on to tell about how his Chinese teacher, his dean, and even the case manager from the Gender-Based Misconduct office said something along the lines of, “Even if I agree with you, I obviously couldn’t say anything…”

Real Chinese re-education
Read the rest of the story at The Tab - here's his conclusion:
This experience taught me one thing more than any other: the human toll of “triggered” culture is a serious matter. I cannot help but feel for those who are deeply embedded in it, or rely on it for food and shelter. Furthermore, by reporting my innocuous statement, serious matters like sexual harassment and assault are trivialized and victims end up neglected. That is unacceptable.

I was reported for gender misconduct for calling myself handsome in class

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