How not to welcome a new colleague

Posted: October 5, 2010 by Jender in sexual harassment, sexual innuendos

Not too many years ago, when I was a new Assistant Professor, I went into the department office to grab my mail wearing a “Yale” sweatshirt. I am not a Yale alum; just had the sweatshirt. Graduate students were milling about, and the departmental secretaries, as well as one of my senior, rather powerful colleagues. The latter took a look at my Yale sweatshirt, grinned, and said very loudly “Look–its another Bush from Yale!” The students silently looked at me to see how I would respond. I was so taken aback at being called a bush by a senior colleague, in front of students, that I blushed and was speechless. Later it occurred to me to wonder how he might have responded if I had called him a prick in the same context. The same colleague came into my office some time later to tell me his thoughts about the topic of pornography, which devolved into a discussion of his favorite kinds, and then he let me know that he and his wife enjoyed fun and games with third parties. That was my first year on the job.

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