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© Helicon Magazine 2019

University of Bristol

 

[2minute tease] : Show me a Grad student I can f*ck

Sofia Zaitseva

Continuing our two minute tease series, exploring the weird, wonderful and whimsical dissertations Bristol has to offer Sofia Zaitseva talks us through 'Show Me A Grad Student I can Fuck' ...

[trigger warning: sexual assault and abuse]

So my dissertation started with some good old fashioned essay procrastination. I’d been having some conversation about the patriarchy with one of my lecturers, and she asked if I’d heard about Thomas Pogge and allegations of sexual assault and harassment that had been filed by some of his students. I hadn’t - and was in the midst of an essay I didn’t care about anymore - so I looked him up.

Thomas Pogge has been accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment by several female students. It’d been all over the internet, including articles on Buzzfeed, the New York Time and the Huffington Post.

When I dug deeper into the issue I found other cases at Goldsmiths and Sussex in the UK, as well as blogs like ‘Being a Woman in Philosophy’, where women anonymously upload their stories of these kinds of abuses in Universities.

At Goldsmiths, Professor Sara Ahmed resigned over the university's’ alleged failure to tackle multiple cases whereby students had been sexually harassed by staff members.

At Sussex, a Senior Lecturer wasn’t even suspended after he was charged with domestically abusing his partner - with whom he had began a relationship when she was a postgraduate at the University. This, in spite of the Universities existing policies when it comes to tackling violence.

A common theme running throughout these cases is lecturers abusing their power, and universities protecting their staff members for fear of damaging their reputation, or losing big names from their research and teaching outputs.  

My dissertation is focused on over covering as much of the problem as possible; working out why this is happening; why universities are failing to tackle the issue; and to provide some suggestions for change.

Illustration: Caroline Kelley