Tewhey Deserves What He Is ReceivingI have recently had the good fortune to read a clipping from a recent issue of The Tech. In this clipping former Associate Dean for Residence and Campus Activities James R. Tewhey complains of the treatment he has received at the hands of the MIT administration.
He complains, "In its effort to be `politically correct' and to react without hesitation to any allegation that a woman makes, MIT has fostered an environment where no male is protected from the damage of a fabricated charge." Hear, hear. I concur wholeheartedly. Not only does the problem lie in the fabrication of charges, but additionally, and perhaps to an even more dangerous degree, in the exaggeration and transmutation of a personal dispute to the level of a harassment case.
During my junior year at MIT I experienced just such a difficulty. A woman with a past history of clashing with her neighbors went to our graduate resident tutor to complain of problems with my roommate and myself. She claimed that we were too loud. The tutor, after meeting with all of us, dealt with the issue in what the tutor, my roommate, and I felt was in an equitable fashion. This woman disagreed. She appealed to a higher campus authority.
The next thing we knew, we were dragged in front of an assistant dean, accused of an array of infractions, including sexual harassment, and threatened with arbitrary expulsion from the campus housing system. All of this based on the claims of a woman who said that we were too loud. What did this have to do with sexual harassment? Nothing. Who first made use of the term sexual harassment? Not the woman complaining. The dean who was supposed to be investigating began to refer to the incident as sexual harassment without any such claim from any of the parties involved.
He was not interested in facts, he was interested in power. These threats were then used in an attempt to make us repeat rumors about others living in our dorm so that the dean could continue his witch hunt. We were told that if we refused to repeat the rumors, we would be thrown out of dorm housing. In the end, we were forced to move into other rooms in other sections of the dorm in the middle of the school year, thus disrupting our academic year. He refused to listen to our side no matter how hard we tried to explain it.
This same dean has for years abused his position in knee-jerk reactions to complaints filed by women. He called sexual harassment any complaint filed by a woman against a man. His behavior was uniformly reprehensible and is the sole reason I, and several other alumni, refuse to give to the MIT alumni fund.
The name of this dean? James Tewhey. Yes, the same man who now expects the MIT community to cry for his plight. Well, I for one find my eyes dry and my heart full of joy at the situation he has brought upon himself. I support the idea that any allegations of wrong doing should be investigated thoroughly, and dealt with appropriately if proved to be true. I do not support James Tewhey. His departure from MIT, regardless of the circumstances, will certainly ensure a healthier environment for the MIT community.
Michael D. Miles '90