Arts & Leisure

Dear Mari: Teacher needs to cool off


VERBAL SEXUAL harassment is still harassment.

Dear Marilyn,

I am a college student.   I have a class with a close friend of mine. She feels very uncomfortable with one of her teachers. She has good reason to feel this way.

   This teacher likes to flirt with her, and come on to her. He has never gone “over the line.” In other words, he has not asked her out. Also, he has not physically touched her.

However, he says suggestive things to her. One day, in front of our entire class, he told her that she looked hot. He makes similar remarks in almost all of our classes.

He makes her feel extremely uncomfortable. She is reluctant to say anything to him, as she is afraid that it will jeopardize her grade.

Do you have any suggestions? Do you think that she should confront him, or, do you think that she should just let things go on as they are? It’s only for one semester.

Signed, Best Friend

Dear Best Friend,

   Your friend should not put up with this behavior from her teacher. She should not be made to feel uncomfortable in class. She should not have to wonder what he is going to say to her next.

   Please encourage her to meet with him, either right after class, or during his office hours. You can attend the meeting with her.

   Let him know in no uncertain terms that the suggestive comments that he makes to her are making her feel very uncomfortable. Request that he stop making comments like that in the future.

   There is a good chance that he will stop making those types of remarks at that point. If he does not, then she should report the incidents to the dean.

   Remarks such as these are forms of harassment. You and your girlfriend do not believe that he has gone “over the line”. However, once a teacher begins making personal comments that make a person feel uncomfortable, that absolutely is unacceptable.

   I understand why it is that she feels reluctant to confront him, and that she is tempted to just put up with it. However, she really should discuss this matter with him, and put an end to these types of remarks.

Dear Marilyn,

I have been very stressed out lately. I used to go to a junior college, and this semester I have just transferred to UC Irvine.

I am working too much, and classes are already very difficult. It seems as if I never have enough time to get anything done.

I was recently involved in an automobile accident. It was entirely my fault. I was so preoccupied with my thoughts of work and school, that I lost focus and I hit another car.

The damages were very minor, but the hot-tempered owner of the other car made the situation even worse. He didn’t calm down until I showed him my insurance information.

That night I drank my sorrows away with a bottle of wine. Unfortunately, I only had two hours of sleep, and I went to work with swollen eyes, a hangover and a phony smile.

My boss looked at me funny, but he didn’t ask any questions. I guess that I was lucky.

Do you have any suggestions for me?

Signed, Overworked and Tired

Dear Overworked and Tired,

   Please don’t continue on as you have been doing. Let that auto accident be a literal as well as figurative wake up call for you.

   That situation could have ended up a lot worse than just a confrontation with an angry driver. You could have been injured, or you could have injured him.

   And, going to work with a hangover and very little sleep was also a very dumb thing to do. You could have easily made some very serious mistakes while you were at work.

   Please take a look at the load that you are carrying. It is too much, and you must make some changes.

   You are beginning junior year at UC Irvine. This alone, will be a task that will require a great deal of focus and time. If there is any way that you can greatly reduce your hours, or even discontinue working part-time, it would be my advice that you do so.

   You need to organize your time so that you can get enough time to study, and enough time for some relaxation and for you to get more sleep.

   The choices that you make now will have a long term effect on your future.

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