A law student at the University of Texas was forced to reflect on “toxic masculinity” as a punishment for harassment.
An anonymous law student at the University of Texas at Austin spoke to Toni Airaksinen of Campus Reform about his experience with ideologically-driven punishment after the school found him guilty of harassment.
The student was asked by University Hearing Officer Jennifer Zamora to write a six-page assignment that would “identify gender role stereotypes/concepts and how [these] have impacted your relationship with women,” and “define your idea of ‘healthy masculinity’ and describe what active steps you can take today to encourage healthy attitudes around masculinity at all levels of society.”
“Be advised that this [reflection assignment] may not serve as a defense of your actions, but as a reflection of what you have learned about yourself through this experience,” Zamora continued.
While the student should certainly face punishment after being found responsible for harassment, it’s entirely unclear if reflecting on “toxic masculinity” is an appropriate punishment considering its ideological origins. It is appropriate for public universities to suspend students who harass others. It is not appropriate for them to adopt partisan talking points about the negative impact that men have on society.
The anonymous student told Campus Reform that the assignment made him feel like the university was pathologizing his gender. “That’s not just discrimination; that’s treating masculinity as a mental health issue, and pretending they have some pretentious duty to correct the supposed defects in my sex for the betterment of all society,” the student said.
“If the University of Texas-Austin had a program to counsel black students on how to tamp down characteristics associated with black stereotypes, nobody would hesitate to call that racist,” he added.