University Diaries
A professor of English describes American university life.
Aim: To change things.
Contact UD at: margaret-dot-soltan-at-gmail-dot-com

Read my book, TEACHING BEAUTY IN DeLILLO, WOOLF, AND MERRILL (Palgrave Macmillan; forthcoming), co-authored with Jennifer Green-Lewis. VISIT MY BRANCH CAMPUS AT INSIDE HIGHER ED

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"Unvarnished." (Phi Beta Cons)
"Splendidly splenetic." (Culture Industry)
"Except for University Diaries, most academic blogs are tedious."
(Rate Your Students)
"I think of Soltan as the Maureen Dowd of the blogosphere,
except that Maureen Dowd is kind of a wrecking ball of a writer,
and Soltan isn't. For the life of me, I can't figure out her
politics, but she's pretty fabulous, so who gives a damn?"
(Tenured Radical)

Monday, January 26, 2004

“The university’s definition of sexual misconduct mandates that each participant obtains and gives consent in each instance of sexual activity. Consent is an affirmative decision to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity given by clear actions or words. It is an informed decision made freely and actively by all parties. Relying solely upon non-verbal communication can lead to miscommunication. It is important not to make assumptions; if confusion or ambiguity on the issue of consent arises anytime during the sexual interaction, it is essential that each participant stops and clarifies, verbally, willingness to continue. Students should understand that consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance alone. Furthermore, a current or previous dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent, and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Being intoxicated does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent. Conduct will be considered “without consent” if no clear consent, verbal or nonverbal, is given. It should be noted that in some situations an individual’s ability to freely consent is taken away by another person or circumstance. Examples include, but are not limited to, when an individual is intoxicated, “high,” scared, physically or psychologically pressured or forced, passed out, intimidated, coerced, mentally or physically impaired, beaten, threatened, isolated, or confined.” [New Duke University Student Sex Guidelines]


With what sad steps, O Love, I climb’st thy thighs;
How unambiguous, and how unmistakably ready to stop at any time my face --
For ‘tis now decreed, that e’en in ducal place
The busy archer must make unequivocally clear he won’t - if at any time you say you
don’t want him to - his sharp arrow let fly.

Sure if that long with Love acquainted eyes
Can judge of Love, thou feel’st a lover’s case;
I read it in thy looks, thy languish’t grace,
To me that feel the like, thy state descries.

And yet today by Duke’s decree
We scorn the evidence of eye and lip,
The flush’d cheek, the fever’d grip,
And judge nothing without clear verbal authorization.

Then of this mystery, O moon, tell me:
Is threat'ning Orwellian jargon to be deem’d but want of wit?
Are lawyers up there as proud as here they be?
Do they above say they love love, and yet

Scorn those lovers when they Love possess?
Do they call Passion there nonconsensualness?