Anil Rollin, the only bizarre professor of his color, is being accused of exposing students to “deviant pornography” and “vaguely pedophilic” materials in a class called Writing the Body at Soca University in the United States.
A faculty committee on the California campus will consider the case later this week. It would then recommend disciplinary action – until dismissal – to the same interim dean who accused Rollin of using the terms.
Ralin said the allegations were based on complaints from three students who took Writing the Body in the fall and from an off-course student. Only one of the allegations has a clear submission date, but all appear to have been written in December, Rollin added. Yet Soka only verbally reported them (using the pronoun Rollin) about halfway through the spring semester, at the end of March.
Last month, Rallin received a letter from the interim dean of the faculty, Michael Weiner, formally alleging that they had violated the faculty’s policy on conduct, teaching effectiveness and the quality of the faculty: “Teachers have a right to freedom in the classroom. In teaching them, they need to be careful that controversial issues have nothing to do with them. “
Explaining the students’ allegations, Weiner complained that Rollins “did not create a safe place” and said the students “violated because they needed to read about graphic, perverted pornography, rape and assault, watch a video and read about sexual activity.” , Unnecessarily violent elements, etc. “
“Students found a text vaguely pedophilic,” Weiner wrote. “A student was a victim of rape whose mental health problems started as a result of material and orders to write with anger about her body. Another student survived the sexual assault. ”
Despite the SOCA allegations being considered serious enough to potentially dismiss him, Ralin has not been suspended from teaching this fall or this spring.
Soka declined to share any details about the students’ allegations, citing student privacy. But it says that because of complaints against the Rollins Center over classroom content, a faculty judging committee of peers is the appropriate body to review the matter.
“We’ve got a series of concerns about classroom behavior and content. We take these allegations seriously and act in accordance with our established policy, “said Katherine King, a spokeswoman for the university, via email.
‘A Long, Ugly History’
Soka says it is following the procedure, with many students, faculty members and alumni urging the university to complete its investigation into the rally, including the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. They argue that education-based complaints about professors are often addressed first outside the official disciplinary channels at SOCA and that there was no opportunity to address such concerns before threatening to end the rally.
Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. Weiner is also pushing the soccer writing program toward a writing across the curriculum model due to objections from some faculty members.
Some of Rallin’s supporters also point out that allegations of pedophilia and confusion have historically been used to harm or otherwise target LGBTQ people, and they say that it is wrong to use such language. Ralin agrees.
“Whether students say it or not, it is tragic that the dean of faculty will reproduce this kind of homophobia in our university,” Rollins said. “It’s a well-known homophobic trope used to target diverse people, including queer teachers, and has a long, ugly history, well documented.” (Currently, for example, Florida’s so-called Don’t Say Gay Act prohibits any discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in the K-3 classroom.
Rallin speculated that any reference to pedophilia to students referred to a passage from Samuel Delaney’s “Ash Wednesday”, where Delaney said that his longtime friend Mason was familiar with “gay movie cruising,” including New York City’s “working-class gay culture.” Was done. Mason was raised by a friend of Mason’s father, whom Mason referred to as his “uncle.” But there is no indication in the passage that Mason was a minor.
Regarding the Writing the Body course in general, Rollins said, “No curriculum texts present or refer to children in the context of sex or sexuality.” Or they “do not fit any definition of pornography.”
Body writing is a potential option for students to meet the requirements of SOCA writing seminars. The syllabus describes it this way:
Accepting the production, control, and movement of the body as its scope in the context of ethnic capitalism and cosmopolitanism, this writing seminar considers how bodies are formed politically, socially, sexually, racially, culturally, metaphorically, and historically, as well. Promoting the invention of the rebellious form for reading and writing that does not restore the body to descriptive mythology and dualistic structures that dominate the conventional understanding of the body.
Our specific writing / composing, research, reading, viewing and discussion thus focuses on body politics and performance as social products, metrics and mediation. We will consider different texts from different disciplines, styles and media; This text raises ideas / questions; And think carefully about the implications of these lessons for our own essay practice. As a socially and morally responsible citizen / scholar / thinker / worker, you will intervene in this textual conversation by creating your own multimodal critical / creative analysis / meditation / composition that contributes to the discussion of the body. My hope is that you will create a work that is important to your own dreams and aspirations and your imagination of what our world might be like.
Ralin has taught body writing for many years, but recent iterations include the works of Suit Dhali, Lisa Lynn Kana, Alan Pelez Lopez, Claudia Rankin, Randa Zarar, Roxanne Gay, and Ocean Vuong. Some texts include sexually explicit or discussion of sexual harassment, Ralin said, “and I warned the trigger for those texts. I made it clear that students should not read or respond to actions that they thought might be triggered for them.” They say that if students did not feel comfortable doing so, they would not have to share what they wrote with the class.
Outside of the written text, Rallin said that after discussing with the class during a specific discussion this autumn, they decided to screen Isaac Julian’s 1993 short film, Attendant. The film depicts sexual fantasies in a museum setting (hence the servant) and while it was considered border-pushing and possibly scandalous at the time of release, drawing the attention of Bell Hook and other scholars, Rallin said it had become “somewhat slimmer” by the end of 2021.
However, Rollin said: “It’s shocking that the dean wants to remove me from my position on the basis of student allegations. This is the first student complaint against me in 16 years of teaching. [Soka]”
Rallin received the Soka Student Union Professor of the Year award in 2015. Kiana Barrington, a fourth-year student who took Writing the Body in the Body, when the complaint was filed, said she was shocked to hear of the lawsuit against Ralin because the course was “probably one of the most popular courses – it’s been great.” Coming here, people are saying to me, ‘Oh my God, I took this course; it’s the best course of all time, it changed my life.’
Barrington said the course discredited his expectations – positively – so he imagined it would be about explicit “physical” issues, such as race or weight, but it presented a more “inclusive” feeling to the body to include sexual orientation.
“When I took the class, it was very clear to me how it was related,” he said. “The way your identity and your preferences and your interests affect the way you engage with the world and people.”
Contrary to the notion that the rally has created an unsafe space for students, Barrington said that the rally was constantly checking with the students about their level of comfort and how they thought the class was progressing. Barrington, who identifies as Black, said he was grateful for how Rallin handled an incident in class where a non-black student uttered the full n-word in reference to its use in student text.
“They made it clear to me that they would address it in class and make sure it didn’t happen again,” Barrington recalled Rallin. “And considering the subject of the course, many students mentioned [at the beginning]‘I find it strange to share these personal things about my body and my experience,’ and [Rallin] He told us, ‘We can work on it. We can deduct as much information as you need to make you feel safe. ‘
Soccer has no trigger warning policy, the matter is left to individual professors. Barrington said he once complained to Weiner while he was still serving as professor of East Asian and international studies and not as a dean, offering no trigger warning for sexual harassment before showing a movie in his class in the mid-twentieth century. Japanese “bride in photo” living in Hawaii. (Soka did not respond to a request for comment.)
Soka University in the United States was founded by Daisaku Ikeda, founder of the Soka Gakkai International Buddhist Movement, and emphasizes liberal art and human rights. It is a small institution with a large section of international students. Many students from Rallin India and Soka come from Japan, where the institution has an older sister university.
Ryan Ashley Caldwell, an associate professor of sociology at Soccer who also uses their pronouns, says he has resigned as chairman of the university’s curriculum committee to sue Ralin.
“I resigned in protest and solidarity but to protect myself,” they said. “As a curious professor, it is not possible for me to chair a committee overseeing the curriculum when another curious professor is targeted for what they teach in their class. It’s a personal conflict of interest in the deepest sense. “
It’s not a huge jump to assume “what’s happening [Rallin] That could happen to me, “Caldwell said,” and I think faculty should be upset for similar reasons. “