The University Record, March 28, 1994


Some enjoy compliments

In her article on “sexual harassment policy” (University Record, March 4) Jane R. Elgass offers a number of tips to avoid being a harasser. One of these calls for not assuming that one’s “colleagues, peers, employees or students enjoy ... comments about their appearance.” Well, I do not have to make any such assumption. I know that I and at least some of my friends at the Univer-sity, male and female, enjoy being told—when sincerely meant—that a new sports coat is particularly becoming or that shorter hair makes one look younger. Why should one be deprived of such small pleasures in life? If one were to follow the suggested guidance to the letter, the relationship between males and females at the University would be reduced to purely official and business communication, leaving little room for friendliness and personal concerns. Is this what the University really wants? Why should the transgressions and possible paranoia of the few lead to the punishment of many? Why couldn’t we be trusted with civilized behavior based on tactfulness and consideration for others? After all, isn’t that to be expected of people with real education that the University community presumably consists of?

Jan Kmenta, professor emeritus
of economics and of statistics