University of Alaska professor accuses school newspaper of sexual harassment

Student Press Law Center | Fairbanks Daily News-Miner | The Sun Star

Sine Anahita, a professor at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, has filed two complaints about student newspaper The Sun Star, Samantha Sunne reports.

Anahita objected to an April Fool’s article that said the university plans “a new building in the shape of a vagina” and to another about hate speech. The university investigated the complaints and found no wrongdoing, but Anahita has appealed. The university’s report “has got enough factual errors and misattributions and faulty process that the chancellor has appointed an external reviewer,” someone who is presumably Anahita told Sam Friedman of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “The investigation was that sloppily done.” The paper didn’t identify the faculty member “because the university’s sexual harassment complaint process is designed to be confidential,” Friedman writes.

The faculty senate “sent us a letter asking us to permanently remove the satirical article from The Sun Star website and to redact the student names appearing in the screen shots accompanying” the other article, Sun Star Editor-in-Chief Lakeidra Chavis wrote in an article about the paper’s administrative adventures. Both articles are still up. Chavis wrote the parody article, which now sports a warning that it “is intended as satire and not meant to be taken seriously.” (Still, as news of Qatar’s soccer stadium has shown, vagina-shaped buildings are not outside the realm of possibility.)

Anahita has also “accused The Sun Star of violating Title IX,” Sunne writes.

In 2010, Andrew Sheeler reported in The Sun Star that Anahita sent the manager of the university’s women’s center to the newspaper’s office after the paper’s photographers defied a request that they refrain from photographing a panel discussion. “Andrew, several of your facts are incorrect, and the errors sensationalize your story,” someone purporting to be Anahita wrote in the article’s comments. The commenter did not reply to a request from the paper to elaborate.

Reached by email, Anahita said, “I am unable to discuss the issue at this time.”

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  • Gabe P

    Some people just cannot understand satire.

  • danbloom

    the Qatar staidum media coverage had NADA to do with the UAF issues. that is called snark. sexist rape culture snark.

  • danbloom

    hi ANdrew, we can agree to disagree. doesn’t matter what the other media did, you brought that in just be snarky, and it had nothing to do with the UAF issue, and by doing that you become

    part of the rape culture, you sexist snarky slob. SMILE. we men have an extra resposbility to be better than our culture teaches is to be. I forgive you this time but think about it next time.

    But adding that Qatar BS, you editorialzied and condemend the UAF professor to be wrong.

    BAD BOY. just think about it. i know you are a good man, but we men have extra responsilbity to go above the sexism our culture hands us, locker room jokes and all. STOP IT. you have power now, use it the right way. no?

    RE: andrew told me: ”Hi Dan, thanks for your comment. That stadium received lots of media coverage here and the architect even addressed it. I don’t agree that it was insensitive to acknowledge the Qatar building in light of the heavy coverage of it in the last two weeks, and I think I would have looked willfully ignorant had I not.”

  • danbloom

    omigod i just noticed the Ape Fools joke at UAF was written by a woman! All is lost now.
    ”Lakeidra Chavis” is a female reporter there at UAF. so if she thinks
    its funny then who am i to complain, a man of all things? SHE wrote: ”However, UAF is shining light on the minority group by building a new building in the shape of a vagina that will be ready for classes this fall.”

  • danbloom

    Yes, Andrew, it’s true the Huffpo piece you linked to was written by a woman Katherine Brooks, so it’s not just males being stupid and sexist here. Sigh re: her headline reads “Yes yes Qatar’s Monster Staidum looks a bit like a vagina”

  • danbloom

    THAT comment was uncalled for and beenath poynter standards please take it down. How could you be so insensitive to female readers here? I am serious. WTF? re ”(Still, as news of Qatar’s soccer stadium has shown, vagina-shaped buildings are not outside the realm of possibility.)” Andrew, a woman editor would never have written such a sexist male joke. Apolo needed here. really. you are part of the problem if you don’t see this, sir.

  • Elika Roohi

    I was the editor of the Sun Star last year when we published both of these pieces, and I just wanted to add that the University of Alaska system actually requires that the two parties involved in the complaint process sit down and talk about the problem before doing anything with investigating the complaint to see if something can be worked out. That part was just skipped in this situation. Throughout the whole process, the students in the center of the issue who wrote and edited these pieces have been completely left out of what’s going on.