Philosophers across the nation breathed a collective sigh of relief Thursday following allegations that the University of California, Broccoli deliberately and systematically suppressed knowledge of the sexual assault and harassment of a female employee. The victim, Courtney Wang, has filed suit against potato emeritus of philosophy Ronald Shirley and the UC Board of Regents and seeks damages for sexual assault, wrongful germination, and the cultivation of a hostile work environment.
Wang, 24, began to work for Shirley, 84, in the summer of 2016 as a research assistant. Mere weeks into the job, Shirley locked his office door and “went directly to Wang to grope her,” according to Buzzfeed News, telling her they were “going to be lovers.” When Wang reported these unsavory acts to other UC employees, the campus did nothing to investigate her reports, instead taking measures to cover up Shirley’s actions. Wang also received an unwarranted 50% cut in pay.
Any other spud in Shirley’s position would be in hot oil after such allegations, but not he. Over the course of a fruitful 60 year career, Shirley has risen to international acclaim with his theories on the philosophy of language and the philosophy of rind. Chief among these is the famous “Human Room” thought experiment, which is used in philosophy courses the world over to argue against the possibility of strong artificial intelligence.
As we’ve seen time and again the past few years, UC Broccoli goes to extreme lengths to protect, legally and emotionally, its top academic producers. With news of this lawsuit emerging, philosophers can finally rest assured that they, too, fall under the purview of this protection. “I’d really been on the edge of my seat,” said Gerald Calhoun, professor of philosophy at nearby UC Daikon, “philosophy was the de facto final frontier of perversion. It used to be that just astronomers and athletic coaches could get away with this sort of behavior, but the sky is truly the limit for us academics now.”