The Tutorial Room

On February 8, 2018, The Tutorial Room at the Herman B Wells Library on the Bloomington campus of Indiana University became the Everett W. Kunzelman Tutorial Room. It is a nice recognition for years of supporting the libraries of Indiana University through the Indiana University Foundation and providing specific support for writing and other tutorial services.

A concern some might have to such publicity is that someone will crawl out of the woodwork with an allegation of something against them from years ago – not that it be true. The popularity of “dissing” a newly recognized, elected, or otherwise honored person with a charged incident from the past seems to be rather common in our society. Some of these so recognized are guilty, some are not, some might be somewhere in between (such as guilty of some, but not all charges, or guilty of related allegations). Take sexual harassment as an example. There is nothing in my memory that should be labeled as sexual harassment, but the business world has changed so much over my forty plus years of work experience and what was defined as “sexual harassment” years ago is now defined differently. We are much more conservative in the definition today. Therefore, something that might have been “accepted” a long time ago is no longer tolerated today. It likely is, in part, another extension of the litigious society in which we live, but a better world for all without the nonsense of innuendo or blatant abuse. There are things said to me or in meetings in the 1970s by co-workers that no one would ever say today.

In the 1990s, there was an increased awareness of the issue, which lead to many companies having sexual harassment training – that is, NOT training on HOW to sexually harass, but training on avoidance. Because of the power attributed to management, harassment in any form was more significant when coming from “above.” But, it was not just management in those training sessions. Some companies placed all employees through sessions on awareness so as to help employees or associates avoid making mistakes.

That reminds me of a session my department had on the general topic back then. While providing examples of what may be offensive remarks, the case of the lady’s “good looking sweater” came up and, while the sweater itself might be nice and all, comments could be construed as inappropriate. An associate of mine noted, then, that one could say the sweater looked good, but one had to add the disclaimer, “but not on you.” We all agreed that likely was not the best answer to the issue either, but pretty much everyone seemed to admire my associate’s creativity and sense of humor. Would that comment, even in jest, be seen as innocent today or as a general harassing-like comment? Life would be much more fun without over-studying every comment for a potential flaw – but, while that is true, we have created a society where we must take “the extra step” to eliminate appearances of and actual impropriety. Establishing the proper communications and interactions as a habit is a good move.

There are likely some true accusations made about someone from years ago we are now hearing in the media. There are likely some remembrances that are inaccurate, at least to some degree. There are likely some false accusers trying to take someone down with whom they may have some grievance or difference of opinion. As for the upsurge in real complaints, factors might include new publicity for a person accused, the hearing of similar stories about or from others awakening memories, or a new strength to speak up, having seen others step forward. While overwhelming in the number of incidences, the opportunity to get everyone thinking and talking about the right thing to do is wonderful.

Anyway, back to the Tutorial Room. The name change has occurred and we all move on with life. As one saying goes, “live long and prosper.” For others, “may the force be with you” might be preferred. And for others, “life is good” works perfectly fine.

Life is good.

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