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Jewish World Review / August 5, 1998 / 13 Menachem-Av, 5758

Walter Williams

I do my job well,
so that means I can....

FOR CLOSE TO 30 YEARS, I've taught economics at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The colleges include: Los Angeles City College, California State University-Los Angeles, Philadelphia's Temple University and George Mason University for the last 18 years.

I'm an excellent professor, as manifested by teaching awards and student evaluations that put me at or near the top among my colleagues. A safe conclusion is that America's higher-education system would be immensely improved if there were more faculty like Williams.

You say: "So much for the bragging, Williams! What's the point?" Just hold your horses a bit. My grandmother used to say, "It's a poor dog that won't wag his own tail." My point is I seek readership advice.

Being a college professor is not without inherent risks and temptations. College campuses are loaded with sweet young ladies in the prime of their lives. Plus, there's always the annual shock, abating somewhat as the years go by, of the spring switch syndrome. That's when warm weather arrives, and the young ladies switch from concealing winter attire to revealing summer attire.

Like our past president, Jimmy Carter, I don't mind confessing occasional lust in my heart. However, I'm pleased to report I've never fallen victim to it. Feelings of in loco parentis persuaded me. More important persuasion has been Mrs. Williams' assurances that should I fall victim to lust, there's a good chance I'd leave this world with fewer body parts than I came in with. That assurance was made long before the Lorena Bobbitt surgical incident.

As of late, I'm doing some rethinking. It appears that times and standards have eclipsed me. Yes, you've guessed it; I'm referring to the White House sex saga. When a parent goodbye-kisses a teeny-bopper headed off to be an intern at the White House, it's not that dissimilar to the kiss goodbye when she's headed to college -- a mere four year difference. President Clinton has in loco parentis obligations just as a college professor.

Increasing evidence suggests that the president has not lived up to that obligation and succumbed to lust. Clinton defenders say: "So what if the President had sex with a 21-year-old? After all, it was consensual. Plus, he's doing a good job in his public life; his private life is nobody else's business except Mrs. Clinton's." Opinion polls show that most Americans buy that argument.

Would that same defense apply to Williams? As long as my job was done well, should I be fired if I had a consensual affair with a teeny-bopper? What if I used bribes to keep the teeny-bopper's mouth shut? I don't have enough influence to land her a job at Revlon or the United Nations, but I have an unlimited supply of A's.

The president has also been accused of some things that are just plain lowdown, but I'm wondering about the new morality. In the Paula Jones case, there's the charge of lewd exhibition; in the case Kathleen Wiley, lewd groping. The National Organization for Women defends Clinton by pointed out that when Jones and Wiley made it known his sexual advances were unwanted, he stopped.

I'm wondering whether it's NOW's position that a man gets one free workplace lewd exhibition and one grope before he's charged with sexual harassment.

Today's new-fangled standards befuddle me, but regardless of what anybody says, I'm going to stay with the old-fashioned standards. It's a matter of morality, not to mention the desire to leave this world with all that I came here with.


7/29/98: Education production

©1998, Creators Syndicate, Inc.