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Sexual identity course leads to harassment lawsuit

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A human sexuality course taught at Western Nevada College has taken its intimate assessment methods too far for one Karen Royce, 60, who took legal action against class instructor Tom Kubistant on 25th June for sexual harassment.

Royce enrolled on the course last year in the hopes of fulfilling her goal of a career in social work. According to the lawsuit, the senior student was under the impression that she would be taught about the psychological and societal factors of human sexuality, which she deemed ‘pertinent and necessary in excelling as a social worker’.

Instead, the lawsuit states that in the first class, after a waiver had been signed underlining the sexual content of the course, Kubistant informed his students that he would "increase their sexual urges to such a height that they won't be able to think about anything other than sex". This is in spite of the fact that some students were as young as seventeen and taking the course for college credit.

The methods of assessment for students included listing sexual positions and recording personal experiences of masturbation in a journal to be submitted to Kubistant, doubling the number of times they would masturbate each week.

Royce claimed: "I raised my hand and said, "I don't masturbate". He said I had to do it at least three times in order to get a grade in the class."

The student’s concerns grew when the final exam paper was disclosed, entitled ‘A Sexual Case Study… You!’. As a victim of sexual abuse, Royce was uncomfortable with the requirement to record her sexual history, from abuse and loss of virginity to experience of orgasm and fetishes.

Royce’s attorney, Ken McKenna, commented on this method of evaluation: "How the authorities for this college could allow this man to conduct his class in this fashion and, in effect, say “that's okay with us” is so outrageous it's beyond belief."

After informing the college of her dissatisfaction, an investigator was brought in to examine the course structure.

Anne Hansen, spokeswoman for Western Nevada College, stated: "The investigator found no evidence to support the student's complaint of sexual harassment. In fact, the investigator found that the instructor was considered to be an excellent and caring professor, who, with the exception of that one student, appeared to be universally admired by other students who had taken the course."

In the light of this outcome, Royce has made the decision to take legal action against Kubistant for sexual harassment through the U.S. District Court of Nevada. McKenna states that in the short term, their hope is that this will result in the termination of Kubistant from his role in the college.




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