Early this morning Pasadena City College history instructor and internet-famous male feminist Hugo Schwyzer, who has been conducting a slow-motion self-immolation all summer, interrupted his online hiatus to offer yet another admission of wrongdoing.
This one is likely the most significant yet.
In a brief middle-of-the-night blogpost, Schwyzer admitted that a pseudonymous accusation posted on Tumblr a few days ago was true, and that he has been conducting sexual relationships with students for more than five years:
“Until recently, I maintained that I had stopped having sex with students enrolled in my classes in 1998. That is not true; I started sleeping with students again in 2008, well before my psychiatric breakdown of earlier this year.
I have no intention of naming names or of discussing numbers, save to say that the allegations “Meagan” makes are true and that I did indeed have sex with more than one adult student. There is no excuse for this behavior, and I do not expect anyone to defend it.
I will convey this information to the college, and I expect this will be a factor in discussions about my future as an history instructor.
I am deeply sorry for having maintained a lie for so long, and extend my apologies to the many whom I’ve wronged, including those who fiercely defended me against charges that turned out to be true.”
As he indicates in this post, Schwyzer was nearly fired from Pasadena City College in 1998 for sexual contact with students — dozens of them, by his most recent account. He has attributed his success in keeping his job at that time to the fact that he had just been granted tenure when the allegations surfaced, and to the fact that PCC did not then have clear written policies outlawing student-teacher sex.
The charge of sleeping with his students subsequent to 1998 is one that Schwyzer has consistently and adamantly denied, even as he has acknowledged an ever-growing catalogue of improper behavior. (Only weeks ago, he admitted having written a series of private text messages in which he fantasized about having sex in a classroom while his students watched and masturbated.) But now those denials have been shown to be false.
Schwyzer says his admission that he slept with multiple students who were enrolled in his classes will likely “be a factor in discussions about my future” at Pasadena City College. But it should be more than a factor. It should be decisive.
To have sex with your students is a profound violation of your moral, ethical, and pedagogical obligations to them. At PCC, where Schwyzer teaches, it is also a direct violation of college policy.
Today’s revelations make it abundantly clear, if it wasn’t before, that there is no place for Schwyzer in the classroom. Not now. Not ever.
Schwyzer should resign from PCC immediately. If he refuses to resign, he should be fired. Period.
Update | Schwyzer expanded upon his most recent confession in a YouTube video, posted last night. In it, he said that between 2008 and “very recently” he conducted sexual relationships with three different students who were enrolled in his classes when the relationships began.
In the YouTube video Schwyzer acknowledges that his ongoing violation of PCC policies “may impact my relationship with the college,” and says he is “willing to face whatever consequences may come” on that front. But that’s a statement, it should be noted, that could mean anything or nothing. Either they’ll fire him or they won’t. If they do, either he’ll sue them or he won’t. However any of that shakes out, he’ll be facing the consequences of his actions whether he likes it or not.
What Schwyzer doesn’t say — in the video or in the blogpost — is that he intends to resign from PCC. For years now, as evidence of Schwyzer’s misbehavior has accumulated, he has consistently stonewalled and deflected for as long as he could. Only when those options were exhausted has he ever admitted error or wrongdoing. He has never, to my knowledge, chosen to resign from a feminist project or step back from a feminist space — each time he has withdrawn it has been because he was forced to, and each time he has sought to spin the withdrawal as a freely chosen gesture.
Schwyzer is a serial sexual predator. He has abused his position as a college instructor for his own sexual gratification repeatedly over a period of decades. He has no business teaching. He cannot be trusted around students. There is no legitimate path back into the classroom for him.
If Schwyzer fights to keep his teaching job, as he has always done when his actions have placed it in peril in the past, he will cause PCC needless expense, embarrassment, and distraction. He will force the students whose trust he violated to testify against him, or to lie for him. If he is successful in his attempt, he will place his new students in an untenable position.
Should he resign? Of course.
He should have resigned years ago.
Second Update | The general counsel of Schwyzer’s community college has released a statement on his confession, and it’s pretty blistering:
Yesterday Mr. Hugo Schwyzer, a faculty member of the college, released statements publicly on the internet that he has had sexual relations with his students as recently as 2011 while an instructor at the college.
Such conduct, if confirmed as true, would be a grave violation of college policy warranting termination.
The college does not in any way condone or tolerate such conduct by any faculty member. All of us in the college are outraged by Mr. Schwyzer’s statements about his conduct. The college is acting swiftly to conduct an investigation and to hold Mr. Schwyzer accountable for his actions while an employee.
It seems clear that they’re committed to firing him at this point. We’ll see if it actually happens.
Morning Update | The local Pasadena paper has a story up on yesterday’s developments, and while it mostly rehashes what was already known, it does include two new pieces of information.
First, in an interview Schwyzer gave the paper yesterday, he again confirmed the allegations made by the anonymous former student on Tumblr. (As has become a recurring pattern this summer, Schwyzer reached out to the media from a mental health facility he checked himself into after his latest internet confession.)
Second, Schwyzer gave no indication that he’s considering resigning his teaching post. Indeed, he said that he is “looking very seriously” at the possibility of filing a psychiatric disability claim, suggesting that accepting such a claim could be an “end around” for the college. Apparently he has no intention of quitting, and plans to fight back if PCC tries to fire him.
One other point: It could be a matter of selective editing or poor questioning, but although Schwyzer says in the article that he regrets the “fraud and hypocrisy” involved in his writing in opposition to age-disparate sexual relationships while he was engaged in such relationships himself, and though he describes himself as “a terrible male feminist” who “damaged the brand of male feminism,” he never addresses the specific moral or ethical implications of his repeated use of his students for sex.
September 10 Update | Schwyzer has made the terms of his attempt to extort PCC into granting him disability pay explicit, and granted an interview in which he gossiped about his sexual relationships with his students. Meanwhile, the student who outed him is getting unwelcome attention from PCC administrators, and a right-wing blog has published the names and personal information of two students who they suspect — on virtually no evidence — of having been his sexual partners. New blogpost here.