Though comments made by former Santa Barbara City College instructor Mark McIntire to female colleagues were “offensive,” “intemperate,” “insulting,” and often “outrageous,” they never crossed the line of actual harassment, according to a retired judge hired by SBCC to investigate four Title IX complaints filed against McIntire in the wake of the campus’s recent #MeToo controversy. McIntire had rushed to defend the reputation of guest speaker Michael Shermer after faculty members publicly disclosed allegations of sexual assault against him.
Judge Elinor Reiner found that a number of McIntire’s email messages were “gender-based in a purposefully disparaging fashion.” He made pejorative references to female professors constituting a “sorority,” characterized some of their comments as “morning after regrets,” and used the phrase “fingering herself as the culminator.”
But while his statements were “anti-feminist,” Reiner explained, they were not “severe” or “pervasive” enough to demonstrate “actionable harassment or bullying took place” in violation of Title IX law. McIntire still breached the college’s Code of Professional Ethics, Reiner said.
McIntire, who’d been an adjunct instructor teaching a single online philosophy class at SBCC, was released from his contract last month soon after the Shermer incident erupted. He’d been with the school since 1996. College administrators declined to comment on what it described as a personnel matter, but McIntire claimed he was told in a performance evaluation that his assignments and exams were too “politically charged” and that he failed to grasp “basic philosophical concepts.” McIntire maintains the real reason he was not rehired was that he was a sole faculty voice expressing the cause of conservatives and Trump voters on campus. He’s appealing his termination and has vowed to sue the school if he’s not rehired.
McIntire didn’t dispute any of Judge Reiner’s findings in her 28-page report and declared himself fully exonerated of the “fake accusations.” “Yes, I used strong, acerbic language, but I was defending myself, and I don’t apologize for that,” he said. “When I’m bitten, I bite back.” McIntire holds little concern for violating the school’s ethics code. “Mother Teresa could easily be convicted of violating such a vague, ambiguous and toothless ‘code,’” he said.
One of McIntire’s targets, Professor Raeanne Napoleon, said she and McIntire “have drastically different understandings of the report’s findings and the definition of the word ‘exonerated.’” Napoleon, who’s faulted SBCC administrators for not doing more to protect her and her female colleagues from McIntire’s indignation, said Reiner accurately highlighted “the working conditions me and the other complainants have had to endure.” McIntire is driving a false narrative that he is a victim, Napoleon said. “He isn’t.”