A Nevada woman is suing her college, alleging that a human sexuality course in which students were required to masturbate, keep personal sex journals for class discussion and share explicit details of their sexual histories constituted sexual harassment.
ABC News reports that 60-year-old Karen Royce, a student at Western Nevada College in Carson City, filed a lawsuit in a Nevada federal court on June 25 against instructor Tom Kubistant, department chairman Robert Morin and college president Carol Lucey after the school officials dismissed her complaints about the "invasive" course.
In Kubistant's human sexuality class, students were required to sign a waiver stating they understood the course contained graphic content. But Royce, who said she enrolled in the course to gain "knowledge as to psychological theories of human sexuality" to aid in her social work career, was unprepared for what she encountered on the first day of class.
Kubistant locked the classroom door-- to keep late arrivals out, he said-- and then told students he would "increase their sexual urges to such a height that they won't be able to think about anything other than sex," Royce's lawsuit alleges.
He then instructed students to draw up lists about various sexual acts and positions, which he read back to the class before assigning three 250-word journal entries about their personal sexual thoughts.
Kubistant also told them about a final exam term paper titled "A Sexual Case Study-- You!" Students were forced to give detailed accounts of their sexual histories, including how they lost their virginity, if they cheated, how they became aroused, their orgasms, fetishes and if they'd ever been sexually abused.
"Not only was [Royce] shocked by the assignments [and] the personal inquiries, but she herself had been a victim of sexual abuse," Ken McKenna, Royce's attorney, told ABC News.
"How the authorities for this college could allow this man to conduct his class in this fashion... is so outrageous it's beyond belief," he added.
Royce voiced her concerns to Kubistant but claimed he did not care. She then went to college officials and told them she believed the assignments constituted sexual harassment. Authorities then reviewed the course syllabus and assignments but concluded there was "no evidence to support [Royce'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," Anne Hansen, a college spokeswoman, told ABC News.
Royce then appealed to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, which ended up siding with the college and informed her that it would not pursue her allegations any further. She then filed the federal lawsuit.
The student, who dropped the offensive course after four class sessions, says she wants Kubistant fired.
"I think he needs to be terminated. He has crossed so many ethical, legal and moral boundaries," she told ABC News. "My mind immediately went to the question is he grooming these 17-, 18-, 19-year-olds so he can have further contact with them outside the school environment? His behavior borders on perversion."
While Royce may have considered Kubistant's human sexuality course to be shocking, there are far more explicit classes taught at other colleges around the country. In one example that made national headlines last March, around 100 psychology students at Northwestern University in Chicago witnessed a live, on-campus "educational" demonstration in which a woman was brought to orgasm with a dildo-tipped power saw.