Newsmax – In December, a German music magazine called VAN published claims that Robert Beaser, a professor at Juilliard since 1993 and chair of its composition department from 1994 to 2018, committed non-tactile sexual harassment against female students and offered assistance with professional advancement in a quid pro quo for possible romantic relations.
Beaser’s late colleague Christopher Rouse, who died in 2019, was posthumously accused of similar conduct, and his living colleague, the composer John Corigliano, is alleged to have adopted a discriminatory policy of not working with female students.
Four days after the report appeared, a group of classical music professionals tied to an account styling itself “Composers Collective” published an open letter on Medium demanding Juilliard remove Beaser from active employment.
Despite claiming to “recognize and appreciate the need for due process,” the letter’s authors insisted that “the volume of allegations, testimony, and supporting evidence of Beaser’s misconduct are undeniably unsettling” and that “Beaser’s presence in the Juilliard composition department could jeopardize the emotional well-being of students.”
To the sensitive souls behind the letter, “allowing the alleged perpetrator to remain in a position of power and authority risks not only a daily affront to survivors of abuse, harassment, and discrimination; it is also a potential endorsement of immoral, unethical, and bigoted behavior.”
It would appear their understanding of “due process” does not encompass a principle as basic as presumption of innocence, a bedrock of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence that reformed Title IX rules issued in 2020 explicitly require.
Nevertheless, within hours 120 people described as “composers, musicians, educators, leaders, and allies” signed the letter. By the end of the day, Beaser was gone, having voluntarily agreed to go on administrative leave while Juilliard completes its own investigation of the allegations presented by VAN.
Within three days, the number of signatories swelled to over 500. Regardless of what Juilliard’s inquisitors determine, his institutional career is probably over.
Beaser’s disgrace is similar to thousands of other #MeToo-era cases in which male educators and students have lost jobs, careers, and reputations as a result of accusations that are rarely proved.
Hundreds of respondents in Title IX cases have sued, most successfully.
University bureaucrats charged with enforcing the rules now report stress, ostracism, loneliness, burnout, and serious emotional or psychological problems. Many harbor demonstrable biases that expose them to litigation.
Beaser’s case, however, offers an ugly new twist: a deliberate attempt to dragoon mass participation to condemn the offender publicly as an enemy of the people.
Beaser’s accusers may have made their case to a low-end German music magazine, but it was his rapid public condemnation by hundreds of colleagues outside the situation that sealed his likely fate.
Significantly, many of those who signed the letter demanding Beaser’s removal were men. This factored into the thinking of composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, one of the letter’s authors and organizers, who reached out to male colleagues to solicit support specifically because of their gender.
“It’s one of the very first times — maybe the first time in the history of our composition community,” Snider crowed to The Washington Post, “that men and women and people of all genders [sic] have come together to stand up and protect one another.”
Including men in the ritual denunciation of another man, in other words, adds weight to destroying the accused while also safeguarding the female signatories from allegations of gender bias and attendant hysteria.
A man put on the spot in this way may well sign whatever he is told to sign just to avoid the perception that he is unenlightened by woke ideology. He may also reason that denouncing a fellow man as a gesture of “allyship” with women may win enough woke brownie points to protect him from being similarly accused or punished at a later time.
Doing so in the absence of evidence or due process, moreover, serves to prove that he privileges zeal and ideology over fairness and logic, making him look even more committed to a cause whose ultimate goal is to control him and everyone else.
Like the communists of the last century, their ideological heirs know all too well that mass complicity disguises and absolves their guilt.
Snider did not study at Juilliard and has no other connection to the school. Until she helped organize Beaser’s professional ruin, she was an obscure middle-aged composer with a mediocre career.
Within a week of posting the letter, however, she became an arbiter of professional standards of conduct for her entire industry, with authority enshrined for ideological reasons rather than talent, merit, or vision.
If there is a silver lining to Snider’s arrogation of authority over her more accomplished male colleagues, it may well be that she will stand out as someone conformist nobodies flock to while truly free and creative artists keep their distance and preserve their independence.
As Soviet dissidents once looked to Pasternak and Vysotsky, we can valorize the free thinkers, secure in the knowledge that art will continue outside of oppressive, politically-correct officialdom. The party, however, is still in power.