UC Berkeley Professor Apologizes for 'Misogynist' Comment on Dating in the Bay Area

A University of California Berkeley professor has come under fire for alleged “misogyny” after commenting on the quality of women in different parts of the state.

An off-topic discussion that took place on an online educational forum sparked controversy when computer science professor Jonathan Shewchuk responded to a student who asked him about dating in the area.

“If you want a girlfriend, get out of the Bay Area,” Shewchuk said on an EdStem message board, according to Berkeley’s student newspaper, the Daily Cal

He continued on to say that “Almost everywhere else on the planet is better for that. I’m not kidding at all.”

“You’ll be shocked by the stark differences in behavior of women in places where women are plentiful versus their behavior within artillery distance of San Jose and San Francisco,” the professor added.

Shewchuk was later forced to apologize after his comments were poorly received by students and faculty.

“We want to be absolutely clear that the offensive content of the original post goes against the values and Principles of Community we adhere to at UC Berkeley,” university spokesperson Roqua Montez told the publication. “The comment was hurtful and threatening to students – particularly women – in his class and beyond.”

Computer science student Rebecca Dang said, “It just made me feel very objectified and uncomfortable because it was basically the implication that women in CS are just there to be potential dates.”

Shewchuk’s teaching assistant, Lydia Ignatova, wrote in a follow-up post on Edstem that she was “appalled” by the professor’s comments, implying they furthered misogynistic discrimination in the field.

Shaadi Ahmadzadeh, a junior who planned to enroll in Shewchuk’s class next year, said she is no longer interested in having him as an instructor due to him being “so blatantly misogynistic.”  

The offending professor later wrote an apology message on the same forum, claiming he did not mean to “convey any disrespect for women.”

“I apologize for my reply … which has caused bad feelings I did not intend,” Shewchuk wrote in a post that was screenshotted and posted to Reddit. “I did not mean to convey any disrespect for women, or anybody else, nor to blame the blameless. I value all of my students. I am sorry for my words and for how it made many of you feel.”

“I hope you’ll understand that my comment was motivated by sympathy [for the student] and a desire to help students,” he continued. “Life is hard sometimes. I feel for all of you who are having a rough time, for whatever reason. Things can get better, and it starts with empathy for each other.” 


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