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Regarding Rod Raymond

Rod Raymond is a fitness instructor at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He was investigated by UMD administrators this past summer and reprimanded for sexually harassing students. The issue became the hot topic in town last week when the Duluth News Tribune reported on it.

A post was made on this Web site last week regarding the issue, and a lot of people weighed in with comments. The person who made the post ultimately grew uncomfortable with it and decided to change the post and remove all the comments, except one.

Since then, PDD administrators have opted to not approve two other posts about the issue — one that didn’t seem to make any sense, and another that was purely mean spirited. A third post was automatically published, but was later removed because it was considered to be in poor taste.

This is a sensitive issue, but it’s also an important one. It is not the intention of PDD’s administrators to shut down all commentary about this. On the contrary, we encourage you to add your comments to this post. If you feel Mr. Raymond’s punishment was too light or that he was unfairly judged, by all means say so.

Just keep it productive, please. Don’t go all batshit loonball.

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74 Comment(s)

  1. dlhmn | Oct 25, 2009 | New Comment
  2. Please -- in explicit terms -- explain who would be acceptable to subject to greater (or cruel, or inappropriate, or “isn’t that the guy who owns…”, or whatever) scrutiny.

    Honking house morons?

    Rod Raymond?


    I get. It’s understood. You people pick sides… but come on.

    “Just keep it productive, please. Don’t go all batshit loonball.” Or keep getting your posts redacted or removed.

    Just tell us that this guy is untouchable and then we can all move on.(‘Cause that’s what you’re tellin’ us.)

    Seriously. Is PDD saying “Poor Rod Raymond?” Is that something you want?

    Some Sort of Standard | Oct 25, 2009 | New Comment
  3. Paul has a good point. It doesn’t hold well to throw people to the fire. My post was in bad taste and/or didn’t make sense, so I apologize. You shouldn’t smear a single person too vehemently and think it might be clever. That doesn’t let the person off the hook, though. This is Perfect Duluth Day, not Mean Duluth Day. But, I did put it under “bitching.”

    huitz | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  4. Many of the batshit loonball comments on the DNT comments section bash someone they have never met and are calling for a boycott of the Burritto Union and the Brewhouse. A boycott of these business will only hurt their employees and deny yourself some truly fine beer.

    I would sit down at either place with Rod and drink a pint with him to hear his side of the story.

    There has been much DNT bashing on PDD lately for a variety of reasons. In an apparent passsive-aggressive manner the DNT posted this today: “New vision guides revival of Duluth’s Old City Hall.”

    I suspect they did so to backpedal after posting an internal UMD personnel matter on the front page of their paper and website and to allow the batshit loonballs to continue their rage in the comment section for another day.

    Swan | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  5. …many a comment bashing a man they’ve probably never met, and in turn bashing the few who’ve spoken in his defense…

    …my hope is that if any of those people have any friends at all, they come to his side when their hour of need is at hand, guilty or no.

    zra | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  6. I implore those people at the top of PDD to approach Rod and have him comment on PDD. I think that is what is truly needed here to quell the conversation (because there isn’t one).

    I ask everyone to be respectful to their teachers, students, peers and their news sources.

    mevdev | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  7. I repeat…respect the cock.

    Danny G | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  8. For what it’s worth, here is Rod Raymond’s statement regarding the matter, via the DNT.

    And for that matter, if you haven’t read it, here is UMD’s full report regarding the incidents, also via the DNT. [warning: PDF file]

    Barrett Chase | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  9. In response to Some Sort of Standard’s comment:

    This is far from the first time comments or posts have been removed from PDD because of their content. It’s not just to protect Rod Raymond. Comments regarding the Honking House have also been removed, among numerous other things. That’s how we keep things moderately civil around here.

    I think this is the first time we’ve felt the need to create a post about removing a post, however. It seemed to us like discussion of the Rod Raymond situation needs to happen, but it shouldn’t be led by a slanderous post.

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  10. Just noticing … It appears that on today’s curiously timed piece in the DNT has comments closed on it.

    I say curiously timed because I believe they bought that building about 5 years ago. Funny this would be the week they do a story on it, out of the 200 or so other weeks they could’ve chosen.

    wildgoose | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  11. I’m guessing that story was planned out several weeks ago. So, they couldn’t really decide to not publish it.

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  12. If that’s true then is it odd that they wouldn’t even mention the other two stories they did on Rod?

    wildgoose | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  13. Yeah, that did seem odd.

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  14. The way I see it, the DNT is in a no-win situation here. A story like today’s on Old City Hall was likely assigned and scheduled weeks ago, and not running it would have left a big hole on a Monday, notoriously a “thin” news day as it is. If they didn’t run it and the public somehow found out, what would the reaction be--negative for the DNT, if nothing else. The timing of both stories running the same week is good for no one: makes the DNT look bad (“Gosh, now their supporting the business efforts of someone accused sexual harassment ?”) and acts as a reminder of UMD’s and Mr. Raymond’s current issue, not welcome publicity for either of those parties.

    I noticed that the DNT is being slammed for this “personal attack” on a “UMD personnel issue.” If Mr. Raymond were simply a mild-mannered UMD instructor and this was truly an isolated incident, then it would have been highly questionable as a newsworthy item. But I imagine Mr. Raymond’s activities in the community and elsewhere (besides a trainer, educator, and businessman, he is also a professional speaker and event promoter) make him a “public figure” in the eyes of the DNT newsroom (heck, any newsroom). That, combined with the nature of the accusations and the evidence in the UMD report of a pattern of similar behavior and a recommendation to fire an instructor that wasn’t followed up on by UMD administrators does justify this as a legitimate news story, no matter which side of the story you believe. The DNT’s newsroom would have been criticized if it had not run the stories it has on this issue.

    To me, the “comments” section of the DNT is the culprit, not the reporters. Most often the comments only serve to add fuel to fire as every coward who hasn’t the stones to sign his or her actual name to a letter to the editor can anonymously spout their uneducated opinions and unsubstantiated claims (in both directions), which typically are little more than name calling.

    And I commend Paul and Barrett for trying to keep any discussion of this very uncomfortable topic civil. We don’t have to lower ourselves to the level of those commenting on the DNT.

    Tony D. | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  15. Two things my Momma taught me, “Always respect women” and “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.

    So in trying to do both all I have to say is, … …….. .. . ….. .. ….! .. .. ….. ….. .. … ……. .. … ………!

    deafyet | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  16. Deafyet:

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Tony D. | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  17. I was going to refrain from posting, but I can’t. The story was a sort of post that doesn’t belong here. I predicted how it would go -- the original PDD posting and comments showed poor taste (in support of or not in support) and reminded me of why I stopped reading the DNT posts -- no substance or importance in comments.

    Guy, charges, decision, consequence, live on.

    If we were more accountable to ourselves then the rest of us wouldn’t have to waste all this time explaining, supporting, or persecuting every event in others’ lives. Save that for the dinner table at your own home because I don’t care.

    heysme | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  18. Apparently the DNT just noticed that their online comments are problematic:

    Interesting how it’s a total cop-out on taking responsibility for publishing those comments. “We have safeguards…. we don’t know how these got through… a big mystery…”

    Of course, seemingly everyone else has known about the DNT comment issue for months. For example:

    dlhmn | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  19. Does anyone know yet why the DNT article from Sunday was removed?

    Jessica | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  20. It hasn’t been removed, its just hiding -- sorta

    jay | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  21. Without Tim and Rod, Eric would be in charge of Duluth and implode.

    rex | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  22. How different would this discussion be if it were about (for instance) Dennis Fink instead of Rod? Aren’t their behaviors pretty much the same?

    maria | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  23. I guess a more accurate question would be, “why doesn’t it show up in the DNT’s search results,” then.

    Jessica | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  24. Here’s another story about UMD.

    Suspect Device | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  25. Maria asks a good question. Obviously Rod Raymond and Dennis Fink are two different people and the circumstances surrounding the sexual harassment complaints against them are different, however, Maria isn’t far off in suggesting these cases are “pretty much” the same.

    I don’t think there was ever a post about Dennis Fink or Steve Raukar on PDD. If there was, I’ve forgotten it.

    It’s weird that Rod Raymond is taking a bigger beating than Dennis Fink and Steve Raukar. Of course, Rod has a big personality that’s hard to ignore, and no one really seems to care much about county commissioners.

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  26. First, I think a lot of people are quick to defend Rod owing to their positive perception of him as a person, as a businessman and as an instructor. I have no qualms with that, but I haven’t heard anyone defending him deny the allegations nor suggest that the disciplinary measures taken by UMD were adequate to protect Rod’s students and colleagues.

    Second, comments that were not in poor taste and were not slanderous were removed and I think that is inappropriate.

    Third, as Maria noted, there seems to be a double standard when it comes to individuals PDD regulars like as opposed to those they don’t like. Comments on previous posts have slandered numerous individuals, both public figures and participants in PDD’s discussions alike.

    Fourth, neither the DNT article nor any of the commentators on PDD have called for UMD to issue an explanation of the disciplinary measures taken, why they are appropriate and why they did not follow the recommendation that Rod’s employment be terminated. I think such an explanation would vastly improve the constructiveness of the debate here and elsewhere.

    I don’t know anything about Rod so I’m certainly not going to comment on his character or the veracity of the claims made against him. It is certainly possible that he thought his conduct was appropriate and didn’t realize that it was inappropriate until complaints were made, but a previous investigation years prior makes that claim much more difficult to sustain in this case. Dr. Petersen-Perlman certainly seems to have a point in stating that Rod’s response to the allegations made skirted around his actions and instead attempted to place blame on those who complained or acted as witnesses in the process. Unless someone can explain to me how offering the responses “this is an allegation” and she “rejected my need to move in on some energy” as a rebuttal to specific allegations, I have a hard time understanding why Rod deserves to be defended for his actions. He may, in general be a nice guy/businessman/athlete but what does that have to do with providing a hospitable academic and work environment for his students and colleagues?

    @ndy | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  27. Paul: Dennis Fink has been discussed in at least a couple posts on PDD. Here is one that was specifically about him. Also, I don’t remember Dennis Fink taking a bigger beating than Rod has (thus far).

    @ndy | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  28. @ndy wrote: “Comments that were not in poor taste and were not slanderous were removed and I think that is inappropriate.”

    Assuming this is in reference to the post made last week, I should note that the PDD user who made the post removed the comments to it. That was not a PDD administrative decision.

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  29. And thanks for the link, @ndy. I forgot about that one.

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  30. Umm … as nearly always, I agree with @ndy that it is a good comparison/parallel. But people have talked about Fink. He is my commissioner and I see him at stuff and can barely stand to look at the guy, let alone shake his hand. So it has been discussed here and elsewhere.

    Also, punctuating that point, there is a group calling themselves “We Are Watching” that, well, watches the St. Louis County Board. In part, I think this was a response to the outcry over Dennis Fink’s bizarre behavior and sexual harassment allegations. Here’s something:


    Rod Raymond is no sacred cow to me, but I think there are some lurkers and regulars here who might think he is getting special treatment on PDD because of long long long time personal and business and creative relationships with PDD management and glitterati. I’ve wondered about it myself. But at this time I am giving you all the benefit of the doubt as I do appreciate the effort to limit the “Bat**it Loonball” level of discourse above what we have seen at the DNT site. And the effort seems to be working.


    At some point I think it would be great to talk about sexual harassment, and creepy, gross, sexual harassment behavior in our community, including at our local colleges and offices and bars, clubs and restaurants. And … apparently it persists just about everywhere, even though the MAD MEN 1960s are long gone, some of those attitudes and behaviors are lingering and it really stinks.

    wildgoose | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  31. I’ve never met Rod Raymond, though we have mutual friends. But I do know Deborah Petersen-Perlman very well, she’s the one who wrote the report advising UMD to cut him loose. She’s a pretty sensible person, and I can’t see her exaggerating the problem of his sexually harassing women if she’s hearing about it from young women. And yeah, someday, some woman is going to sue UMD b/c he’s got a pattern of inappropriate behavior and they’re looking the other way. He sounds like he basically disrespects women, and I really hope he gets some counseling before he and UMD get slapped with a lawsuit. This kind of behavior is just inappropriate and should not be tolerated. And, yeah, Maria is right, Dennis Fink is just as bad, and I hope he gets voted out next election. I’d rather not have someone who treats women so disrespectfully representing me.

    Calk | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  32. I haven’t read the report, but I have read the most inflammatory excerpts. I will say this, however, as a teacher: everyone in these positions of power knows, or ought to know, that it is incumbent upon us to go overboard to make our students feel comfortable and to avoid all *appearance*--not just the action--of impropriety. This means not trying to date our students, even if they are adults. This means avoiding being alone with them if at all possible. And it means, in any case where there is already an uncomfortable degree of physicality (like, say, being a gynecologist with his head between your knees), that the professional MUST go above and beyond to de-sexualize the situation.

    If this obviously painful exposure does anything at all, it should serve to remind RR and any other professional instructor that it is ON THEM to create a work environment that is free from The Weirdness that comes with too free an expression of sexuality. It can be innocent. Or not. The thing is--that’s irrelevant. The professional in this sort of position has the responsibility to remove and keep out the awkwardness of unprofessional commentary and behavior. There will always be sensitive students, people who are afraid to speak up when you do something that gets under their skin. But it is Your Responsibility as an instructor to govern your behavior carefully, as if all students deserve the care you would give the person you might dismiss as “ultra-sensitive” … or who “just doesn’t get me.”

    hbh1 | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment

    If Rod made a public statement offering sincere regret for his many inappropriate actions, and saying that he will seek professional help to deal with his sexual/power/social issues, he may gain some respect back from the community.

    Unfortunately, Rod’s substantial ego may not allow such a course of events to occur. He doesn’t even seem to be able to admit that he ever did anything inappropriate…to anyone…ever.

    Rod has been doing these things a very long time -- it is/was hardly a secret among anyone who’s spent any amount of time around him. It was only a matter of time before this stuff to chased him back down. He brought this upon himself…and he continues to be responsible for how it plays out.

    The sad thing: Rod may sincerely not understand that his actions are wrong/gross/slimy/inappropriate. This actually seems like a likely scenario -- it is hardly uncommon for the human brain to develop in a way that cannot determine certain kinds of “right” from certain kinds of “wrong”. A personality can develop to believe it “deserves what it desires”. There is not much that can change this inherent belief.

    vicarious | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  34. I’m one of the many who knows Rod. I have seen him do and say things a lot like the things he is accused of. A lot of the people who know him and are defending him are not in his target group, i.e. early 20s and cute.

    These are very serious charges and very disturbing for many reasons. I empathize with those young women and applaud them for speaking out, which is not an easy thing to do when you feel victimized.

    I don’t think that boycotting his businesses are the answer to this, but I do think he needs to know that this community doesn’t take sexual harassment lightly. This man needs to learn that his comments and actions are often inappropriate and that, especially as a person with much to lose, he needs to rein it in.

    The worst thing people have said about this case (at least on the DNT comments) is that sexual harassment is no big deal and/or that these young women should have stood up for themselves, etc. In the end, this report is not about the cult of personality that is Rod Raymond, but about the many young women that were harassed.

    H!N! | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  35. oh, geez, sorry to post again, but I just read this editorial from a victim’s advocate at PAVSA, and it’s excellent.

    H!N! | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  36. I too, am one of few that have had personal one on one interactions with rod at umd and have witnessed some of these ‘allegations’ as he calls them, firsthand. It is upsetting to me as a female student in my 20s, who enjoys working out and being a part of the UMD rsop facility, that Rod is not being removed from his position. I worry about those who will have to interact with him in the future and experience this harassment (that is definitely happening), I also worry about our safety and security as students if UMD doesn’t stay strong on its policies, i.e. sexual harassment.

    Student | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  37. As usual, hbh1 totally nails it. Exactly, he is the authority figure, he is the one responsible for setting the tone of interactions between him and these students.

    Calk | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  38. If people like ‘Student’ remain anonymous, how do they ever expect anything to change? If they want him to get fired, they need to come forward. I understand that it’s a big step and will affect them the rest of their lives, but just one of them will be worth more than a hundred who don’t go public about it.

    kokesie | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  39. I’m only getting into this discussion because I saw this same thing happen when I lived in Minneapolis. You don’t even want to know what that guy did. Unfortunately that issue got swept under the rug and he’s still in business today.

    kokesie | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  40. Whoa. Rob Karwath apologizing for the comments section. Didn’t think we’d ever see the day. I guess promoting lynching is still a little too risque even for Forum.

    “I still don’t know what happened. And I’m frustrated that my initial request to take the comments down wasn’t acted upon immediately.”

    B.S. They know exactly what they’re doing in terms of moderating the comments section; otherwise it wouldn’t be such a cesspool of rabid right-wing extremism in this majority-progressive town. Certain voices always get posted, while other opinions invariably get moderated out. Karwath, parachuting in from Fargo, is a big part of the problem. At least the paper will go under completely in a year or two and we won’t have to worry about it any more.

    rediguana | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  41. I no longer have a DNT subscription nor daily frequent PDD. I may as well live in a cave. Thanks Barett’s & others for posting links. Although, I probably won’t look at them tonight. PBS has a great documentary on Hurbert Hoover right now.

    purple | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  42. Well, speaking generally, post hoc ergo propter hoc really doesn’t apply here for the guy.

    BTW, my original post was neither slander or libel in any form; just repeating what others have said. My intent by repeating those words was to make the conversation heated.

    Again, a little bad taste.

    His statement is a joke.

    huitz | Oct 26, 2009 | New Comment
  43. ahh….

    frank nichols | Oct 27, 2009 | New Comment
  44. Red Iguana, the only reason Karwath apologized for the outrageous comments on the DNT’s website is b/c the officials and students at Scholastica complained that the dumbkopfs at the DNT were putting those two Iraqi men in danger. Karwath didn’t care when outrageous comments were posted on the DNT website after the murder on the Hillside and the other murder downtown this summer. I think they have to do some better moderating of those comments or just not allow them at all.

    Calk | Oct 27, 2009 | New Comment
  45. Calk and Red start a new thread…

    rex | Oct 27, 2009 | New Comment
  46. Rod has a pretty good racket going on in Duluth. He can keep opening businesses and he’ll have more attractive and young chicks to come on to. Duluth is his oyster. And unlike UMD (or at least how it is supposed to be) there is not as much protection at these businesses to support the females. If a women doesn’t accept his advances he can simply make her life difficult at work, maybe even fire her and give her a bad recommendation.

    Susan | Oct 27, 2009 | New Comment
  47. Now we are talking about 40+ year olds that operate buisness and might prey on young employees… Good god the trail never ends, how about their artistic friends, photography, brothers, fellow musicians…

    rex | Oct 27, 2009 | New Comment
  48. Yeah that’s right Rex, it is all ridiculous. It’ll all blow over, just give it a month and everything can go back to normal.

    Emily | Oct 27, 2009 | New Comment
  49. “All go back to normal”… you mean, brushed under the rug?

    I’m not implying that the bat shit loonball connections are valid.

    I’m just sayin’, at what point do you acknowledge that a visable, generally well-liked and respected guy in the community has an issue? That needs to be addressed. No, boycotting his businesses isn’t going to change anything. And making batshit loonball correlations isn’t helping either.

    If you knew your good friend, who had lots of redeeming qualities, had some potentially serious issues that needed to be addressed, would you wait a month for it to all go away?

    really? | Oct 27, 2009 | New Comment
  50. Tim,

    But, he first has to realize that he does have a problem. I hope he does and gets help.

    Emily | Oct 27, 2009 | New Comment
  51. I think we all have to be carefull about we say or do in this day and age.

    “It is not what you do with your life but how your life affects others.”

    Winston Churchill


    Todd Gremmels | Oct 27, 2009 | New Comment
  52. There once was a Raymond named Rod
    Who chased every girl he did fancy
    Though it sucks for the lasses
    Who suffer his passes
    At least he’s not Roman Polansky.

    Dave Sorensen | Oct 28, 2009 | New Comment
  53. The iambic pentameter is off in the secound phrase but it is close.


    Todd Gremmels | Oct 28, 2009 | New Comment
  54. Whatever you do, don’t offend the aging clique that runs this site! Raymond is one of them, of course through the connection with the similarly sexually harrassing wanna-be soccer player looking guy from the Brewhouse.

    m | Oct 29, 2009 | New Comment
  55. Rod Raymond has absolutely nothing to do with this site, and is not even a friend of any of the administrators, myself included. In fact, I have never even spoken to the man, and I doubt he even knows who I am.

    You are more than free to criticize him, his actions, his words, the actions of UMD, or even his businesses. All we ask is that you keep it civil.

    PDD’s administrative decisions have much more to do with the fact this site is in a (dare I say unique?) position to serve as a place for intelligent conversation and debate about local events and issues, rather than a place to anonymously spout off halfwitted venom and cruel, middle-schoolish attempts at antagonistic snark.

    Rod Raymond is a cartoonish local celebrity, and therefore an easy target. We saw the potential for this discussion to turn into a tar-and-feather job, as well as the potential for it to become an informed conversation about the man’s actions and the controversial decisions of his employer to deal with those actions. We decided that PDD should take the high road, in this case and in future cases as well.

    So lambaste Rod Raymond all you want. But think first, and exercise some tact.

    Barrett Chase | Oct 29, 2009 | New Comment
  56. PDD is also slightly concerned about shut-down / slander lawsuits.

    adam | Oct 29, 2009 | New Comment
  57. Are you kidding me? What a crock of tripe that comment is. Dennis Fink NEVER harrassed anyone- a typical liberal dig to try and get rid of a local politician that doesn’t goose step with ASCME. On the flip side, you have someone who is legendary for his “inappropriate” behavior (instead, should I say spontaneous energy transfer?!) with women, mainly ones that are much younger. Where are all of the women’s advocacy groups mow? What, do you only go after ones that aren’t “your own”?

    jim | Oct 30, 2009 | New Comment
  58. Jim: “Dennis Fink never harassed anyone.”

    Jim, three sentences later: “What, do you only go after ones that aren’t ‘your own’?”

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 30, 2009 | New Comment
  59. I would like to know exactly who Jim is speaking to here. Specifically, which comment are you referring to when you say “what a crock of tripe that comment is,” and who exactly are you calling a “hypocrite?”

    A third question, do you think “women’s advocacy groups” are legitimate organizations, or just left-wing partisan groups playing politics?

    Your answer to that last question will tell us all a lot about who we are dealing with.

    Barrett Chase | Oct 30, 2009 | New Comment
  60. Sterling Harris of PAVSA weighed in on this matter with an excellent op ed about perpetrators — like Rod Raymond and Dennis Fink, according to the women who’ve come forward to complain about them — and their inability to understand that they are doing anything nefarious when they are sexually harassing women over whom they have authority. Sadly, if you want to read the entire op ed, you will have to pay Forum Communications $2.95. But at least you can read the first graf for free.

    Calk | Oct 30, 2009 | New Comment
  61. If anyone wants to chase…anyone in their free time, they are welcome to do so. Ask the lady at the bar if she’s single. Buy a four-dollar Schlitz for the guy next to you at the Dragon Boat races. Wink at your neighbor, try to kiss your brother’s friend in the basement, and tell the girl next to you in dance team that she has the nicest glutes you’ve ever followed in four-four time. Go crazy. But it’s inappropriate and destructive to engage in your sexual pursuits when you are in a position of authority over the target of your sexual pursuits. Here’s why, from the target’s perspective: When the person coming on to you is holding your grade, your job, and some form of measure of your self-esteem in his (usually) or her (sometimes) hand, it feels bad. Like you are deliberately answering the question your instructor is asking wrong, over and over, or blatantly refusing to do something your boss asks you to do. But sexual advances are all iterations of a few basic questions; “do you find me attractive”, or “are you as attracted to me as I am to you,” or “is there any way you’d be willing to touch my genitals…” and even in a private setting, it’s hard to soundly respond in the negative. They are intrinsically hurtful things to say. You don’t voluntarily tell your boss his breath smells like feral groundhogs or that her clothes remind you of Rhoda. You don’t tell your instructor she has a zit that looks ready to blow, or that he says his “L”s funny. Add the power dynamic, and refusing a sexual advance becomes more than a statement about the sexual appeal of the offer- it becomes a revocation of the power and authority of the person making the advance. And then there’s the shame the sexual target feels- did he/she do something to instigate this? How can he/she send the message that the genital-touching is a no-go without changing anything but the sexual behavior? It’s a terrible situation. Conveniently, it’s also illegal.

    MamaMor | Oct 30, 2009 | New Comment
  62. Simply put- comparing Rod (A public figure) to Dennis is wrong. If you knew anything about the Dennis Fink issue, you would soon realize that it was a another (one of many) feeble attempt to oust someone who doesn’t play by afscme’s rules. Zero harassment occurred. Period. Nothing more than a smear campaign. If you talk to someone on the board who isn’t in Allan Netland’s back pocket, you’ll see for yourself. Duluth has a history of filthy backroom politics, and Dennis Fink doesn’t play those games. Simply put, he’s a marked man and everyone in the know, knows.

    Mr. Raymond, on the other hand, has a reputation. I remember when I moved to Duluth in ’92 hearing stories about him. No surprises-he’s a hound, and the boundries become blurred when you have an appetite like his.

    As far as the advocacy groups, I find it ironic that the same protesters who came out like roaches at night when Dennis was flagged, are strangely silent in Rods case. If this had been someone with a different set of friends, he would have been fired, boycotted, and hung out to dry. Yeah, I know the DNT did a story. They also did a great job of allowing Rod to brush it off and talk about how it’s all good and that the Chancellor still loves him, blah blah blah.

    People who can’t keep their urges under control are bound to lose it at some point. When that is mixed with an enormous ego and presumption of power, you have a dangerous mix. I, as a father of three beautiful girls, would not want my girls to be put in a position where he was alone with them. Just my opinion…

    jim | Oct 30, 2009 | New Comment
  63. want to point out that Dennis Fink, as an elected official, is as much a public figure as Rod Raymond, no?

    um... | Oct 30, 2009 | New Comment
  64. Sorry Jim, I know a woman whose career with St. Louis County ended b/c Dennis Fink thought it was funny to sexually harass her and treat her like a piece of meat, knowing that he was safe from any reprisals. I may be wrong, but don’t the guidelines that STC has in place not apply to elected officials? These allegations against Fink have nothing to do with Alan Netland and nothing to do with AFSCME. I think what Raymond probably did, and the way he acted is pretty reprehensible. But what Fink did, as an elected official with a County employee, is just as outrageous, if not more so. And I’m glad to make my feelings known by voting against him next time he’s up for re-election.

    I think what needs to happen is to have a set of clear guidelines as to what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the workplace for all. Make sure everyone knows what the rules are. And stick to it — no matter if it’s an elected official or it’s the chancellor’s personal trainer.

    Calk | Oct 30, 2009 | New Comment
  65. I have never posted to PDD.

    I just want everyone to know that I am so sorry for this. I honestly didn’t mean to disrespect or hurt anyone.

    I know it’s way too late to say this and I know that I am powerless over this, but I truly apologized last May and we had resolve.

    When the DNT called me, I was so shocked that I foolishly reacted. Again, I didn’t mean to disrespect or hurt to anyone.

    I wish for my son’s sake, and for all of my friends that have been embarrassed by this, I could turn back the clock.

    Again, I am really sad. It ruined a Perfect Duluth Day for a lot of people.

    I truly hope you can accept my apology.

    I love this city and the people. I intend on staying and positively impacting the city the best I can.

    Sincerely and I mean sincerely,

    Rod Raymond

    rod | Oct 30, 2009 | New Comment
  66. Was that really Rod?!

    Is this the craziest thing ever on PDD?

    Why is he apologizing to PDD?

    Is he truly insane?

    For his “son’s sake”? Come on, Rod. That’s not gonna work.

    Rod, you have sexual/power/boundary/social issues. Get help. As in…counseling. Don’t keep playing this “I’m the victim” bullshit. “I am powerless”? My fucking God, Rod!!! Are you kidding me?

    It isn’t about “You and Duluth”. It’s about the young women you continually harass.

    I’m done.

    Holy Fucking Shit! | Oct 31, 2009 | New Comment
  67. To HFS:

    While Rod and I have certainly had our major differences, disagreements, and full-out arguments over the years (I have known Rod since 1987) and I do not condone, excuse, nor defend the behavior he has been accused or even found guilty of--and while his words continue to show some insensitivity--at least he had the guts to post under his own name instead of cowardly hiding behind a pseudonym while tossing out f-bombs, s-bombs, and multiple exclamation points like some overly excited pre-teen. He certainly did not have to respond to PDD nor does he owe PDD an apology, and he should have been advised against speaking publicly at all on this issue from the start, but he did. And he signed his name to it.

    If you don’t even believe in your own words enough to sign your real name to them, then keep them to yourself. If all you want to do is spew hate and call people names, well, isn’t that what the Duluth Citizens Blog and the DNT’s comments section are for? This highly sensitive topic deserves more thoughtful insight than your “contribution.”

    Tony D. | Oct 31, 2009 | New Comment
  68. In the official UMD report (linked above by Barrett Chase), two different female students independently alleged that Rod got them into his house alone under false pretenses so he could make sexual advances on them.

    1. The report says that in one case, Rod invited a married student to come to his house to go snowshoeing, but kept putting off the trip until he knew her husband was out of town. Rod answered the door shirtless, and proceeded to serenade her for 40 minutes with a guitar while she kept asking to go snowshoeing (they never did).

    2. The report says in another case, a student said Rod invited her over to his house to discuss an exciting new business venture, only to find out that he wanted to make sexual advances on her (the report says that other female students, responding to this female student’s allegations, said “That is just how he is.”).

    3. The report says that Raymond intimidated and threatened women making harassment allegations.

    There are many other allegations in the report. One might think that if the report is true, it is likely just the tip of the iceberg. The report is the result of an internal UMD investigation, in which a number of current and former UMD female students were interviewed.

    Sam | Oct 31, 2009 | New Comment
  69. I think maybe UMD should hire an independent investigator to see if these allegations hold water, and then they should go through with whatever the independent investigator recommends. It bothers me that Deborah Petersen-Perlman did an investigation and made the recommendation to cut Raymond loose, but UMD didn’t do shit, so far as I know. That really bothers me if they didn’t do anything to protect students under their care b/c Mr. Raymond is buddies with the chancellor. Sam’s right, it probably is the tip of the iceberg. And it’s not surprising that the powers-that-be at UMD would protect their own, and let students come in possible harm’s way.

    Calk | Oct 31, 2009 | New Comment
  70. Tony,

    Suffice it to say, it pissed me off. I know Rod, too, and I have to deal with him face to face all of the time. I have watched him ogle and harass my closest friends over and over and over again.

    No, he didn’t have to post to PDD. But he did…and he played the victim, which enraged me. It’s a joke.

    Should I be dropping f-bombs? Probably not. Do I have the right to protect my identity from Rod Raymond and anyone else? Yes, I absolutely do.

    Swearing Person | Oct 31, 2009 | New Comment
  71. Swearing Person:

    I understand your anger, and I doubt Rod’s response did anything to appease anyone. But if you wouldn’t say those things to Rod’s face, why would you write them here? If you care enough to be that angry, and if you see Rod face to face all the time, why not tell that face that you’re sick of dealing with the kind of crap you’ve witnessed? If you work for him and something happens to your job after you make those statements, that would be grounds for a wrongful dismissal suit, wouldn’t it?

    I guess what I’m saying is don’t let the situation make you a victim as well. I confronted Rod over the business issues we had between us, and (after a few choice words via emails--we both can be hot heads!) we discussed them in person and put an end to them. Perhaps if enough folks who have witnessed his poor behavior with women had confronted Rod regarding his behavior over the years, we wouldn’t be having this discussion…? Perhaps not?

    Tony D. | Oct 31, 2009 | New Comment
  72. Do not most of us think that it is never to late to say “I am sorry”.

    I think that one’s actions are the representive function of that apology.

    I hope that is Rod above and I hope there are more steps taken towards resolving what ever happened or will happen.

    I also think that it is hard for a person to speak thier mind when confronted by negitive behavior. Alot of people are conflictaviodent and remove themselves from negitive behavior especially when confronted by athourity figures.

    My father was one to speak his mind about what was going on in the world and never backed down from a debate. Is not the belief that you are doing the right thing enuff for all of us?
    And as long as we are not impacting someone’s life in a negitive manner doing good.


    Todd Gremmels | Oct 31, 2009 | New Comment
  73. Well,
    Despite your testimonial calk, I 100% don’t buy that Dennis Fink did the same. Yes, I believe that public officials and public personalities should be held to a higher degree of scrutiny--especially elected officials. That being said, painting Dennis Fink as a predator is a joke. He’s been in the public eye for years, never had any type of previous accusations, and suddenly, when a hotbed issue arrised at the county, accusations develop. Peg Swiney even accused Dennis of “Throwing” a book at her, which I also find hard to believe considering she doesn’t attend meetings but twice a year. Anyway, making that comparison is either incredible naiveté or a political smear job.
    Either way, Rod’s completely in a class all his own, as illustrated by his sincere explanation of not feeling the energy and ensuing apologies. This guy needs a Bris Milah from a shaky mohel…

    Jim | Nov 2, 2009 | New Comment
  74. It appears Tony D is just the tip of the iceberg………for clear concise appeasment……call him Buddha.

    TheMagisterLudi | Dec 17, 2009 | New Comment

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