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Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images

A #MeToo case at the University of California at Irvine has brought into question if the movement against harassment and abuse has gone too far, the L.A. Times reports.

The big picture: Women feel more empowered than ever to speak up against powerful people and institutions as the #MeToo wave continues to roll. But the situation at UC Irvine raises concern over how to define harassment, per the Times, and "whether all offensive acts deserve equal punishment."

The details: Professor Francisco J. Ayala, 84, was removed from the university and stripped of honors after four colleagues raised complaints about his behavior.

  • Assistant Dean Benedicte Shipley, 50, said she felt "objectified and humiliated" because Ayala frequently greeted her with compliments and "hugs and a kiss on the cheek." He defended his behavior as manners of respect learned in his home country of Spain.
  • He was found to have sexually harassed Shipley and two other women by a university investigation. Per the Times, the investigators sided with the women on some instances that were denied by Ayala, and that they could not verify.

Women perceived Ayala's behavior in different ways, per the Times. One professor, Elizabeth Loftus, said she thought his check kisses were "adorable," while Shipley said the way he hugged her was "more than creepy."

The other side: Associated dean for academic affairs at Boston College, Candace Hetzner, told the Times that heavy-handed reactions could hurt the movement's progress: "We've lost perspective on what truly matters. Rape and forced sex is heinous. Saying 'why don't you sit on my lap?' is not. To the extent you don’t make distinctions … you risk getting a backlash that destroys much of what many of us have fought for."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Experts predict major boom for North American sports stadiums

Rendering of the $375 million Moody Center on the UT-Austin campus. Photo courtesy of Moody Center

Stadium and arena construction in North America will total a relatively tame $5.8 billion this year, a 12% decrease from 2021.

The big picture: What the industry lacks in construction it expects to make up for in design, with experts predicting a sports venue boom over the next half-decade, SBJ reports.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

The latest: “I can’t comment on specific pieces of intelligence. But we’ve been warning about just this kind of tactic for weeks and we’ve spoken to that publicly," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Student debt getting in the way of millennial homeownership

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Millennial homeownership is on the rise — but student loan debt is still keeping millions of members of America's largest generation from owning a home.

Why it matters: Buying a house remains the No. 1 way to build wealth in the U.S.

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