Professor Hugo Schwyzer is a dynamic man with a complicated past. The controversy he brings to his work environment draws mixed emotions from students and staff alike.Â When Schwyzer invited adult film star James Deen to speak, it caused a serious reaction from the administration, which led to Schwyzer inviting another adult film star, Jessica Drake to his class.
To some, this behavior may be considered conduct unbecoming of an educator, but if you know Schwyzer, this attention is exactly what heâ€™s searching for.
â€œIâ€™m really convinced that what Iâ€™m called to do is fight shame,â€ said Schwyzer.
When it comes to fighting shame, Schwyzer is no stranger. He admits to being addicted to drugs and alcohol, which led to having sex with a number of his students, including four on one school trip, during which he was a designated chaperone, according to the magazine, The Atlantic.
Schwyzer hit what he refers to as â€œrock bottom,â€ which triggered an attempted murder/suicide on his girlfriend and himself in 1998. Shortly after, Schwyzer decided to clean up his act.
â€œPeople are deeply troubled by my past,â€ Schwyzer said.
Fortunately for Schwyzer, this all happened after he was granted tenure, thereby eliminating the risk of termination. However, Schwyzer maintains that he has made amends to those who were negatively impacted by his past.
Today, he teaches a variety of classes within the social sciences division at PCC. His students tend to enjoy his charisma, his energy and his feminism.
â€œHe showed me that even a white man can be a feminist,â€ said Heather Wright, a former student of Schwyzerâ€™s
Wright believes Schwyzer is passionate about feminism, and she confesses that he was the one that showed her what feminism really is, and its true meaning.
However, some students remain skeptical about his behavior, years after taking a class with him.
â€œI liked how he taught history like a story, but I always felt like something was off about him,â€ said Manuel Jaimes, a former student of Schwyzerâ€™s.
â€œIâ€™m also a little bitter that he didnâ€™t bring any porn stars into my class,â€ said Jaimes, and added â€œporn is a part of history too.â€
Schwyzer was born in Santa Barbara and raised in Carmel, California.
He comes from a family of teachers and a feminist mother, who kept feminist literature around the home. Though this indicates a nurturing in feminism in his early life, Schwyzer has never been as proactive about it as he is now. He has helped organize feminist events in an effort to bring equality to society.
However, movements like â€œFeminists against Hugo Schwyzerâ€ have attempted to plague Schwyzerâ€™s life. The effects of their efforts are still unmeasured, although Schwyzer admits to being vaguely familiar with their existence.
A passionate educator with a dark past, Schwyzer believes he has found a place in society combating shame head on, and helping his students overcome shame in their lives.
â€œThe question is, whether or not [my past] is a disqualification of feminism,â€ said Schwyzer.
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