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01 February 2015 @ 06:14 am
Yik Yak  
University gives students access to an anonymous-comments app while requiring them to devote nearly three hours every Friday morning to an experimental honors course entitled “Interdisciplinary Exploration of Global Issues: The Environment: Space/Place, Purity/Danger, Hope/Activism.” Students say offensive things about the nearest target, the teachers. University is surprised.

Thanx to andrewducker
Marissa Lingenmrissa on February 1st, 2015 11:58 am (UTC)
You seem to be going with the "are you surprised that people lash out when you make them do something they don't like?" angle. But universities are voluntary. They are not part of the mandatory education system in the US. So unless the existence of requirements at this university was somehow changed drastically on these students after enrollment and fees, this is what they chose. The vast, overwhelming majority of them are adults, and truancy is no crime.

"I'm an honors student, bitch": I've heard that before. Except I heard it in person, out loud, when I dared to give one of my lab students an F on his completely inadequate lab report. He too had to fulfill requirements: he had to spend two hours in a lab on a Monday afternoon when he probably would rather have been doing something else. Is "are you surprised?" how you'd react there, too? Because you know what? I was surprised. But even when we're not surprised, we can draw a line and say, "No, this is not acceptable behavior." He was an adult who had chosen this college, who had chosen his major and the classes that followed from that choice. He had the responsibility to behave civilly if he had an argument with pedagogy--"I don't think that the way this course grades lab reports teaches anything important" is not the same as, "I'm going to get you, cunt." And you treating it as though it is is not helpful.
El Coyote Gordo: coy1supergee on February 1st, 2015 12:37 pm (UTC)
I take your point, and I don't want to excuse the students. What inspired me to post was sympathy for the teachers. I like to think that if I had to spend three hours every week in a course with a title like that,* I would be smart enough to recognize that the teachers were stuck in the system too, but I doubt that I had that kind of wisdom when I was an undergrad.
*Poor slash mark, so degraded from in its usual role as indicator of buggery between media characters.
Marissa Lingenmrissa on February 1st, 2015 01:36 pm (UTC)
You certainly did not sound sympathetic for the teachers.

You know, in grad school I had serious disagreements with the entire system. I went voluntarily, but it was not at all as I had hoped it would be. But you know what I didn't do? I didn't call my advisor--with whom I had the most serious disagreements--by gender-based epithets. She was also of a different race than I am, and I did not call her by any racial slurs. And I don't think I deserve a cookie for that. I don't think that's because I was 21 at the time and the students in these classes are 18-19 and those two years made a huge difference. I think it's because I had both been taught and learned that this is not how we treat other people.

You know who else I didn't call by gender-based or racial slurs when I seriously disagreed with her pedagogy? My fifth grade teacher. Even behind her back. Even under my breath. And that's when I was actually stuck, not in a situation of my choosing. If college students are calling their instructors by gender-based and racial slurs when they're frustrated, it's not just a maturity issue. Because my 8-year-old goddaughter is mature enough not to do that. You say you don't want to excuse the students, and then you turn around and say "I doubt that I had that kind of wisdom when I was an undergrad"--which is excusing the students.
El Coyote Gordo: eschersupergee on February 1st, 2015 02:21 pm (UTC)
I should have made my sympathies clearer. The teachers are probably adjuncts, which everyone knows is a shit deal, and they're on the point for the lousy course, and the school has set up a system that enables them to be abused by nameless assholes.
Sarcasticia Nitpickersontisiphone on February 1st, 2015 02:45 pm (UTC)
The two named in the article (Däumer and Crouch) appear to be full professors, teaching some pretty high-end classes along with this load of freshwankers.
Sarcasticia Nitpickersontisiphone on February 1st, 2015 02:42 pm (UTC)
The title makes perfect sense in a modern social sciences context, particularly anthropology and critical studies of various types. The slash indicates a pairing of parallel or dichotomous concepts (in this case, dichotomous concepts). It sounds like an interesting class, actually - one I wouldn't mind taking or teaching.
El Coyote Gordo: kleinsupergee on February 1st, 2015 04:11 pm (UTC)
De gustibus...
et in Arcadia egobooapostle_of_eris on February 3rd, 2015 04:37 pm (UTC)
Perhaps the title does make perfect sense in a modern social sciences context. Unfortunately, it is being used in a recent high school graduates context. They have not been properly indoctrinated in respect for jargon.