Thursday, April 3, 2008

A college student doesn't pay attention? Walk out of class!

In a reminder that college students are viewed as children that have no rights whatsoever in life-

Instapundit links to this story at the Chronicle of Higher Ed-

The story is a Syracuse University professor's policy: If ONE student is caught texting in class-the POLICY of this instructor is to WALK OUT FOR THE DAY.

thats right-if ONE student choses not to pay attention-the other students are penalized by not getting their eduction.

So now, in addition to paying outrageous sums of tuition (which increase every year faster than inflation-virtually everywhere and every year and professor's saleries do as well) students are now also required to, for no additional renumeration, do the professor's discipline work for him-so long as they want the 'privilege' of their professor not walking out on their pre-scheduled and pre-payed for course. This task is of course impossible (requiring a success rate of 100%-or 0% texting) even for a payed teacher (which is-I gather-why this guy they refuse to do it).

Now, I'm not saying that students are buying A's with their tuition money. Nor am I saying they are buying their diplomas without doing their work-but if there is anything-anything at all, that they can be said to be contracting for when they dole out outrageous sums for tuition-its the right to be in class and learn.

To make matters worse, the teacher has tried to deflect criticism by dubiously claiming he was afraid of being sued-simply telling a student to stop texting. He even claimed he was afraid of being sued for sexual harassment for telling a female to stop.

In my mind, this amounts to a transparent attempt to say "It doesn't matter what you think because your not a lawyer, and I mentioned the word 'law.'" "I must be motivated by legal complexities you cant fathom you childish undergrads. "

Unfortunately, this argument has the ability to feed the popular, lawyer hating, notion that people are constantly winning frivolous lawsuits all the time in court.

Its also a popular method used by college administrators when they have had enough student involvement and just want to handle matters unilaterally.

Its true that the law is complex, and unfortunately its also true that people sometimes win frivolous cases. However, it is not true that I have to be a lawyer to call B.S on your argument that you might be sued for saying something to a student who is disrupting class. I don't have to be a lawyer to do that any more than I have to be a doctor to know that HIV is a deadly virus.
And by the way Mr. Professor, last I checked, your not a lawyer either. (yes, I checked your Syracuse bio-your not)

He also played the race card, trying to garner sympathy by claiming the student who texted in class was more prone to do so because the professor is a member of a minority group. This argument is even more inflammatory and problematic in my mind. It says "Don't disagree with me, because if you do, your a bad person for not being sensitive to my race."

The situation is part of a larger problem.

When I was in college at the University of Maryland, the official student code made clear that the university could suspend or expel students for any reason at any time, regardless if it didn't actually violate the rules. While the university had procedures for this, its official legal position was that it was not bound by such procedures. The university's position, apparently, was that conduct procedures rules were just used as loopholes-and it would be better to treat every case individually at the whim of a self righteous student board, which was chosen by professors who looked hard to find the most self righteous students possible.

I also remember that, in college, the alcohol policy gave written warnings and punishments-to students who were at a party in which somebody gave somebody else who was under 21 a drink-actually they did this even if they found the responsible person(s)-and of course-even if you could prove you had nothing to do with it and had no idea there was even alcohol at the party.

I remember when teachers would do similar things in elementary school too-"unless the person who stole the erasers comes forward-nobody gets recess."

Someone should really explain the concept that teachers-and not 3rd graders-are much better equipped to find the culprit.

College students are expected to behave like adults-which I agree with. But I also expect Universities to treat them as such.

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