Friday, October 14, 2005

The Remark.

A friend of mine is a graduate student at a fancy university in England. He's teaching this term, and he puts his heart and soul into it.

He's also openly gay. His students recently took an exam. On one of his student's exams was written, "All homos should be shot. You people make me fucking sick."

My friend was noticeably shaken. "What should I do," he asked. "Why not report the little shit? Get him kicked out of the class, if not the university?" "I can't," he replied, "I mentioned it to the course lecturer and he said, 'That's what you get for being that way.'" My friend explained that the instructor told him he would not support any disciplinary action. The lecturer continued by telling him that "If you take this matter further, it will have a repercussion on your career."

It's this sort of crap that really bothers me. As students, we are beholden to faculty. They can literally make or break our careers. I feel bad for my friend. I honestly didn't know what to say to him.

14 Comments:

Blogger ACPatriot said...

Wow, that's sickening.

I think he should take the matter further, and report both the student and the lecturer.

That's just a kneejerk reaction though... I guess he should base what he does on whatever precedents exist in England for this kind of thing.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

That is horrible.

That lecturer should be supporting your friend class-room-wise no matter what his personal feelings are on homosexuality.

Is the whole university like that lecturer or would they at least be more professional and realize that students should not be allowed to disrespect someone teaching a class like that?

2:17 PM  
Blogger FreedomGirl said...

I find it sad that even at university, you still find VERY small minds. Its a shame.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Hmm can you say sexual harassment? I am sure they have strict laws in England like they do here. I really think your friend needs to take this to a higher level and not just sit back and take it.

7:26 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

I'd have him record this incident and that the talk with his supervisor. See if this is a trend this student has or if it was a bad joke or a test of your friend's resolve. Had it been me, I probably would have put some unwanted focus on him in class. It's a great case for discrimination that he could win as he was criticised by faculty but I'd gather more evidence.

It's sad that this kind of thing happens but worse yet is when another person agrees with the other party. Very interesting.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What exactly would he report hte student for? That wouldn't be a crime in this country. (No idea about the UK.) He could reprimand the student and give him no credit for the answer, but it's not sexual harassment (or wasn't until the supervisor tacitly condoned it). The students shouldn't have any idea about your friend's sexual orientation anyway. He should never bring his sex life or any evidence of it into the classroom.

12:40 AM  
Blogger Camphor said...

Lets see..
1. That's sick. People really need to learn tolerance.
2. He can't report the kid, maximum he can do is give zero credit for that answer. Opinions are opinions.
3. I'm pro-gay. But people who are should realise that if they are openly gay, someone out there WILL take a cheap shot at them. You don't need to hide your orientation, but be ready to take critism for it. That's ground reality.

1:36 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

I agree that he should start taking notes of what has happened, noting dates, who he talked to, times, comments and etc. If this continues he might need to go higher up the chain.

He is a teacher that was hired by the university to teach and he should be shown proper respect no matter what his sexual orientation is. Now, if the teacher had made a pass at me that is another story...

9:37 AM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

anonymous: Actually, most universities have laws in their charters regulating discrimination based upon sexual orientation. In that case, yes, he'd be in heaps of trouble. The same goes in England, apparently. My friend has never mentioned his sexual orientation during class. Not once. He is, however, very effeminate. That has more to do with his demeaner than his presentation style or skill.

10:04 AM  
Blogger GSR said...

Vavoom, you continue to reinforce my long held belief that "academia" is totally "f'd" up.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous PhatPharma said...

Playboy magazine this month has a brief book review about the same subject at Harvard University. The book is called Harvard's Secret Court and details the University's crusade to ferret out Harvard homosexuals.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

PhatPharma: Typical bourgois Harvard...

11:45 AM  
Blogger NWJR said...

I shouldn't be surprised that shit like this still goes on, but every time I read something like this, I AM shocked.

Guess I'm just naive.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Responsibilities of the Faculty

· maintain high professional standards in all interactions with patients, colleagues, and staff


· respect residents as individuals, without regard to gender, race, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation
· support the residents’ well being
· be intolerant of abuse or exploitation of residents
· encourage residents who experience mistreatment or who witness unprofessional behavior to report the facts immediately to appropriate faculty or staff; treat all such reports as confidential and do not tolerate reprisals or retaliations of any kind

Just a few related little nuggets from the school I attend. This is the responsibilty of the lecturer. I think the last one is pretty clear.

We are no bastion of cutting edge policies, so I feel safe in saying this is pretty standard.

8:38 AM  

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