Friday, February 04, 2005

"Diversity..." explained

This is the follow up to yesterday's post...sort of.

Freshman year of college, I had to take a useless class. All freshman who had an AP (or equivalent) English class their Senior year of high school had to take it. It was about the proper way to write research papers, persuasion essays, document our research (things we all learned in our AP English classes a year previously). Many of us became very good friends from that class, mostly because we were all freshmen and strangers, and were united in the fact that we all hated the damn class so much!

It wasn't the waste of time (that wasn't such a big deal to us...we were freshmen, our time was spent playing air hockey and watching South Park) as much as it was the professor, a tiny, irritating 60 something woman. I am debating with myself whether or not I should mention her name. I think I'll just call her PEG.

Tenure can be a good thing. In this case it was not. It was a bad thing. A very, very bad thing.

Something PEG did a lot was assign titles to papers that were way off topic. One girl wanted to write about the diversity of cuisine available in the area (Boston). The prof gets into a mood and starts building off the word "diversity". PEG starts talking about diversity on campus or the diversity of peoples in the city of Boston or (suddenly she is struck with inspiration)

Diversity! On the T!

Thirty people tried to stifle a whole lot of laughs when that gem came out of her mouth. Only half succeeded. Seriously, the poor chick just wanted to write about seafood and kim chi.

From that day on, whenever we encountered anything on Boston Public Transportation that was out of our typical realm of experience we would look at one another and say "Diversity! On the T!" THAT is how I got the title for yesterday's post.

Damn, I'm feeling ranty now. Hold on...

The worst habit PEG had was grading down if she didn't agree with you. Not over writing, she would grade you down because she didn't agree with the point you were making. In the late 90's, there were a few public libraries that banned books like Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate, which are about children of same sex parents. I thought the banning was appalling, and wrote a paper saying so. I cited many authors and child psychologists, and well as a whole lot on the first amendmant.

PEG told me it was a B paper that got a C because of the subject matter. Not the writing quality. I actually asked her about the writing quality a few times when I met with her, because I was so baffled and thought "Okay, a C. My writing either wasn't very good, or I documented my sources wrong or..." Nope. She thought it was well written. She didn't like the "homosexual family" subject matter or my opinion on it.

Yes, that is what she said.

Yes, I realize that professors are not supposed to do that. She did it to three other people that semester, and when one guy mentioned it to another professor, he (other prof) flipped out.

Tenure. She'd been there forever, so they couldn't fire her. Although two years (and seven complaints) later PEG was "encouraged to retire".

Man, seven and a half years later and it still makes me mad.

That's your College Anecdote for the day, guys!

Maybe next time I'll tell you about the Theft of The Talking Bush or the Mysterious Floating T-Shirt.


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