Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The "PC" stands for "PsyCho"

Here's something I marked last month to blog about as soon as I had the time. A university teacher is planning to sue her students for writing unfavorable teacher evaluations. The teacher is Indian (ethnically; she's from New York), and believes that the students must have had racist or sexist motivations for not liking her.

At first I thought this was an example of political correctness run amok. But then I read this interview with her. I don't mean this as an insult, but apparently she is emotionally unbalanced. One of the "racist" incidents involved two students talking to each other (not to her) about someone the teacher didn't know, but had a southeast Asian name. The students were making fun of this person -- not for his name though. She suggests that by making fun of someone with such a name in close enough proximity for her to overhear it, they were slyly trying to intimidate her.

That's not even the most bizarre part. Her account of a female student "harassing" her in class when her boss (Tom Cormen, the Chairman of the school's writing program) is:

PV: One of the things that she did, this is also really interesting, was that she would always ask me how to spell things. That was her thing. She would say how to do you spell this? How to you spell that? I mean—what am I supposed to do?—so I would tell her. One time Tom Cormen was sitting in the class, and she asked me, how many T’s are in Gattaca. This was the kind of question she was asking, “how many T’s are in Gattaca?,” and I was about to answer her and Tom Cormen pre-empted me, “two t’s.” I’ll leave you to interpret it.

TDR: No. No, I don’t understand that.

PV: I have to tell you: it means tenure track.

TDR: Oh, okay.

PV: Because I wasn’t tenured track.

TDR: Oh, okay, yes.

PV: They were trying to intimate that I wasn’t ready for tenure track.

TDR: Yes, okay, I didn’t realize that’s what that meant.
Yeah, neither did anyone else, including the student and Tom Cormen.


jacob longshore said...

After Prof. Venkatesan announces she's suing some of her own students, she closes with "Have a nice day." Amazing.

She has no idea what she's saying, no clue what impression she's giving. You see that in comedy skits, but this is apparently real. Somebody needs to get her in good hands before she snaps. No sitting around here. I'm serious. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

Elliot said...

Whoah. Yeah, it sounds like she's got some psychiatric issues.