By Professor Doom
When I taught at an unaccredited legitimate school seeking accreditation, my students were adults, and acted like it. I seldom had to say “Quiet”, or otherwise instill discipline. I respect the teachers in the public schools, that must, in addition to actually teach something, also try to keep order.
When the school I taught at gained accreditation and near-simultaneously became disreputable, things changed. Students would openly read (unrelated) things on their phone during class, or even answer the phone. I even had a student call his girlfriend during class and start talking to her. Some students would stand up and start dancing, to my complete mystification. And that’s to say nothing of cheating, that if I tried to stop, would only lead to further condemnation from admin.
These sorts of disciplinary problems really shouldn’t exist at the college level: students are adult in age, and, unlike public schools, aren’t forced to remain in class. A student that wanted to read, or call his girlfriend, could simply (and quietly) walk out, rather than disrupt class. That’s what an adult, uninterested in what’s going on in the classroom, would do.
For many students, coming to class is more about making sure they get a check. Since they’re getting money, there’s no reason for a job, I suppose, and so they come to class, and make things miserable for any real students that happen to also be there.
This puts faculty in a bad position: try to kick the fake students out, and they’ll complain to admin. Admin doesn’t want to lose a single student, not even a fraudulent student making things worse for the other students, and so will come down hard on the faculty.
Faculty, in a mass e-mail: “I don’t understand. I passed out the tests, but most everyone just handed back a blank paper, and the few that did try to answer questions were hopeless. Should I fail everyone?”
--when I was at a fake (but accredited!) university, new faculty would often come in, try to teach legitimately, and face a wicked backlash. They transferred out pretty fast, usually.
Because accreditation is a fraud, bogus schools can look, on paper, just like legitimate schools. A professor that transfers in unawares usually gets a rude away. Hilarity can ensue, as long as nobody cares about what’s really going on.
A recent professor ran into this phenomenon:
"Since teaching this course, I have caught and seen cheating, been told to 'chill out,' 'get out of my space,' 'go back and teach,' [been] called a 'fucking moron' to my face, [had] one student cheat by signing in for another, one student not showing up but claiming they did, listened to many hurtful and untrue rumors about myself and others, been caught between fights between students…."
I imagine many readers would be only mildly struck by such behavior in high school, but quite shocked to see it in college. Again, it depends on the college, although, yes, I saw comparable (and often worse) behavior more than enough times at a community college.
The professor involved reacted, and quite possibly over-reacted:
"None of you, in my opinion, given the behavior in this class, deserve to pass, or graduate to become an Aggie, as you do not in any way embody the honor that the university holds graduates should have within their personal character. It is thus for these reasons why I am officially walking away from this course. I am frankly and completely disgusted. You all lack the honor and maturity to live up to the standards that Texas A&M holds, and the competence and/or desire to do the quality work necessary to pass the course just on a grade level…. I will no longer be teaching the course, and all are being awarded a failing grade."
Does the professor have the right to fail an entire class, even if he’s quite possibly being unfair? Well, yes, according to accreditation. But that’s just a piece of paper. Administration, of course, will do whatever they want:
Now, don’t get me wrong here, I personally believe the professor overreacted. Punishing all the students, when it’s quite possible only 95% of them deserved to be punished, isn’t exactly fair.
I do believe, however, that the department head, the other professors in the same field, should be making such determinations, and not hopelessly clueless administration.
Administration, of course and again, will do whatever they want:
A spokesman for the university said via email that "all accusations made by the professor about the students' behavior in class are also being investigated and disciplinary action will be taken" against students found to have behaved inappropriately. The spokesman said that one cheating allegation referenced by Horwitz has already been investigated and that a student committee cleared the student of cheating.
I’ve certainly discussed the overwhelming cheating on campus on my blog before, and how administration supports cheating (because getting rid of cheaters would cut into retention and growth, the ONLY things the rulers of higher education care about).
When a student is accused of cheating, a kangaroo court is set up, and will rule whatever way administration wants ruled…I’ve certainly seen enough imbecilic rulings that I can understand the professor having no faith in such a system (and, truth be told, nobody should trust this system). The only way a student is ever officially caught cheating is if the student outright admits to it.
However, the spokesman said that the across-the-board F grades, which were based on Horwitz's views of students' academic performance and behavior, will all be re-evaluated. "No student who passes the class academically will be failed. That is the only right thing to do," he said.
Again, administration will make the ruling here on what “passing the class academically” is. I have a serious, serious, problem with this. Already administration has set up bogus programs to award administrators bogus Ph.D.s and other awards, and my blog has covered enough scandals of administrators outright awarding degrees, while helpless faculty stand there and watch.
The gentle reader needs to take what is said above at face value: it doesn’t matter to administration if the “student” is throwing books at the professor, or otherwise behaving wildly inappropriately. As long as admin says the student performed well enough academically, it’s a-ok.
Um, I sure hope (for the legitimate students) that employers aren’t paying attention to what school this is happening at. I mean, would you want to hire someone from a school where students can behave like this and be considered qualified to enter professional work?
Next time, I’ll look at the professor’s explanation for his unfair behavior.