Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Performing "Le Sigh" Can Get You Suspended.

Dr. Jekyll: Hyde, my dear man, you know how much I dislike College Misery linking stories, but this one is just too good to let by.

Prof. Hyde: Enlighten me.

Dr. Jekyll: Let me put it in clickbait terms. The professor sighed heavily. Then THIS happened...
"A professor was suspended from a top university for nine months following accusations he 'sighed' and was sarcastic during job interviews. Thomas Docherty was banned from the University of Warwick in January for allegedly giving off "negative vibes" and undermining the authority of the former head of his department."



  1. THIS is why College Misery is so needed. Vent your spleen without getting caught. If I were sarcastic with people at work, I could suffer the same fate as this professor:

    "During the suspension, the English and Comparative Literature professor was banned from the campus and writing references for students without permission. He was also stopped from returning their work..."

    Can you imagine suffering through this punishment just for making overly cynical remarks about higher education? You'd have to stay away form your office, not see students, not return their graded work. All while collecting a paycheck...

    Hey, wait a minute. This sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

  2. I couldn't get through a day without sighing...

    ** c'est le sigh **

  3. It sounds like someone has it in for that prof. An institution that suspends an employee for something trivial like sighing is desperate to get rid of that person.

  4. >>>Thomas Docherty was banned from the University of Warwick in January for allegedly giving off "negative vibes"<< Which means that he was expected to give off positive vibes or at least neutral ones. I wonder if that's in his job description?

    1. I also work at a UK university and have been repeatedly 'chastised' for having a 'negative attitude' - a) I have clinical depression, b) you want me to do more and be more excellent with less resources, you have to take a little grumpiness along the way, I have fewer "acting chirpy" hours available than the number of hours I need to be in the office and sorry, the students are more likely to get them than my colleagues.

      It's not in my job description, but it's definitely expected; even when something happens which is completely insane and clearly damaging to the department and the students, we have to "make the best of it".

  5. On the one hand, this is very scary. The prosecution of "thought crimes" ("attitude crimes"?) has no place in a university.

    On the other hand, as Ben points out, if that was a paid leave, this sounds like a pretty good way to get a sabbatical in a climate that's otherwise hostile to sabbaticals (of course, if one has no guarantee of continuing employment, it's also a pretty good way to get an indefinitely extended unpaid leave -- i.e., fired. It sounds like Docherty has tenure, or a union contract, or something that entitled him to a degree of due process.)

    1. In the UK we have unions, and employment laws, and universities with slow processes who are a bit wary of ending up in employment tribunals (all negative publicity in these days when "building the brand" is all the rage...).

      Must be pretty tough going back to work knowing someone really disliked you that much though