Wednesday, February 24, 2016

In which Bella has Evil Thoughts

​Evil-Inducing Eveline came to me in a rage. Her Evil Professor from last semester failed her! And she was DIFFICULT to deal with! It was an OUTRAGE!
"Hmmmmmm," I said. "Tell me more about this."

Well, said Eveline. Evil Professor posted the homework on Blackboard and sent class announcements and reminders about homework and tests on Blackboard and through the students' college e-mail accounts. And Eveline could not access Blackboard OR her college e-mail!!! So she could not get the homework done!

"Let me see the class syllabus," I said. I looked the syllabus over. "Eveline, it says right here that you have to check Blackboard for the homework, and that class announcements would be sent out via the college email system." But I TOLD her I couldn't---and I have an ANXIETY disorder! Eveline was mad! And she said that since her professor replied to personal e-mails, she KNEW her personal e-mail address, so there was no excuse!

I admit---I had cheated. Eveline had sent me an hysterical e-mail, and I had already asked the professor for the full run down. I cut to the chase. "Eveline----your homework troubles did not cause you to fail. Your professor graded all your homework at the end of the semester.....when you finally turned it in. Your final homework grade was a B." Eveline was not happy about this because the homework problems contributed to the fact that Eveline had failed each and every test! Each and every one. But she had an ANXIETY disorder---and the email and homework problems were causing her ANXIETY which caused her to fail the tests. "I understand you did not show up for the final," I said. Yes! I didn't! Because Evil Professor posted when it was on Blackboard---and she didn't know how to get in to Blackboard!!! Eveline was using her best "are you stupid" tone of voice.

Eveline is not a student of Inner City Community College. She came to us for this one course because she needs it to enter a graduate program at nearby Expensive Inner City SLAC. I have no idea how she managed to get a Bachelor's from Mediocre State U without acquiring basic e-mail and online classroom skills, but she did.

Eveline, with her condescending tone and implications of my and Evil Professor's stupidity (and Evil Professor is, if not exactly a friend, someone I am crazy about, in a professional sense), was getting on my last nerve.

"Eveline, your professor has said she will allow you to retake the midterm and the final exam." This is an outrageous concession, I know. But this professor feels that if Eveline can pass the tests now, she will be satisfied, and who am I to judge?

But but but----my application has to be sent in THIS WEEK! I will retake the tests---but can you erase the F from my transcript? "No, I can't do that, but I can send them an e-mail telling them the grade is subject to a dispute which should be settled by the end of March." Eveline was not happy with this, but since it was the best I could do, she accepted my offer.

A day later, she sent me the email address of the admission officer for the program to which she was applying.

She also sent one of the rudest e-mails I have ever received, addressed to me and Evil Professor. Not only was it rude---but it was filled with misspellings and grammar mistakes. Eveline was reminding us that we had to arrange for her make up tests via her personal e-mail. She used seven asterisks next to that reminder, and put a seven asterisk ps at the end of the e-mail, telling us that an asterisk meant that we needed to read and pay attention to what was next to it.

This is where I thought my evil thoughts. I wonder, I thought, if I can forward this e-mail to the admissions officer.....

Wouldn't I simply be doing what Eveline wanted, giving the officer information on when the grade dispute would be settled? I could copy him on the reply to the e-mail, with the dates of the make up tests, and just leave the history with Eveline's evil and extremely poorly written email there to be beheld.

In the end, I did not forward the email. My heart was telling me it was a mean thing to do. But part of me still thinks Evil Eveline would have deserved it!


  1. If I were you, I would have forwarded the email. It would have been a big favor to the faculty and staff in the program she was applying to, saving them from having to deal with such a ridiculous person.

  2. I thought this exact thing, Mathy---that the SLAC would appreciate knowing what they might be getting into.

    But it is more than just me thinking it would be mean. My professional spidey sense, if you will, does not like the idea. Even while the justifications play through my head, it seems like an invasion of privacy to forward an e-mail to people for whom it was not intended. I could still do it----but I know I won't, even though the folks at the SLAC would probably appreciate it.

  3. Why assume that she will pass the midterm and final? Sometimes these things take care of themselves.

    1. True that. I had her agree in writing that this would settle her grade dispute. ; )

  4. Agreed with all comments and the OP.

    Emails can be considered copyrighted, and they carry the expectation of privacy. Forwarding them to third parties without author consent can put you at risk.

    Of course, emails get forwarded to 3rd parties all the time. So I never send anything through my work email that I would not be comfortable with anybody else reading.

  5. I have to believe justice will be served either way. Update please!

  6. Probably a wise decision, but I definitely understand the temptation.

    Maybe you could include your phone number in a more neutral email -- you know, just in case the recipient wants to confirm the details of the situation with you directly? That's not an uncommon thing to do in a recommendation letter, but a savvy admissions officer might just follow up. Even then, you couldn't say much, but there are ways to not say much that speak volumes.

    It may be that further treatment for her mental health problems (which seem to go somewhat beyond anxiety) will allow Eveline to become a more capable/responsible student who can take full advantage of grad school (and learn to communicate more effectively with professors, peers, eventual bosses, etc.) It doesn't, however, sound like she's at that point yet, so if the need to fulfill this requirement ends up delaying her entry into the program by a semester or three, that might not be a bad thing in the long run.