A former adjunct professor is suing Westchester Community College after, she said, the school fired her after she revealed her support for Arizona’s controversial 2010 immigration law in class, among other opinions.
A lawyer for Carol Leitner, 68, describes a suffocating atmosphere of political correctness at the school in the lawsuit, saying that policies for faculty outlined in the student handbook “impose a degree of academic censorship that is unheard of at a public college.”
The lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in White Plains.
I'm not sure about the first complaint - pressing lips together tightly. Perhaps that is necessary to enunciate the sounds clearly. If she has been teaching that technique for 30 years, I can't imagine this is the first time that this has happened.ReplyDelete
The second incident involving a student's inability to speak clearly and get a job was rude but very true.
Talking about a politically controversial topic in class is not a good idea. Even if she was discussing a political speech or debate, there's no need to bring up that particular topic.
These three offenses, even if all true in the most damning way, should not constitute dismissal. She may have caused other problems that nobody documented.
"I expect you not to use any language that can be construed as abusive, belittling, humiliating, or insulting to any students in the future, intentionally or unintentionally."ReplyDelete
Wouldn't you have to be a mind reader to be able to comply with this?
Am I allowed to make fun of the person who said it by noting that his name is Wang? He (or she -- who can tell when the first name is Jianping?) is, indeed, a dick.
I dunno-- I can see how, aside from the very neutral paraphrasing in the article, any of those instances might easily have been phrased in a really borderline racist manner on the ground.ReplyDelete
One short article giving the views of one party (even if phrased neutrally) is not enough data to make a judgement. I could see this being the result of an overly sensitive administration, a professor barely containing her racism, or some combination of both. I'd like to know more.ReplyDelete
FWIW, her ranking on RMP are interesting. Numerous students say she is rude and even many of the students who liked her say she is "eccentric" and "a bit strange." I'd bet the 3 instances mentioned in the story are not the only times the administration had to deal with her classroom behavior.
Not enough detail in the article, I don't think, to make a proper evaluation.ReplyDelete
I'm going to take her RMP grades with a grain of salt. I've had students describe me as "rude" in class evaluations because I have the temerity to correct their spelling, grammar, and sentence construction when grading their essays.
"I've had students describe me as "rude" in class evaluations because I have the temerity to correct their spelling...."Delete
Fair enough, but the comments from multiple students, combined with the comments reported in the article do raise a red flag for me. It reminds me of people I've met who brag about being "politically incorrect" when in reality they're just boors.
But, as we both agreed, the article lacks enough details to make a real judgement.
Of course, there's not enough information in the article for anyone to make a judgement, and we're not on any kind of jury. However. . .ReplyDelete
If she's a speech teacher, she should realize that there are at least 500 dialects of English spoken in the US. Some of them are high prestige dialects (think JFK) and others are not. She's right when she told a student that his dialect of English might make it more difficult to get a job, but the (possible)implication that there was something intrinsically "wrong" or "bad" about the way he spoke (and I'm inferring that he spoke a non-standard African-American dialect of English)is absolutely incorrect.
As far as undocumented workers not paying taxes, that's not true, either. The main sources of tax revenue in California where I'm from (and probably everywhere else, as well) are sales tax, payroll taxes, and property tax. Undocumented workers pay sales tax. If they rent, they also pay--indirectly, but they pay--property tax. If they work, which is why they're here, they also pay payroll tax. If they don't, it's because their employer is paying them under the table, so it's the employer, not the employee, who's cheating.
Hard to tell exactly what happened, indeed. I'm assuming she was in the job for something other than money, however, given that she's been adjuncting for decades. Suing over an adjunct job strikes me as quixotic at best, but maybe it's the principle of the thing (exactly what principle, I'm not sure, or whether I'd agree with it -- I suspect maybe not -- but of course she is free to pick her own windmills at which to tilt, as well as her own reasons for tilting at them).ReplyDelete
"his dialect of English might make it more difficult to get a job, but the (possible)implication that there was something intrinsically "wrong" or "bad" about the way he spoke ... is absolutely incorrect."ReplyDelete
I recall a David Foster Wallace piece in which he describes having almost exactly this experience. Authority and American Usage, I think. My only point being that it's hard to know whether the teacher was wrong to have given offense, or the student wrong to have taken it.
"Suing over an adjunct job strikes me as quixotic at best, but maybe it's the principle of the thing (exactly what principle, I'm not sure..."
I rather suspect the principle might be "Universities are full of lefties who are mean to conservatives", which is a popular idea in some circles.
Nobody is getting fired JUST over evaluations.ReplyDelete