One reader writes:
I was having Thanksgiving dinner with a few professors from different universities, and talk turned to poorly written and unprofessional emails from students. Most of the others said that they simply delete emails that are poorly written or that ask for last-minute extensions, and I have to admit that I was a bit horrified at the thought of this. I've never deleted a student email without sending a response, even if the response was tearing them apart for being irresponsible. I just feel like responding to student emails is part of the job, and ignoring emails from students is terribly unprofessional. I realize that many of these messages from students are unprofessional, but we should have higher standards for ourselves, especially when we're setting an example for students who need to understand the importance of good communication.
I have to reply to student emails. When I don't, the students send emails to my chair, and in one case, to a Dean. The chair called me on the carpet and said, "Don't you want to help your students? I can't imagine an instance where a question from a student wouldn't be welcomed by any professional!" I'd rather not sometimes, especially when they're so poorly done, or about inane things already on the syllabus, but I've been scared shitless.
Q: So, for realz, who does and does not respond to student emails, and what's the threshold?