Skip to comments.Dartmouth's 'Hostile' Environment
Posted on 05/06/2008 7:45:49 AM PDT by reaganaut1
Often it seems as though American higher education exists only to provide gag material for the outside world. The latest spectacle is an Ivy League professor threatening to sue her students because, she claims, their "anti-intellectualism" violated her civil rights.
Priya Venkatesan taught English at Dartmouth College. She maintains that some of her students were so unreceptive of "French narrative theory" that it amounted to a hostile working environment. She is also readying lawsuits against her superiors, who she says papered over the harassment, as well as a confessional exposé, which she promises will "name names."
The trauma was so intense that in March Ms. Venkatesan quit Dartmouth and decamped for Northwestern. She declined to comment for this piece, pointing instead to the multiple interviews she conducted with the campus press.
Ms. Venkatesan lectured in freshman composition, intended to introduce undergraduates to the rigors of expository argument. "My students were very bully-ish, very aggressive, and very disrespectful," she told Tyler Brace of the Dartmouth Review. "They'd argue with your ideas." This caused "subversiveness," a principle English professors usually favor.
Ms. Venkatesan's scholarly specialty is "science studies," which, as she wrote in a journal article last year, "teaches that scientific knowledge has suspect access to truth." She continues: "Scientific facts do not correspond to a natural reality but conform to a social construct."
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
A previous FR post on this was http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2009596/posts .
Richard Vedder's take is at http://collegeaffordability.blogspot.com/2008/05/suing-students.html .
Oh, for the LOVE!
Sounds like SHE was the anti-intellectual.
She, like most libs, don’t want to have to defend their point of view, they just want to dictate it.
If it is a viable point of view, it would be able to stand up to contrary viewpoints.
Whadayya bet this woman was the biggest pain in the butt in all of New Hampshire?
“They’d argue with your ideas.”
Ah, poor baby.... Maybe some people are buying this load of crap, especially after spending a fortunr for it.
I agree. I recall hearing Ward Churchill say "We're professors.....we profess."
That there is funny, I don't care who you are.
“Scientific facts do not correspond to a natural reality but conform to a social construct.”
Everything is a “social construct” these days. Even facts.
LOL! If I had been in her class she'd have to sue me too.
Oh? I don’t know, there sure are a whole lot of pains in the butt in all of New Hampshire? Me thinks she but one of the many.
Whaddaya wanna bet that she's now the biggest pain in the butt in all of Illinois? (She's now 'teaching' at Northwestern, which is still a great school anyway IMHO.)
You know, these colleges want “anti-establishment” kids, they got exactly what they want. They’re rebelling against the current establishment.
I cannot believe this is being taken seriously. We are a society of Candy A$$es.
Of all the pernicious nonsense taught in our colleges these days, this kind of stuff is the very worst. I sure as hell won't pay $40,000 a year so my kids can have their minds poisoned by these lotus eaters. They'll study hard science, engineering, or architecture.
We need to get rid of tenure and mount a thorough purge of the academy.
One would think a University professor of english would have mastered the principle of subject and verb agreement. She probably meant to say that They'd argue with my ideas. What a shame that she expected to go unchallenged in an environment supposedly established to nurture the ability to defend one's arguments.
She was supposed to be teaching writing, and instead she considers it appropriate to barrage students with her nonsense about “social constructs” of reality. No wonder the students were disgusted - they should be suing her for educational malpractice.
This “social construct” b.s. simply will not go away. Academia has all these incompetents running around babbling worthless inanities about “social text” and “social constructs” — and when they are attempting to talk about the sciences they rarely have the slightest idea what they are trying to say.
Let’s go back to the famous “Social Text” affair in 1996, when an article replete with nonsense was published in a supposedly leading journal, because the editors could not tell the difference between sense and nonsense when it came to talking about science:
The Sokal affair (also Sokal’s hoax) was a hoax by physicist Alan Sokal perpetrated on the editorial staff and readership of the postmodern cultural studies journal Social Text (published by Duke University). In 1996, Sokal, a professor of physics at New York University, submitted a paper of nonsense camouflaged in jargon for publication in Social Text, as an experiment to see if a journal in that field would, in Sokal’s words: “publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions.”
The paper, titled “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”, was published in the Spring/Summer 1996 “Science Wars” issue of Social Text, which at that time had no peer review process, and so did not submit it for outside review. On the day of its publication, Sokal announced in another publication, Lingua Franca, that the article was a hoax, calling his paper “a pastiche of left-wing cant, fawning references, grandiose quotations, and outright nonsense”, which was “structured around the silliest quotations I could find about mathematics and physics” made by postmodernist academics.
I teach college. Argumentative students come with the territory. If a student argues with something I said, it’s for one of three reasons:
(a) I made a mistake
(b) He doesn’t understand what I’m saying or
(c) He is being a smartass
for which I have the following solutions
If it’s (a) Fix my mistake and thank the student
If it’s (b) Look for the source of the student’s misunderstanding and address that
If it’s (c) Use my rapier-like wit to deliver a stinging comeback and warn him not to try to be a bigger smartass (though in class I usually say smart-aleck) than I am.
Note that having a tantrum and filing a lawsuit do not appear on my list of solutions.
I think the college should withhold her paycheck. When she complains that it is not in her inbox, they should say that a so-called "check" is a social construct, and its absence from her inbox is not a fact, but a notion determined by her own sense of reality. Which of course they do not share.
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