There’s been an organized campaign to stop the problem of bullying. By now you’ve problem seen many of the public service announcement commercials on the issue. While most of the campaign is aimed at children and young adults, bullying can also be found in our university’s classrooms.
The most recent example is Michigan State’s creative writing professor, William Penn. Penn is in deep trouble for his class rant about Republicans. Well, kind of… he’s suspended for the rest of the semester, but he will continue to draw his $146,510 salary. Here’s the video of his rant during class:
The first question is, what does this have to do with creative writing? Most students aren’t willing to engage with a professor when they’re ranting about politics and who could blame them? The student’s grade is contingent on the professor and does William Penn seem like a reasonable person with whom to disagree? If you disagree with Mr. Penn you’re a closet racist who wants to rape the nation. Is it any wonder why people hate Walmart?
When I was attending UNC Charlotte I took a philosophy class and the professor would drone on and on about President Bush before every class. One day he was complaining about the Bush administrations’s new logging rules. The rules were intended to reduce overgrowth in fire prone areas. So I simply asked the professor if his solution was to just let the forest burn down during the next fire. He didn’t really have a response, but from that moment forward I was the resident “crazy conservative” that he would always pick on during class. I didn’t really care, but it did affect my grade.
The reason my philosophy professor and Mr. Penn feel comfortable bullying students with their irrelevant political rhetoric is because these professors are surrounded by people who think exactly the same. Plus, with tenure they feel like their plush 100K jobs are untouchable. I don’t mind turning the classroom into a debate, but the general lack of respect and bullying is part of the reason why higher education has been turned into a lock-stepping farce. It’s clear that Mr. Penn has no respect for different opinions. It’s also clear that people in this nation could use a course in respect.