Monday, May 05, 2008

Dumb Lawsuits

Via Betsy Newmark, a teacher herself. A former Dartmouth English Comp professors was
trying to ram her own version of literary jargon and deconstruction nonsense down her students' throats and they just weren't buying it. She chewed them out for daring to disagree with her statements and then shut down classes. Now she, amazingly, is suing her students for violating creating a hostile working environment.
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.
I suppose what troubles me most about this story is that there is a lawyer out there planning to make a case that the students were creating a hostile work environment, not by being sexually harrassing (which I can see as a potential problem), but by being-teenagers and questioning authority.

I thought that was a good thing in college--but I could be wrong.

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