Professor suing her students

A Dartmouth English professor is threatening to sue her students:

[Priya] Venkatesan said the incident occurred when she was lecturing about The Death of Nature, a book by Carolyne Merchant, and the witch trials of the Renaissance. The student went on a “diatribe” about the inappropriate nature of challenging patriarchal authority, Venkatesan said. Vakatesan respected the student’s right to express this opinion, she said, but the manner in which he vocalized his views and the applause afterward were disrespectful and offensive.

“I was horrified,” Venkatesan said. “My responsibility is not to stifle them, but when they clapped at his comment, I thought that crossed the line. … I was facing intolerance of ideas and intolerance of freedom of expression.”

Venkatesan contacted [Thomas Cormen, chair of Dartmouth’s writing program] about the event, she said, but claims she received no support from him. She canceled class because the incident caused her “intellectual and emotional distress,” she said. This event, which occurred on Feb. 1, would likely be included in a list of grievances relating to a potential lawsuit, she said.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Matt L

    My goodness what a horrible teacher. Isn’t that rule #1 in “Teaching for Dummies”: have control over your class.

    That aside, the ironic thing is that she is being intolerant of other people’s expression.

  • Matt L

    My goodness what a horrible teacher. Isn’t that rule #1 in “Teaching for Dummies”: have control over your class.

    That aside, the ironic thing is that she is being intolerant of other people’s expression.

  • EconJeff

    I’ve been followin this story elsewhere, and it seems this professor just isn’t very good. The students’ version has it that she simply reads from her notes, doesn’t respond well to confrontation about the material, and was never there for her students.

    Additionally, the course she taught was writing, so why is she lecturing on “The Death of Nature” and challenging patriarchal authority in the first place?

    Finally, supposedly college is supposed to help people think for themselves. Her class did that and found her arguments unpersuasive. When she was called on it, they applauded. They didn’t just sit there and take in post-modern jibberish.

    I feel sorry for the students who were required to sit through her class.

  • EconJeff

    I’ve been followin this story elsewhere, and it seems this professor just isn’t very good. The students’ version has it that she simply reads from her notes, doesn’t respond well to confrontation about the material, and was never there for her students.

    Additionally, the course she taught was writing, so why is she lecturing on “The Death of Nature” and challenging patriarchal authority in the first place?

    Finally, supposedly college is supposed to help people think for themselves. Her class did that and found her arguments unpersuasive. When she was called on it, they applauded. They didn’t just sit there and take in post-modern jibberish.

    I feel sorry for the students who were required to sit through her class.

  • http://problemsareforsolving.blogpeoria.com James Lansberry

    all I can say to this is Wow.

    How much are the Dartmouth students paying for this teacher to experience this distress? And how much is she getting paid?

    Only bright spot there is that the chair didn’t give her any support in this foolishness.

  • http://problemsareforsolving.blogpeoria.com James Lansberry

    all I can say to this is Wow.

    How much are the Dartmouth students paying for this teacher to experience this distress? And how much is she getting paid?

    Only bright spot there is that the chair didn’t give her any support in this foolishness.

  • Joe

    I love her commitment to the market place of ideas. She respected the students right to state his views until others applauded (i.e. agreed with him). “That crossed the line,” she said.

    So she has no problem with others expressing contrary views unless it looks like the contrary view is winning.

  • Joe

    I love her commitment to the market place of ideas. She respected the students right to state his views until others applauded (i.e. agreed with him). “That crossed the line,” she said.

    So she has no problem with others expressing contrary views unless it looks like the contrary view is winning.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Ah, but you’re all missing the true point. The point is that the central, foundational human right is the right never to hear or see anything that offends you.

    That only applies if you belong to a Designated Victim Group, of course. The rest of us just have to suck it up.

    Haven’t you read the Penumbra?

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Ah, but you’re all missing the true point. The point is that the central, foundational human right is the right never to hear or see anything that offends you.

    That only applies if you belong to a Designated Victim Group, of course. The rest of us just have to suck it up.

    Haven’t you read the Penumbra?

  • Chris

    Typical feminist behavior, the moment someone challenges her she runs home to mommy.

  • Chris

    Typical feminist behavior, the moment someone challenges her she runs home to mommy.

  • Richard Lewer

    There is still hope for the new generation. Cheers for the Dartmouth kids.

  • Richard Lewer

    There is still hope for the new generation. Cheers for the Dartmouth kids.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Actually, rule #1 is not to control your class, but to lead it. I never saw college students be disruptive in a class where the subject material was actually being taught by someone who understood the subject and assumed the kids came to learn.

    High school and grade school students, maybe. Not college students.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Actually, rule #1 is not to control your class, but to lead it. I never saw college students be disruptive in a class where the subject material was actually being taught by someone who understood the subject and assumed the kids came to learn.

    High school and grade school students, maybe. Not college students.


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