Pharyngula

That student from hell

We’ve all had them, but none quite so annoying as the one that afflicted Dr Caitlin Zaloom of the NYU Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. Dr Zaloom gave a simple enough project to her students, to go down to the Occupy Wall Street protestors in Zucotti Park and write an ethnographic analysis. It seems reasonable, but one student, Sara Ackerman, had a melodramatic breakdown over it. She has been ranting at the administration about it, and the emails have been made public.

Professor Caitlin Zaloom forced myself, and my classmates to do an ethnographic assignment on Occupy Wall Street a few months ago.
*No alternatives were offered, and we were instructed to interview only those people who were participating in the OWS movement– that means anyone, including criminals,drug addicts, mentally ill people, and of course, the few competent, mentally stable people that stationed themselves at Zuccotti Park

(**note: I did not meet any of the supposedly mentally sound, non-delusional people at Zucotti Park. All of the interviews that I conducted are on video, and clearly show that each person I interviewed—and believe me, for my own safety, I tried to interview the most seemingly normal people there—was either mentally disturbed or dangerous, scary or masked, or misogynistic and rude. I was cat- called at, gawked at, ogled, and called derogatory names.)

Way to pre-judge your subjects, Sara! Why are you taking a sociology course, again? I really would love to see her videos of the insane lunatics in Zuccotti Park.

Although it went against my core values, moral beliefs, and also made me feel unsafe, I ultimately did go to Occupy Wall Street with my class group—–two other young girls, who are quite attractive and thin, and don’t look particularly physically fit enough to take on a potential predator, rapist, paranoid schizophrenic, etc.—-just to see if I was being as melodramatic as Professor Zaloom made me feel I was.

***I won’t go into detail here, but let me just tell you that if anything, I had previously underestimated how awful Occupy Wall Street was, and I left the park feeling as though I had escaped an extremely dangerous—and even, life-threatening—situation.***

I’m glad Sara at least had the company of two other thin, attractive girls. What a horror it would have been if her classmates had been fat or homely.

Really, these videos had better document overtly criminal behavior, or yes, Sara is being as melodramatic as Professor Zaloom made her feel.

It turns out that the TA for the class, Jen, was also oppressing Sara.

During Jen’s 2nd and 3rd lectures, she mostly refused to call on me, even when Iwas the only student raising my hand.

Other times, I kept my hand up for about 75 seconds—a long time to keep one’s arm raised, by the way —and Jen still did not call on me, or she dismissed my questions, thoughts, and opinions.

Furthermore, when Jen did call on me, she was incredibly hostile, rude, and condescending—she acted in a completely different manner than she had before,and she seemed to change her behavior only towards me.

How dare an instructor not pay attention to Sara for 75 seconds. It must have been like torture.

My favorite part of Sara’s strangely punctuated and formatted rants, though, is this little bit.

Lastly, I have over 1,000 friends on facebook, and if Professor Zaloom does not resign, or is not fired by 9 am tomorrow morning, I will publish every single email exchange we have had, on my facebook account.

Every single email exchange has now been published. They are being posted far and wide. Professor Zaloom still has her job.

Who looks demented now?

(Also on FtB)