Flagrant anti-gay discrimination in a Canadian nursing college

Uh-oh. There is evidence that the damning email might have been faked. The "from" field of the message looks to have been crudely pasted in, and this whole story may be a product of a slighted student's imagination.

This is an astonishing example of homophobic bigotry in a nursing college. A student was basically flunked out of a key course in the curriculum for a reason you will find hard to believe — here's a letter from a nursing faculty member to the student:

Nioska, I've been thinking about the meeting in rita's office and I feel that maybe Nursing is the wrong career for you. As a nurse, I have to advocate for my patients, and i feel that female patients will be uncomfortable having a lesbian nurse caring for them. You do not provide a sense of security to patients when you keep important information from them. Your sexual orientation is something important that patients have a right to know so that they can decide if they wish to have you as their caregiver. I myself am not homophobic at all, but I would not want a lesbian nurse caring for me when I am vulnerable. I would just not feel comfortable with that.

I think it might be best if you see student services to explore other career options that do not involve physical interaction, and intimacy. It wuold look better if you left nursing out of your own accord, rather than get kicked out.

i am just being honest. at the beginning of the rotation you asked me to be honest in my feedback, and i am doing just that.

Tassy

Notice: the student is a lesbian, and she does not trouble her patients with her sexual orientation … and the faculty member is penalizing her for being discreet! She is actually insisting that her students declare their sexuality, a completely irrelevant characteristic, to all of her patients.

If I were in the hospital, and my nurse walked up to my bed and cheerfully announced, "I am a heterosexual!", I can guarantee you that my wife would march up to the administration and demand an immediate change of the nursing assignment. The sexual preferences of nurses may be a staple of porn films, but it is not the reality of health care.

And look at that classic disclaimer…she's not homophobic, oh no — she just wouldn't want a homosexual giving her injections and changing her bedpan.

This is absolutely outrageous. Even worse, the college is dragging out the investigation, has hurt the student's prospects, and shows no sign of actually wanting to address the issue, preferring to try and place the blame on the student. The college also outed the student to all of her fellow students in the course of 'investigating' the problem. I've got a full account from the student below the fold.

I am a second year Nursing student. One week after sending receiving this email from my clinical instructor, she failed me in my Pediatrics clinical rotation. The official infractions were cited as "wrinkled uniform, rudeness and disrespect." To fail clinical, means you fail the class. You fail the class; you're out of the program. On December 12, 2008 I was permitted to write my final exam, leading me to believe that I had succeeded in stomaching the nauseatingly difficult semester. However, at my clinical evaluation, which took place right after the exam, I was informed that I had failed clinical. Since clinical itself was not worth a numeric grade, it was just "pass" or "fail", my grade was dropped from 92% to 50% - to reflect the fail.

I commenced the appeals process immediately, and at first nobody was interested in allowing me to plead my case. It wasn't until I sent the appeal to the Ministry of Education, and they contacted the school, that the College realized my dismissal from the program was based on much more than academics. The college decided that it would do an internal investigation.

This internal "investigation" has dragged on now for four months. Over the past few weeks the college has become sadistic in their actions. When one of the emails was posted on reddit.com, both the College and the clinical instructor were inundated with hate emails. The college sent me a "Cease & Desist" letter, threatening legal action if I continued to "[spread] information that is false, defamatory, or that could cause prejudice to anyone at the college."

However, after sending this "gag order", the school felt that it was their right to inform my Nursing class that I "suing the school for homophobia" (at that point, it was just an academic appeal, which is supposed to be confidential). I will never deny my sexual orientation; however, it's also not something I feel the need to go out of my way to inform others about, especially if it's not relevant. I was not "out" to everyone in my class, as the topic or opportunities never presented themselves in the academic setting. The school felt it was their responsibility to "out" me.

Events culminated when the College demanded I hand over my hard drives, laptops, and desk top computers (all belonging to me). I realized that the reason the appeal was dragging on was because the College knew the clinical teacher is in fact a racist, homophobic bigot, but tenureship and a union gave her immunity - including the right to discriminate. Therefore, it was vital that I somehow be discredited.

The demands, the humiliation, the degradation, the dehumanization was only going to end when I was discredited, or when I decided to walk away. The realization was overwhelming and suffocating. I attempted, but failed to commit suicide by slashing my arms.

Due to being in hospital, I was unable to meet with their investigator for a second time. I had requested the right to attend this meeting accompanied by someone, and it was denied. When they were informed that I was not able to attend the meeting, they demanded a Medical certificate with a diagnosis, [which is never detailed in a doctor's note (privacy, confidentiality)], for their "investigation" to proceed.

I gave them the medical certificate, which they stated it was necessary to have a diagnosis clearly indicated. Their insistence and persistence confirmed my suspicion that the only reason they wanted the diagnosis (suicide attempt) was so it could be used against me. I refused to acknowledge my reason for being in hospital, and demanded that attention be refocused on my initial complaint.

An issue that should have been resolved long ago is now cascading into other areas of my life. Yesterday morning I found out I was denied admission to the College I was requesting a transfer to. It is the first time in my whole life I have ever been denied admission to any post secondary school. The reason for being denied admission was cited as "weak grades" - which on my transcript laced with 80s and 90s, the only weak grade I have is the 50 from pediatrics.

I have yet to receive from the College a response or conclusion of the investigation, and my appeal.

Heritage College of Quebec certainly looks like an awful place to work or study — I hope they get their asses sued, if this account is verified.

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"The sexual preferences of nurses may be a staple of porn films, but it is not the reality of health care."

NOW you tell me, PZ.

Jeez.

By BrainFromArous (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

Heritage College of Quebec......Nursing......

Time to Google up some contact info and start writing e-mails and letters.....Tassy needs to be handed her assy....

By Faith's A Sin … (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

PZ,

I think you have been too kind to Canadians over the years. Their dregs seem to be just about as loony as our dregs. Perhaps this is really a North American problem, and not just a USAian problem. What a bunch of maroons.

If you find yourself defending your actions with the phrase "I myself am not homophobic at all, but..." there is a very good chance that you are in fact homophobic.

This whole thing is disgusting.

By SteveoftheHillPeople (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

That's astounding. What are the laws like concerning discrimination towards homosexuals in Canada?

Not that this is exactly the case here. It is, but she had other appeals, too, it seems.

Rosie @1 "i feel that female patients will be uncomfortable having a lesbian nurse caring for them."

From that, I don't think PZ is assuming anything.

By bassmanpete (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

Wait, this is happening here? In Quebec?! WTF!

On va leur montrer à ces maudits bâtards sales!

Those hot Canadians - they don't ask, but they do tell!

What would our esteemed host do if the Trophy Wife's nurse announced Sapphic tendencies?

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

I wish someone could get Tassie to explain why she thinks that a nurse who happens to be a lesbian would be inform her patients about her personal life. Or why a patient would refuse care from a nurse because of what she does away from the job. Does Tassie think that female patients would feel threatened by a straight male nurse?

I hope that the student gets a lot of money from that school and that she can finishing her training in a better institution.

By Janine, Insult… (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

If I were a patient, I would find it very creepy to have any nurse announce their sexual orientation.

I think the student nurse should file a complaint with the Canadian Human Right Commission--screw waiting for the college. They're just going to produce a whitewashed report to cover their asses--because this woman, Tassy, is right up there with Keegstra, and they are liable for it.

http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/faq/page4-en.asp#1

Any Canadian lawyers out there? This woman needs an advocate on her side.

This kind of stuff is just completely unacceptable. It just makes me so sick to my stomach.

And dead right about the "I'm not a homophobe" disclaimer. Total bullshit.

It just makes me sick deep in the pit of my stomach when people do these things and their status somehow gives them immunity, AND they do nothing but try to cover it up.

I hope she does sue and wins millions from them so she never needs a medical degree because she'll have enough money she'll never need to work.

"I myself am not homophobic at all, but I would not want a lesbian nurse caring for me when I am vulnerable."

They forgot to mention they have gay friends.

#8: Discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation flatly illegal under Quebec law. If this goes to court, it would be entirely unsurprising if the college and the instructor wind up paying out settlements.

In any case, I'm hardly surprised by how she's been treated by the college appeals mechanism. It's been my experience that internal appeal processes in academic institutions exist only to give the appearance of providing due process for students without actually providing any substantive relief. It's very rare--struck by lightning rare--for a student appeal to come down on the side of the student, no matter how seriously he/she has been wronged by the institution or its faculty.

This whole thing makes me sick. I really hope the professor gets fired, and that the college gets their asses kicked HARD (I don't really know what penalties there would be. Money?). This kind of behavior is unacceptable. We're in the 21st century!

This sort of thing just makes me ill. I thought Canadians were better than that, but that impression is only based on generalities. It's clear that bigots and haters exist everywhere, including places where bigotry and hate are less popular.

I can only hope that enough pressure from the media by means of exposure of this prime example of homophobia will eventually push the school to remedy the situation.

I hope the nursing student is able to pick up the pieces of this mess and go on to do good things with her life.

other career options ... do not involve physical interaction, and intimacy

meaning nursing does? ooh.

Geez, thats horrible! Fuck that college.. well, ok, fuck the nursing department of that college! Still, all that red tape bullshit, trying to find a loophole so they can shove her out of the program.

"I myself am not homophobic at all, but I would not want a lesbian nurse caring for me when I am vulnerable."

Isn't that the definition of a homophobe anyway? When you don't feel comfortable around gays? (Admittedly, if they are dirty dancing..)

Pure bigotry and prejudice, christ that pisses me off. Poor girl tried to commit suicide and the college tries to use that too..

Is it just me or has incidents like these skyrocketed ever since Harper took power? It's like they've been emboldened by his election or something...

@27:
{Isn't that the definition of a homophobe anyway? When you don't feel comfortable around gays? (Admittedly, if they are dirty dancing..)}

If they are dirty dancing with their clothes still on, I don't see a problem with it. :P

The college and the instructor will be lucky if they can settle out of court.

By 'Tis Himself (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

Heritage College in the Gatineau is the only English-language CEGEP in western Quebec, however as a CEGEP (Collège d'enseignement général et professionnel) it is tax supported and is definitely covered by the Quebec Charter of human rights and freedoms.

Why is this the subject of an academic appeal and not being brought before Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse?

I also want to know why Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec isn't involved with this? As I recall they are involved with nursing students from the beginning and would surely have an interest in this case.

Something isn't adding up here and we are not getting the full story. Quebec, for all its other faults, has traditionally been the least homophobic place in Canada. It also has very accessible mechanisms for dealing with something like this.

pacoyogi @ #16:

Colleges are covered under provincial human rights legislation. The student would need to get in touch with the Quebec human rights commission:

http://www.cdpdj.qc.ca/en/human-rights/

This page contains a plain English rendition of Quebec human rights law, including that it is illegal to discriminate against or harass individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation.

I saw comments in my ex-boyfriend's nursing evaluations that were nearly as flagrantly anti-male as these were homophobic. He also told me stories of professors who failed people out of clinical because they did not fit the straight, white, female paradigm. Nursing schools are going to have to shape up.

By Microbiologychick (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

A great many women have gone to a heterosexual male gynecologist. Not many people have a problem with that. How could having a lesbian nurse be any worse?

Heritage College in the Gatineau is the only English-language CEGEP in western Quebec, however as a CEGEP (Collège d'enseignement général et professionnel) it is tax supported and is definitely covered by the Quebec Charter of human rights and freedoms.

Why is this the subject of an academic appeal and not being brought before Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse?

I also want to know why Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec isn't involved with this? As I recall they are involved with nursing students from the beginning and would surely have an interest in this case.

Something isn't adding up here and we are not getting the full story. Quebec, for all its other faults, has traditionally been the least homophobic place in Canada. It also has very accessible mechanisms for dealing with something like this.

To spin Irony Meter:

"The Heritage Promise

Heritage College graduates will:

respect human diversity ...."

from their webpage, About Us, Mission Statement.
First on the list.

*gagging*

By Faith's A Sin … (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

For those who don't know, Quebec is majority French-speaking and, until recently, heavily Catholic. It was the last place in Canada to give women the vote at the provincial level. In 1940.

"I am just being honest."

No, you are just being a fucking asshole.

By CalGeorge (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

Oh dear. I hope she's not terribly surprised when she's inundated with porno spam and hate mail for being a homophobic bitch who should die in a fire.

Tassy and the college should be handed their ass and the student's grade should be changed to reflect her actual performance and she should receive whatever degree they offer, unless the student wants to transfer to another school, which would be understandable under the circumstances.

I'm old enough to have seen lots of doctors and nurses for assorted reasons. I never cared if they were male, female, heterosexual or homosexual. All I've cared about is professional competence and the capacity to listen to my questions or concerns, provided they're rational. Sexual preference is just not relevant.

This homophobia reminds me of a conversation I once had with my one time boss, a macho male. He and I were talking and he found out my internist was a woman (I'm a heterosexual male). He swore he'd never go near a woman physician to which I replied "I'd rather have a woman fondling my privates than a man," and suggested with humor that maybe he should reconsider. He never joked about my having a woman internist again.

Phat @ #8, she has plenty of options in the Canadian legal system luckily, she's pretty much guaranteed a big settlement, but I hope that this is resolved in a timely matter for the student's sake. This is one time that those human rights commissions will come in handy, she won't have to pay legal fees, while the college will have to pay for their lawyers and the eventual settlement.

And a quick google shows that Florence Nightingale seems to have been gay. Qua the same link, pre-Florence nurses were "prostitutes and drunks". Tassy "physical interaction and intimacy" yearns for the good old days methinks?

And a quick google shows that Florence Nightingale seems to have been gay. Qua the same link, pre-Florence nurses were "prostitutes and drunks". Tassy "physical interaction and intimacy" yearns for the good old days methinks?

Oh gee. Canadians are always behind the USA. They caught the American disease while we got rid of ours and are slowly getting better. Claims that they aren't as crazy as us are getting very, very thin.

We had a young adult with a baffling disorder. We sent him to the "gay doctor". Who is way out of the closet. Not because he is gay but because he is one of the best infectious disease specialists there is. A good move, the kid had an exotic protozoal infection of the liver and was going down hill fast. Without treatment, he might well have died.

In my state, this discrimination would be illegal and that school would have been sued by now.

@29

If they are dirty dancing with their clothes still on, I don't see a problem with it. :P

Touché

Not because he is gay but because he is one of the best infectious disease specialists there is. A good move,

Am I hearing right? Does someone have their priorities straight? Ahhh, what a refreshing sound. So unlike the Comic Sans pile of hate at the top of this page.

There is quite a colourful plethora of character-annihilating adjectives that could gush forth from my mouth to smite these monsters. This is simply outrageous. In fact, for a moment I actually thought the victimized girl was my cousin - until I realized they're in different provinces. But anyways...I really hope the faculty would get a grip, own up to their reprehensible actions, and pay up.

I've heard a lot of complaining so far with many hinting Canada appears to be as nutty as the United States. I love the United States, but it just so happens there are tens of millions of nutty creationists and haters down there. Even taking proportionality into consideration, I do not think Canada has it as bad. I recall in kindergarten and grade 1 my teachers alluding to a God, and talking about honesty, integrity, etc. - but none of them pushed creationism.

Nor did any teacher ever try to foist these crazy ideas in biology class. Ironically, I recall my grade 9 teacher saying he'd love to teach evolution a whole lot MORE - and in response I gave him 2 creationist books...I really, really regret that. I can only hope he's spared himself and decided to burn them.

raven writes: "We sent him to the "gay doctor". "

So the "idiotic assholes" sent him to the "gay doctor?"

I believe defenestration is the traditional solution to problems caused by colleges like this.

By Aenthropi (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

It never fails to crush my heart when I hear or read about my brothers and sisters in humanity being so abused and scorned because of blind hate and ignorance. To belive that someone could do such things to this woman over the fact she's gay. Things like this really make me question if Ms. Frank was right to say people are basically good. I'll watch this story and stay on it. I too that school gets it's ass sued.

By Dr. Strangelove (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

Pierce R. Butler | April 4, 2009 11:59 PM

What would our esteemed host do if the Trophy Wife's nurse announced Sapphic tendencies?

That remark, especially the "Sapphic tendencies" bit, makes you sound like a homophobic jerk, Pierce. Just so you know.

If this woman's story is accurate, it's appalling.

Fortunately Canada does have good protection for gays. Remember, we've got gay marriage, nationwide. Sexual orientation has been read into the Charter of Rights, which ought to apply because this is a college (oddly, the Charter doesn't apply to universities, on the theory that universities, but not colleges, are independent and therefore not "government").

Quebec has its own Charter as well, which is both a bill of rights and a human rights code. I'm pretty sure it includes sexual orientation, so it should apply as well. Quebec is arguably the most progressive province in terms of public and government attitudes on gay rights, so this incident is very surprising. (I wouldn't be shocked if it happened in Alberta, especially in rural Alberta.) I wonder if the institution has ties to the Catholic Church.

I wouldn't waste my time writing to Tassy "I'm not a homophobe but." I want to write to somebody higher up.

By plum grenville (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

#23:

Compensation for institutional discrimination that pushed someone to the point of attempting suicide? A very, very, very large pile of money.

In any case, I'm hardly surprised by how she's been treated by the college appeals mechanism. It's been my experience that internal appeal processes in academic institutions exist only to give the appearance of providing due process for students without actually providing any substantive relief. It's very rare--struck by lightning rare--for a student appeal to come down on the side of the student, no matter how seriously he/she has been wronged by the institution or its faculty.

Yes.

I wonder if that nursing "instructor" (inappropriate quote marks deliberate) fails her male students as well since female patients would be uncomfortable around them as well. Or someone who is a different colour. Because, you know, she's not homophobic or anything...

What a load of sh*t. A patient feels comfortable around their nurse because of their knowledge, demeanour and bedside manner, not because of who we sleep with. I hope that student sues that "university" (see above) for every penny she can get, and then pursues her nursing career with a school that values her. As an RN, I'll be sending that joke of an instructor an email. Thanks for the address.

@ 46, descrimination based on sexual orientation is most definitely illegal here in Canada too, it's in our charter of rights and freedoms in the eqality rights provision of section 15. We have bigots and homophobes here too, they're just quieter about it I suppose, after all we don't really have a fox news equivalent here.

#53:

The Charter (theoretically) protects individuals from abuses by government.

Federal and provincial human rights laws (theoretically) protect individuals from discrimination and harassment by all non-governmental entities.

If an organization is not covered by the Charter, its covered by human rights laws and vice versa.

So I guess she would be just as uncomfortable with a male heterosexual nurse taking care of her, then? When I've been in hospital, the sexual orientation of the doctors and nurses was not anything I even gave a thought. And why the hell would I?

Seriously, a college should be above such primitive behaviour... in this century at least. Let's see some progress, please!

By Liberal Atheist (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

@plum "higher ups": Cathy Dufour, Academic Department Coordinator, Nursing cdufour@cegep-heritage.qe.ca, and Jo Anne Werner, Academic Dean. jwerner@cegep-heritage.qe.ca.

As with their Mission 'Mistatement' I noted above, on their website under About, Heritage, Governance and Administration.

"Respect human diversity" My ass.

Someone's got some 'splaining to do......

By Faith's A Sin … (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

If the letter saying, in as many words, "If you don't drop out I will fail you for being gay" is real, how can this not be an automatic win for the student? An honest investigation should have lasted about three seconds.

By Sophist FCD (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

Dear Ms. Kingsley,

Recently, you wrote a student that you were not "homophobic at all, but [you] would not want a lesbian nurse caring for [you] when [you] are vulnerable."

Um, yeah. That's homophobic. Pre-judging someone's professional performance based on their sexual orientation? Yeah. That's bigotry.

A suggestion for your future explanations on this matter: 1) do not preface your remarks with "I am not a homophobe"; and, 2) do not claim gay co-workers, neighbors, or friends as proof of your 'tolerance.'

What, exactly, do you think a lesbian nurse would do to you?

***********
Sent to Tassy this p.m.

How many other students has she told to quit because of her insecurities and hatred???

The Nurse Practitioner that has been treating me since I was 5 years old (love small towns, my primary care doc has been the same for almost as long) is a lesbian. I've received nothing but wonderful care from her. She gives me my pap test and pelvic exam every year without any uncomfortableness.

This instructor doesn't deserve to be in charge of teaching future nurses. If she's like this with a student what sort of attitude does she have with gay and lesbian patients?

"I myself am not a homophobe but..." is indeed the precursor to a homophobic rant about 99% of the time.

And yes, publicizing this matter and attracting as much media attention as possible to it is a good thing. Just like the student pointed out, the college is trying to whitewash this case because the professor has tenureship and thus, immunity. The only real recourse against her actions would be media scrutiny and public outrage that would embarrass the college.

I'm usually not a fan of attracting a lot of negative press and attention to a case but here, the college is being so aggressive in its mission to discredit the student and seems so hellbent on discrediting her to protects a squeamish homophobe who'll fix grades to push out a student she personally finds repulsive (I mean come on, she's telling her not to go into profession which involves personal contact with others for crap's sake!), they deserve every bit of negative coverage they get.

I would not want a (Heritage College of Quebec) nurse caring for me when I am vulnerable. I would just not feel comfortable with that.

Also, the classic "[homophobic values expressed] I'm not homophobic, some of my best friends are homosexual."

Classy. Reminds me of an ex-coworker who said that USA should have "one of their own" as their leader, and not "some banana picker". Later that day he came up to me and explained that "I'm not a racist, I have a friend who is a Jew."

By Liberal Atheist (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

"I'm just being honest."

Hi Tassy, this is my hand. Now it's going to slap you across the face. It's just being honest.

As both a Canadian and a Quebecois, I am deeply ashamed by those bigoted idiots.

You can rest assured that I will contact my friends who are either attending the school or are alumni about this and that anyone who talks to me about attending will get warned about the prejudice it has allowed to seep into it's teaching position.

I hope that 'teacher' gets what she deserves.

For those of you who were wondering if the student tried to appeal to the authorities, here's what she says she did:

Good morning,

I greatly appreciate the information you shared with me; however, I am not in the States. I live in Canada.

The College of Nurses in Canada has a similar code of ethics. When I approached them to register a complaint and request intervention, they informed that they do not have any jurisdiction over Nursing schools.

I just sent the following email to Tassy and the emails that @Faith's a Sing of Pride included:

Tassy (and other people concerned),

Between September and December of last year I spent 75 days in the hospital, a significant amount of time in the ICU, due to infective endocarditis and an open heart surgery to save my life. I had many nurses during that time, both men and women. I would guess maybe 50 different nurses cared for me during that time.

Not once did I demand to know their sexual orientation. Only a virulent homophobe would demand such a thing. Your treatment of a lesbian student because you wouldn't want one "caring for you while you were vulnerable" is despicable, and reflects very poorly upon yourself rather than upon your student. What, are you afraid they will make a pass at you that you'll be too weak to resist? Do you fear straight male nurses as well? Do you fear that infamous lesbian Florence Nightengale?

That is sick.

Your insistence that your nurse be indescreet is the opposite of what you should be teaching.

In fact, I doubt you should be teaching at all. You are blatantly unfit. My time in the hospital was the worst two and a half months of my life, but at least I didn't have a pathetic excuse for a nurse as you to contend with while I was there.

Chris Stuart

@#16
Any sort of process like that goes on your record and essentially prevents you from having a job in the province that it was filed. No one wants to deal with that.
However, it might be a good idea, sounds like this girl needs to move on.

Cris' de catholiques de merde

Just a note. The email addresses @Faith's a Sin of Pride included are slightly incorrect.

They are
Cathy Dufour, Academic Department Coordinator, Nursing cdufour@cegep-heritage.qc.ca, and Jo Anne Werner, Academic Dean. jwerner@cegep-heritage.qc.ca.

(They were listed as "qe.ca" in the original comment.

Louise Brunet, Director General.

E-mail same as General Inquiries: dg@cegep-heritage.qe.ca.

Remember, Louise wrote Ms Ortiz to "cease and desist" and " stop spreading any information that is false, defamatory, or that could cause prejudice to anyone at the College."

Is that compared to prejudice against anyone at the College ?

Please respect her human diversity in your notes to her. Its part of her Mission too.

By Faith's A Sin … (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

#71: She doesn't have anything to lose if she has no way to finish her education.

I realized that the reason the appeal was dragging on was because the College knew the clinical teacher is in fact a racist, homophobic bigot, but tenureship and a union gave her immunity - including the right to discriminate.

I'm concerned - is her union actually supporting her in this? What union is it? [Please note (I know this sounds obnoxious): I'm really not in the mood for a bunch of "Unions can be BAD!"-type responses. I'm interested in the specifics of this case, if anyone has any information.]

I doubt it's just this school that would do such a thing. I've heard of people having bad experiences in (US) medical schools with some faculty members (racism/sexism) and any complaints to the administration led to accusations of lying and unprofessionalism against the students and intimidation against them. There was no instance in which there was an honest investigation of the students' claims.

There's an error it should be .qc.ca
The name quebec is qc
ca ia canada.

@Stu

Thanks for the correction(s) ! Sorry for the error - blame old glasses and 'copy and paste'.....

By Faith's A Sin … (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

As a nurse, I have to advocate for my patients, and i feel that female patients will be uncomfortable having a lesbian nurse caring for them. You do not provide a sense of security to patients when you keep important information from them. Your sexual orientation is something important that patients have a right to know so that they can decide if they wish to have you as their caregiver.

And as female Ob/Gyn I have to say that I feel like a total professional failure for not providing a sense of security for my patients by never once walking into an exam room and informing the patient that having sex with women is, in fact, not my cup of tea.

There also might have been an occasion or two when I wore wrinkled scrubs. Oh, the horror!

Bottom line, I give you the ideal Ob/Gyn care, Tassy-style: First, regale her with your sexual exploits. Then refuse to provide her with proper care based on the funny feeling in your tummy. Last, but not least, declare the patient incompetent and call for a psych consult.

@Gilles

Thanks!

...of course, qc - quebec.....dooooh....time for bed....

By Faith's A Sin … (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

#76: Bad faith behavior isn't unique to medicine. It's common to all areas of higher education. Really, there are quite some parallels between how colleges and universities treat misconduct allegations and how the Catholic Church responded to its pedophile priest epidemic.

Does anyone ever ask their doctor or nurse what their sexual orientation is? I can honestly say it's never even occurred to me. I can't imagine that it ever would.

Tassy is an embarrassment to caregivers everywhere. She sounds like one of those pharmacists who don't want to give out emergency contraception to rape victims. Doesn't actually give a damn about treating the sick or helping others or educating students -- she's just looking for a good excuse to fuck someone up.

ALLEZ TOUS LES QUÉBÉCOIS! ON VA LEUR MONTRER QUI ON EST ET CE QU'ON VEUT QUE LE QUÉBEC REPRÉSENTE! CHARGER VOS HOTMAIL, ÉCRIVEZ, FEU!

A little word for all quebecker on pharyngula (how many of us is there anyway?)

Wow, I hope Ninoska doesn't let them get away with just 'awarding' her the appeal (if they're that wise).

In any case, I'm hardly surprised by how she's been treated by the college appeals mechanism. It's been my experience that internal appeal processes in academic institutions exist only to give the appearance of providing due process for students without actually providing any substantive relief. It's very rare--struck by lightning rare--for a student appeal to come down on the side of the student, no matter how seriously he/she has been wronged by the institution or its faculty.

Indeed - I'm actually going through the medical appeals process at my university, and despite the fact that their own psychiatrist is on my side, they've denied the initial appeal, and the appeal of the appeal, and now they've passed it off to another guy who I haven't even been able to catch sight of yet (as of the end of last semester). Since I'm not there this semester, I haven't had a chance to push for it more. At UCF, of Crackergate fame, of course..

I sent Tassy an email. I think others should follow my lead, too. What I did was think of a subject line that would neither get weeded out by the spam filter nor dismissed by the real Tassy: "Notice for Tuesday." Make sure to figure out others like it, and then you can say something sassy. I sent her this:

"Ignore the title; it's just a strategy for getting you to read this email, which is yet another deserved letter of disgust towards your discrimination of a woman that caused that person to eventually try to COMMIT SUICIDE when she realized the school wasn't going to punish you and vindicate her. When you get sued and lose the case, which you will, just maybe you'll realize how despicable you truly were."

I'm a straight female, but I once had a lesbian gynecologist, and to be honest, I put more faith in her than any other gyn I've been to. Think about it people -- she probably knows 3 times more about what's going on down there than anyone else...

(Ok, I'm kind of joking. Sheesh.)

I only knew she was a lesbian because I had been referred to her by a friend of hers. It wasn't like she introduced herself that way or I went to her because she was a lesbian - she just happned to be an expert in the problem I was dealing with, and happened to be a friend of a friend.

The point is though that I was never uncomfortable with her because she was a lesbian.

I don't care what sexual preferences my nurses or doctors have, as long as they know what they're doing and have some degree of a bedside manner.

Are nurses supposed to tell their patients their life stories now?

Holy fuck that would be boring, listening to that every time a new nurse came in

By Nanu Nanu (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

#39 Your desire that the homophobic instructor should die in a fire is vile. Feeling some hate yourself? And "bitch"? I guess misogynist is not a word very foreign to you.

By Susan Silberstein (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

Forgot to mention: why does it matter? Because unless I succeed in the appeal, I can't renew my scholarship which I need to continue attending - there or elsewhere.

Universities no longer seem to care about their students (if they ever did), but just how much money they can siphon out of them and their alumni. Like the banks, they'll cover their own asses to the detriment of everyone and everything else - including their own damned reputation.

@Vagrant #81, perhaps, but I believe that it's worse in professional schools because the administration is also often close colleagues of the professors/attendings/etc (i.e. the deans in medical school are also practicing physicians). This forces the members of the administration to protect their colleagues rather than the student. In undergraduate/graduate school, the deans and rest of the administrators usually have that as their one full-time job. (at least that's been my experience)

While I am disgusted by this discrimination, I am also shocked by the comments, blaming all Canadians as if this incident is a regular occurance in my country. I can damn well assure you it is not. Canada has a history of fighting against discrimination.

Look at the White supremacist marches in Calgary. They were attacked by a mob of Calgarians for their hateful views. And this institution should be attacked by a mob of Quebeckers for this blatant violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Part of the email I sent to her:

As nurses we are taught that we must not let our personal judgements get in the way in our duty of care to our patients. It seems you missed that lesson, and I am thankful that you are no longer at the bedside as I would not want you as my nurse or the nurse of any person I have ever had any contact with. I would not want you in my facility, nor in any facility I have ever worked in. My only regret is that you have this level of influence over the next generation of nurses coming in to our woefully understaffed profession. Nurses in North America have a reputation for "eating our young" - it seems you take that to the next level and crush them whilst still in the nest over issues that, frankly, have no bearing on the ability to care for and advocate for our patients.

I suggest you take your own advice to Ms. Ortiz and "explore other career options that do not involve physical interaction, and intimacy" as you clearly lack the capacity to judge a person based on their performance and not their sexual orientation. You are a disgrace to your university and the profession of nursing.

Being the skeptic that I am, I have to say that there may be more to this other than what we have been led to believe.
i.e. If the student had her degree, would she be able to handle a patient who had attemptrd suicide as she has done herself? Just saying.

"I think it might be best if you see student services to explore other career options that do not involve physical interaction, and intimacy. "

Jeeeeeeesus Chriiiiiiist.

By Breakfast (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

All of the obvious aside, I'm analyzing the particular pain in my gut that reading this gave me and I'll tell you something: That suicide attempt? Self-reported suicide attempts generally leave me skeptical, but if there's any situation that can make you vulnerable enough for that, it's nursing school. Hell, I spent just a year in LVN (LPN) school and I remember how it takes your skin off and makes you lead with your neurons. And I was a few years post-undergrad by then, all grown up and a veteran of the English-major odd-job front.

Ask your nearest handy source about that. In some ways it's the opposite of med school. Harming students in that kind of situation is unforgivable.

Sent today to Dear Werner,
As a professor of microbiology at Penn State University for 36 years I consider my role in facilitation the education of hundreds of nursing students to be perhaps the greatest accomplishment of my career. In all that time I never once asked or was even interested in the sexual orientation of my students. As long as they were academically competent and professionally capable that was all I needed to know. The statistics guarantee that a certain proportion of the students you graduate each year are gay or lesbian. Why should your knowledge that this one student is, in fact homosexual, make a difference? Is your institution incapable of distinguishing between a homosexual and a sexual predator? If so I suggest you send your entire nursing faculty back for a refresher in normal and abnormal psychology. As chief academic officer, the responsibility for this dismissal rests in your hands. I must confess that your treatment of this student is a travesty of ethical standards and a denial of your institutions proclaimed recognition of the importance of recognizing student diversity. The actions of the nursing personnel responsible for this action are disgraceful and reflect negatively on the reputation of your college. I hope that not only gay and lesbian students but heterosexual ones as well, take note of the difference between your proclamations and your actions and choose to attend a college where hypocrisy is not one of the fundamental tenets of your pedagogical philosophy.

Hate to play devil's advocate here, but this does seem rather strange to me. She sent her prof her myspace page, but for 72h it would be locked and accessable only the assignment would be accessable and only with the password? Really? And she never included the password in the email?

Why is the first offensive email sent to her hotmail, when all those before were sent to her school account? Why does the prof suddenly abandon her strict (perhaps overzealous?) capitilization which is present in every preceeding email? In all honesty, I don't like the student's attitude, particularly when she shoots off with the "I know it was my .. I know it was .. I know ... I know ..".

Why does she even ask her professor what's unappropriate about her myspace site? Clearly, sending a link to your myspace to your professor is fairly inappropriate in itself, particularly when it's filled with suggestive pictures and other things. Would you send that link to your boss?

Regardless, this warrants a full and unbiased investigation. It's not unreasonable to ask permission to search her personal computer if the professor has denied writing the emails. It's not difficult to send email from someone else's email address, and I'd like to see some validation. Let's be honest: she wouldn't be the first student to realize she (or he) was flunking and declare it to be due to racism, sexism, homophobia, ect. - some cases it's true, and some it's not.

Apart from being homophobic,this nursing instructor seems to have a totally distorted and professionally inacceptable view of nursing and the way nurses interact with patients.
That part bothers me even more than the bigotry shown towards that poor student,the fact that Tassy probably has taught hundrets or thousands of nurses her twisted views on "intimacy" and revealing your sexual orientation to patients.What lunacy.

Although I would like to think that Canada is a little more progressive than its neighbor to the south, we have our own fair share of ignorant xenophobes, homophobes and racists. Have forwarded the Salon and Flickr links to a local news affiliate in Ottawa to see about shining a light on the cockroaches in that little institution.

#97:

Blue wall much?

It's never appropriate to turn over irreplaceable evidence to the opposing party without the protection of adequate legal, physical, and technical safeguards against accidental or willful destruction of evidence.

Academic institutions do not deserve the benefit of the doubt in cases of alleged misconduct.

@#97

Let's be honest: she wouldn't be the first student to realize she (or he) was flunking and declare it to be due to racism, sexism, homophobia, ect. - some cases it's true, and some it's not.

Yeah, it's probably not a good idea to jump to conclusions based on only one side of the story. I'd say if people are going to send letters, they should send it to the school encouraging a fair investigation and appropriate punishment of the teacher (if she's guilty). Sending hate mail to the teacher, if she's not guilty, would probably not make the (potentially) crappy situation she's in any better.

This looks fake... Are we sure it's genuine?

I think that she(the teacher) has rigth to have distaste for lesbians and has right to express her opinion. I do not support her position at all. Sexual orientation is noone else`s business. On the other hand I might prefer a lesbian nurse over a nonlesbian nurse, depends you know! But seeing that so many people are so eager to carry high moral values to judge every side possible, I just want to remind you that judging people is a form of bigotry, regardless of your or their position. You are judging someone(the teacher) because they managed to judge another person(the student).

karatal #103, she has a right to express her opinions in a non-professional setting, but not one to fail a student because of her homophobia.

First, the attitude of the instructor is unprofessional, and if the homophobia expressed in any way affects a woman's ability to get a job she is qualified for, it is likely illegal.
That said, this is a great example of how not to respond to criticism.
Every aspect of adult life involves knowing how to not say what you are thinking. Every person who is above you in the chain of command is going to be condescending. That's simply the reason that the word "condescending" exists. You are beneath them, and they treat you as such.
It sucks, but one has to learn to handle it in a professional manner. First, don't list the things you know in a provacative way to introduce an apology. Second, don't demand to know why an instructor seems to dislike you (although in this case the dislike is a valid basis for a lawsuit, the tone in the question is insolent. Whether we all agree that it is justified or not, it is not situationally appropriate.) Had the student simply reported the incident, continued with his studies (yes, we must even be mature enough to work with those whom we despise), and cooperated with the investigation, things would have had a better chance of changing the intrenched injustice.

We, as internet commenters, however, have no such need for niceties, and should shout as loudly as we can.

I think that she(the teacher) has rigth to have distaste for lesbians and has right to express her opinion.

No one here has said she doesn't have the right to her opinion. That's not what we're discussing here. We're discussing her failing a student because of it.

That's completely different from "expressing" her opinion.

But seeing that so many people are so eager to carry high moral values to judge every side possible, I just want to remind you that judging people is a form of bigotry, regardless of your or their position. You are judging someone(the teacher) because they managed to judge another person(the student).

No, judging people is NOT a form of bigotry. Pre-judging them is. Given the evidence here, assuming it is all accurate, the teacher's actions have shown us ample evidence on which to judge her, hence it is NOT bigotry to call her an intolerant, homophobic, bigot.

If you don't see the difference between judging someone based on them being a lesbian and judging them after being shown evidence that they are a bigot, then I suggest you read some books on logic, because yours is failing.

DrBadger,
I agree. I was not saying that the teacher was professional and did everything according to the book. I am not going to defend her in any possible way. I just feel like some people like to evilize some other people to feel good about themselves. I wonder how many of these anti-homophobics are supreme examples of unfailable human beings.

It is true that the teacher crossed the line. But if you read the last line you will see that the teacher was trying to be sincere about his/her opinions because supposedly the student wanted the teacher to be honest, just quoting the teacher here. So it might be that the student was insecure about her orientation and was looking for a way to scream. You can not just ask for people`s honest opinions and just then use it against them. This does not smell right to me.

"i am just being honest. at the beginning of the rotation you asked me to be honest in my feedback, and i am doing just that."

Dan506 (#97): I mostly agree with your skepticism here.

Maybe I'm not cynical enough about human nature but I just don't believe anyone responsible for the grading of nursing students could be this stupid. At the very least she'd know not to put such things in writing at any time.

I agree that a full and fair investigation is the best thing that could happen, but I'm conscious that we've only heard half the story so far.

There was a similar sort of case here in NZ-a nursing student complained that she had felt harassed by Maori tutors during a "cultural sensitivity" lesson. This is a hot-button topic here because anything Maori is quite often seen as "added woo", so she received an awful lot of support from the general public, right up until a majority of her fellow classmates all came out and said she was aggressively racist herself, and that's what prompted the "harassment".

Ok, I do not want to divert attention here. I agree with most of the views displayed here. I support the student`s position because it looks like her academic performance was never an issue and her sexual choice was used as a reason for a threat, "possibility of getting kicked out" in this situation.

On the otherhand I just do not know how to feel about putting these email exchanges online and making it public. I hope that this was the last resort.

She wasn't being honest with her opinions. She was being honest with her prejudices. If the email quoted is true, the professor is saying that no matter how good of a nurse the student would make, the fact that she was a lesbian means she couldn't be trusted and couldn't pass the class.

If you switch it and say, oh, "I'm not racist, I just don't think I could have a black person be my nurse," the sentiment becomes more clear and overt, but there's no difference between the two.

I'm with #97 and #102. Those last two alleged emails of Tassie's are very different from the earlier ones (they're all on the Flickr link in PZ's post if you missed them). Something isn't right.

I developed something that required me having an ultrasound on a testicle. I was told I needed an ultrasound by the GP I consulted. Funnily enough, at no time during the entire episode did it occur to me to wonder about the sexual orientation of the various medical professionals who were handling my junk (male or female as those fine folk may have been).

All I gave a rat's arse about was whether these people were competent at their professions.

Oh, shit, I just realised, I never asked that doc that gave me those STD swabs whether he was gay! I am a failure as a human being! The guy who I was trusting to stick Q-Tips in the eye of my knob could have been GAY!

...Sorry about the sarcasm fit. This sort of shit pisses me off. For all sorts of reasons. But one I'll highlight here, because I don't think anyone else has, yet: the insidious and foul notion that homosexuals are *necessarily* incapable of being completely professional whilst heterosexuals are *necessarily* capable of such (and infallible in that regard) is obscene. It's a symptom of the dehumanising tendency that seems to be all to prevalent in some segments of society.

I just spoke to my son about this, because I was curious about his viewpoint. Since he's only 5, I cast it regarding the colour of someone's skin (he doesn't have a grasp of 'sexuality' yet). I asked him whether someone having different coloured skin to him made them a bad person. He said "Of course not!" I asked him if he knew that some people think that is the case, and he shrugged, and said, "That's stupid, because we know they're not!"

I guess not being inculcated with shithead prejudice means that even a 5-year-old can see how fucking moronic it is.

By Goldenmane (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

Fwiw, I am a woman who is *not* comfortable having hetero males as caretakers. I recognize that there is not always a choice, but given a choice I would always prefer a woman or a gay man over a het man. I would never go to a hetero male Ob/Gyn. I don't think that I would be 'taken advantage of' (although that does happen on rare occasions), but I do think that I would be judged in terms that another woman would not use. The sad fact of the matter is that what a HCP thinks of a patient does affect the care that the patient receives, sometimes drastically.

PZ, did you or could you do any vetting of the young woman's story? Did it come from someone you trust?

The details that several commenters have added from her Myspace account are raising a few doubts in my mind, although not to the extent of exonerating the College, assuming the truth of what she says.

I for one will make my email to the College administration a little more cautious.

By plum grenville (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

LKL @ #115

Very interesting choice of words: "The sad fact of the matter is that what a HCP thinks of a patient does affect the care that the patient receives, sometimes drastically."

Please give your verifiable example cases of your accusation.

That would be names, places, dates, please.

Such a broad accusation needs a bit more that merely your opinion.

I am not making this up - I came across this post just now as I'm watching the movie Philadelphia. Glad we've come such a long way since 1993.

By Mark Schnitzius (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

Have to say that agree with #97, #102, and #112. I was naturally appalled after reading the letter but soon became suspicious after spending some time on Google.

The posts on

http://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/858x9/im_not_homophobic_but_correc…

and links therein may be of interest.

Regarding #100: Irrespective of whether academic institutions deserve the benefit of the doubt in cases of alleged misconduct or not, the teacher accused sure does. Sending hate-email after only hearing one side of the story... well...

well, it certainly does seem strange that all the actually offensive stuff went to the hotmail account while all the other stuff went to outlook express.

the whole thing is strange, there seems to be some negative tension between the student and the teacher from the beginning.

This is the first couple of lines of something I ran across
from http://www.stationhill.com/nonfict/nonfict095.asp.

"
My Love Affair With Medicine

True Story by Ninoska Garcia-Ortiz

I have to start on the day it ended, because the ending is also the beginning. I want you to know that before I hated you, I loved you. The morning the end began, I had spent all night with you.[...]
"

I can't read much more. It's so.. overdone.

I hope this student sues the ever-livin-shit out of this college. Just disgusting!!!!

The "I'm not a bigot, but..." disclaimer tells you all you need to know.

Wow, I hope someone directs this 'Tassy' to the comments section of this site. I'm just thinking of the guilt trip that will descend upon her when it finally clicks what a true a$$hole she has been.

I myself am not homophobic at all, but I would not want a lesbian nurse caring for me when I am vulnerable

That might actually qualify you as "homophobic", dumbass.

Some people feel that the American University is the bastion "homosexual values" (i.e. the religious right), but this is far from the truth. I know several people that have attempted to pursue careers in the medical profession that have been denied or "discouraged" because of their sexual orientation.

Also, the American Philosophical Association has had its own troubles lately (documented closely on Brian Leiter's blog) concerning discriminatory practices based on sexual orientation, wherein professors and students in American philosophy departments are forced to obey stringent heterosexual norms or else be forced to leave the department altogether. This is absolutely insane.

In other news, my college newspaper published an op-ed piece this week titled "Condoms are dangerous". The main argument is that "Science & Modern Thought" (whatever that means) are "weapons" against the truths of the Catholic Church. Academia proper is hardly the bastion of reason one would hope it would be (maybe I am naive, but I expected so much more from my peers).

@ Strakh (#118):
Talk to any professional HCP about how their preconceptions affect patient treatment.
Read Groopman's How Doctors Think.
http://www.amazon.com/How-Doctors-Think-Jerome-Groopman/dp/0618610030

One cannot reveal 'names, places, and dates' because there are stringent federal laws protecting patient privacy - as you would know if you had any background in medicine. However, I can say categorically that HCPs are far more likely to assume that a patient whom they do not respect for any superficial reason.

Spanish-speaking immigrant: must be a 'clinic' patient here for a pregnancy test, and/or a drug seeker; ok to close the ED window in their face rather than find a Spanish-speaker for triage right away. Gay man in for any reason at all: test for HIV and other STIs first, and get him out because he deserves it anyway. Young woman upset by anything: she's hysterical; give her valium and send her on her way. Not every HCP is that blatant or that biased, but I have personally seen all of those things happen more than once - and I work in a *tiny* hospital.

For less anecdotal evidence, try these for a start:

http://www.aslme.org/membership_new/aslme_members/jlme/vol29/29.1a.php

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7717024

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18301951?ordinalpos=3&itool=EntrezSy…

^#126
should read "HCPs are far more likely to assume that a patient whom they do not respect for any superficial reason are presenting for non-serious and/or trumped-up causes."

This would be a very interesting story to get to the bottom of, because the outcome may be a good indication of how to handle similar cases.
So, is it prosecution by media of Tassy Kingsley, or a legitimate case for the plaintiff?
As others have mentioned, the plaintiff appears somewhat mentally unstable, - trying to commit suicide/claiming same, sounds like someone crying for attention, and doesn't sound like someone who is really fit to become a nurse.
And Tassy Kingsley's version of the story would be interesting to hear as well. And if she indeed wrote the e-mail as shown.

This is outrageous. It cant be tolerated.
Their prejudice is sickening.

Well, i guess we will need to do something,
i will write to them for starters.

Thanks PZ for highlinting this story.
Without doubt one of many, sadly.

By Lord Zero (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

I dunno, but this thing smells to me. Discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation in Canada is a surefire way to get your ass sued, especially in Quebec which has been ahead of the rest of the country with respect to gay rights. I can't believe a college instructor would be that dumb (putting it in a letter), even if they were a raving homophobe.

Bluntly put, one of the parties to this dispute is not playing with full deck. It only remains to find out which one.

Ages ago, the courts here in Alberta ruled that a Christian college couldn't fire a gay lab technician because of his sexual orientation even though sexual orientation wasn,t mentioned in the provincial human rights legislation at that time.

If it isn't all over the news here by Monday and the Current (CBC radio program) doesn't have a segment on this by Friday, I think you've been had.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

Apostrophe fail wasn't not wasnt - I blame ERV.

By Miltant Agnostic (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

Spanish-speaking immigrant: must be a 'clinic' patient here for a pregnancy test, and/or a drug seeker; ok to close the ED window in their face rather than find a Spanish-speaker for triage right away. Gay man in for any reason at all: test for HIV and other STIs first, and get him out because he deserves it anyway. Young woman upset by anything: she's hysterical; give her valium and send her on her way

ED Physician for 10 years here,and you are talking rubbish,LKL.

I think your problems is maybe with males,irrespective of whether they are doctors or bakers or mechanics.And of course if you believe that every hetero male is a chauvinist macho pig,that would make it difficult to come to a trusting relationship with a male Ob/Gyn.Not the doctor's fault though.

And pattern recognition in patients,that health professionals acquire with the years,does not mean they will not treat every case equally open-minded and on its merits.At least thats what me and my collegues do over here.

HCPs are far more likely to assume that a patient whom they do not respect for any superficial reason are presenting for non-serious and/or trumped-up causes."

First you are discriminating against the sexual preference of any given doctor by saying you wont trust a hetero male doc ,but now the doctor is the one who doesnt respect the patient because of "superficial reasons"? Which one is it,make up your mind ! And hint: No,we dont.

Has anyone else noticed that in the picture with the letter that PZ quoted, the "From" field of the e-mail looks wrong? The e-mail address isn't on the same level as the "From" tag itself (it's a little bit higher), and some of the letters are cut off at the bottom.

Frankly, it looks almost like someone copied that text and pasted it over the actual "From" field, and didn't do that great a job of it at that.

After looking further, I must retract my hope that she gets more than just winning the appeal. As stated, there are strange inconsistencies in the e-mails. On the other hand, the rogers.com domain is a web service provider, which means that if the headers were not forged (unlikely, I think) AND Ms. Tassy uses that web provider, it may legitimately be from her. But the strange drop in punctuation and capitalization quality makes me wonder.

Actually, and I fear I may be looking too hard, but perhaps not, I notice another couple oddities, looking only at the images of her live mail (the last two directly from Ms. Tassy): (1) In the latter of her two, in apparently the space of only about two hours, the browser's bookmark toolbar and general appearance change significantly, as well as the appearance of a veoh plugin at the bottom (2) visual elements on the page itself change significantly, such as the blue arrows moving to an entirely different element (on the reply bar instead of their previous place next to the print icon), as well as a new "Nunavut" folder, and (3) on the latter the Sender: line "tassymk@rogers.com" is cut off at the bottom, notable on the 'g' which now looks q-ish, and on closer inspection the 'y' as well.

Fortunately, being webmail, she 'surely' kept a copy of that message, and it should easily be obtainable by subpoena. Which is also why I find it odd the college wanted her computer in the first place - everything's online, and anything on her computer is much more untrustworthy.

A slight inconsistency in the story: if the student nurse wasn't generally "out" about being a lesbian, then how come the homophobic member of staff knew it in order to discriminate against her. Why tell an instructor at all (let alone the worst possible of them) if one's personal policy is to be discreet about the issue?

Hook, line, and sinker?

surfacet 1 point 12 days ago[-]
I know of this Ninoska chick. She's been known to pull b.s. stunts like this before, and I wouldn't be surprised if the original poster is her in the first place. Don't buy any of the suicide stuff, I think it's all a crock.
- Good on you for doing your homework and looking into the matter though!

Skemono:
Yes, I noticed that as well. The "From:" and "To:" addresses are both offset the same distance (one pixel, actually) from the "Sent:" date. As such, I suspect it was actually the date that was cut and pasted.

Well, LKL, I work in a 'big' hospital in the Twin Cities. I serve Somalis, Mexicans, Swedes, Hmong, Norwegians, you name it.
No one receives "drastically" different care based on their ethnicity, color, gender, etc. No gay person automatically gets massive STD or Aides testing. The expense alone would get an MD here fired, let alone the insensitivity issue. And every patient who cannot speak adequate English is afforded an interpretor from triage on through discharge, free of charge.
As a quality control nurse who works alongside these MDs in every type of case, from crying babies to massive trauma, it is my job to be sensitive to any such abberations you mention.
I state this not simply because it is my job to monitor this, but because I would personally find such behavior grounds for getting the MD immediately removed from our ED.
Yes, lesser MDs may do this, but both our MDs and our nurses are always on guard to prevent such behavior in themselves and their fellow caregivers and to educate each other to continue preventing it.
BTW, if you have seen the behaviors you describe, you are, under penalty of law, required to report such behaviors to your superiors immediately.
If you do not, you become part of the problem.

Larry #93

Being the skeptic that I am, I have to say that there may be more to this other than what we have been led to believe.
i.e. If the student had her degree, would she be able to handle a patient who had attemptrd suicide as she has done herself? Just saying.

In my experience, people who have themselves been suicidal are much better at handling the subject of suicide that those who haven't.

Tassy is actually in violation of nursing standards and practices in Canada. Nurses here are specifically taught not to trouble patients with irrelevant personal info .

Should her Nursing association be made aware of this transgression , she could be in a bit of trouble. Particularly as she is involved in teaching...how the hell did someone this detached from reality get through the interviews for this position...

She outright lied that student...

By Tyson Bodin (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

Lesbian nurses, huh? I'll take two. 3:o>

By FlameDuck (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

I realized that the reason the appeal was dragging on was because the College knew the clinical teacher is in fact a racist, homophobic bigot, but tenureship and a union gave her immunity - including the right to discriminate.

What does this tell us about tenure and unions - both usually beloved of the Left?

"The sexual preferences of nurses may be a staple of porn films, but it is not the reality of health care."

Perhaps not, but I'd like that to change, and as a male I like the idea of having a lesbian nurse, preferably two and I would even let them use the other bed in the room if it were vacant. I can't imagine anything that would help me to recuperate faster.

Strakh:
AIDS, not Aides. The former is Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, the latter is someone who helps you do something. /pedant
What does "ED" stand for? Emergency ____?

Walton @143,

What does this tell us about tenure and unions - both usually beloved of the Left?

are you implying that this could not have happened without tenure and/or unions?

If you must act ideological, at least you could be unambiguous.

By John Morales (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

Oops.
Thanks....
Working with my Aid e s tonight and have them on the brain.
That would be Emergency Department.

Tassy, the faculty homophobe, said in her email to Nioska, "You do not provide a sense of security to patients when you keep important information from them." and ends the message with, "i am just being honest. at the beginning of the rotation you asked me to be honest in my feedback, and i am doing just that."

The student Nioska mentions that "One week after sending receiving this email from my clinical instructor, she failed me in my Pediatrics clinical rotation. The official infractions were cited as "wrinkled uniform, rudeness and disrespect." "

This is amazing. I would much rather be given care by an honest nurse of any sexual orientation than an insincere, disingenuous, rude, disrespectful and DISHONEST homophobe who lies right through her choppers. (Tassy: "I have to advocate for my patients...")

LIAR.

Liars make dangerous nurses.

Would you trust such a dishonest person with administering your medication and wielding needles around your person?

Disgusting.

Speaking of disgusting, the Heritage College of Quebec playing games and putting on their ass-covering act is every bit as dishonest and well into shameful territory. I hope they get their asses sued too.

By astrounit (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

I must admit that I'm starting to get a fishy vibe from this story too. All we can hope is that it is investigated fully and properly.

Of course, this is totally outrageous... If it's true. But after taking a look at the detective work done by the guys on reddit, I don't think it is.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/36800888@N02/sets/72157615921627243/
Here's a link to the photobucket with the whole story in it. The switch from the college's email system and regular emails for both teacher and student should immediately make one suspicious. The story is very different if you take into account only the words from the school's email system, certainly the most reliable emails...

http://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/858x9/im_not_homophobic_but_correc…
Surprise, the original poster of the story is the girl herself... (Lavinla@hotmail.com was the email listed on Ninoska's myspace) There wouldn't be anything wrong about this if she hadn't lied about it. The whole reddit account has since been deleted.

http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=378895…
Ok, a last one: a post from her blog. It doesn't offer any proof, but it's a clear "warning: crazy zone" to me.

I think we have to consider the possibility that this is made up. On the positive side, the teacher won't get our emails if the address isn't hers. :-)

Tassy: "I have to advocate for my patients..."

Oh, right. I wonder if her advocacy extends to homosexual patients.

This liar is a potentially dangerous nurse.

By astrounit (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

@ Flea #149

It has already been on Reddit. The commenters there were more sceptical.

A comment of note:

I guess what we're saying is the way you posted this multiple times on a fresh account is very suspicious, like you want to unleash a mob on whoever belongs to that "nursing teacher's" email account. Without outside corroboration of details it's very difficult to tell if this is for real or something made up.

With great power comes great responsibility.

;-)

I note that on the flickr pic of her hotmail account opened to Tassy's alleged letter,there does not seem to be a single mail anywhere else,not in inbox,not in junk,not in deleted or sent,other than the opened one.

I took this at face value because it was published on this site. (Is that an argument from authority?)

It does seem strange, though, if previous emails went to the student's college account and now one appears in her hotmail account. I could probably fake something like that if I tried and if I couldn't I could probably find someone to help.

If it is true, it is appalling. If it is fake, it is also appalling but for very different reasons. I now feel stupid because I emailed the student with offers of support.

I can never see the point of sending hate mail to anyone and I have a nasty feeling that the tone of some of the comments here just confirms the fundamentalists in their views about atheists.

I'm smelling something funny here too. I think the possibility is high that this is a hoax. If so, this could be a textbook case of a skeptic themselves being conned because of their biases. The difference of course is that the skeptic will immediately acknowledge he was conned, rather than continuing to insist the story is true if the evidence suggests otherwise.

@157

Plus, of course, a sceptic will learn from the experience.

This post reminds me of one Ed made a little while ago:

Reinforcing the Worst Stereotypes of Leftist Academics

We are all capable of jumping to erroneous conclusions (just like theists do), and we are all capable of being taken advantage of by those who would abuse our trust (just like religious leaders do).

It requires continued effort to remain properly sceptical.

#158 cont.

And I should also point out that Ed didn't admit that he'd jumped the gun on that story. He took an aggrieved student's word about a teacher, and concluded that the said teacher was a "Leftist", even though there was no evidence of this, and no evidence that the teacher had done anything wrong.

The story appealed to Ed's pro-gun stance in the same way that this story appealed to PZ's pro-equality stance. I'm not saying that those stances are bad, just that such bias can result in people seeing only what they want to see, and I think we here can all agree, that's bad.

I've said before that sapphic love was just an excuse for putting on weight. Is there evidence that these tendencies are innate and not simply a quirk of a particular mindset that changes or alters with time?

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

I've said before that sapphic love was just an excuse for putting on weight.

You what?

Are you asserting that all lesbians are fat? That's a claim I haven't heard before...

XD,

amen. We must be ever vigilant about perpetuating falsehoods.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Poor Pete "total fool" Rooke. Some people never learn anything beyond their own prejudices. Pete is one of them. And the number of falsehoods he perpetuates....

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Walton,

it is similar in flavour to the propensity of the fat and unpopular deciding to wear a promise ring. Of course there are those that are genuinely concerned for their spiritual wellbeing and I'm sure there are many women who are of that persuasion (homosexual) for "genuine" reasons. What are these reasons though?

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

I've said before that sapphic love was just an excuse for putting on weight.

Were it anyone else I'd probably say 'that's the stupidest thing you've ever written' - but since we're dealing with the perpetually clueless and mentally defective Pete Rooke, that wouldn't actually be true.

By Wowbagger, OM (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Posted by: Pete Rooke | April 5, 2009 6:37 AM
XD,
amen. We must be ever vigilant about perpetuating falsehoods.

Yes, right, like that the bible is an accurate account of anything, and that j'f'c ever was an historical person, - two of the greatest lies ever perpetuated.

#162

That should have been "vigilant against" and not "vigilant about".

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

amen. We must be ever vigilant about perpetuating falsehoods.

What's hilarious about this is that Pete probably wouldn't understand that what he wrote is particularly ironic - even if we explained it to him.

By Wowbagger, OM (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

What does this tell us about tenure and unions - both usually beloved of the Left?

What a genuinely odd comment, Walton.

First, you should know that neither tenure nor a union makes a prof immune to the school's code of conduct. At worst they just mean that alleged abuses must be properly documented. You should know that, but of course I have no confidence that you do.

Second, I've never met a right-wing professor who wasn't thankful for tenure.

Third, why would you even bring up unions? Unless you're proposing that teaching faculty should not be allowed to unionize, what the hell is your point? It's just contract bargaining. Your jab makes no sense except from a weird authoritarian point of view.

It really sounds like you didn't think through this comment before you posted it. More duckspeak? More thoughtless repetition of mantras from your ideological masters?

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

The more of the links I click on and check out in as much detail as I can find time for, the more I get a bad feeling about this story.

Right now, I'm leading towards thinking it's been faked by the student. If not, it's outrageous (obviously) and my earlier snarky comment was appropriate. The various comments attributed to the teacher are/would be completely out of line. But at the moment, I have no confidence that the story we're being told is true. There are too many aspects of the materials that look suspicious. Perhaps there's some explanation for these, but I think we need to see wait and see what eventually happens.

I concur. We have jumped to conclusions.

In the first instance it seems highly unlikely that one would publicise such intimate details (Myspace page, personal identification - email account, full name) and the legal advice (on her Myspace page) that she details appears to be highly irregular. There is more to this situation than meets the eye.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

It really sounds like you didn't think through this comment before you posted it.

True. It was nonsense and I apologise.

More duckspeak? More thoughtless repetition of mantras from your ideological masters?

No. Just me failing to think things through properly. I have no "ideological masters".

"I myself am not homophobic at all, but I would not want a lesbian nurse caring for me when I am vulnerable."

Wow! The dissonance in that one is deafening.

And that faculty member is definitely an anti-gay bigot.

I see Pete is operating under the delusion he add something to the discussions here. News flash Pete, we don't give a shit what you think. You should stop posting here.

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Wow, I've never actually seen the "I'm not homophobic, but..." thing used sincerely. This would have been outrageous if it had stopped right there. That the administrative staff of the university seem to be complicit and unwilling to back down is frankly disgusting.

@teh Petey: you and your "women decide to be sexually attracted to women so they can get fat" - the gift hilarious bellendery that just keeps giving.
@PZ: It might be real, but you have kind of jumped the gun here. If it turns out to be faked I trust you'll be gracious in retracting it.

Ah, Pete, the paragon of no prejudices, except against atheists, is trying to be moral arbiter. Based on past experience, the pot is calling the kettle black.

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Ah, Pete, the paragon of no prejudices, except against atheists

And against those fat, fatty McFat lesbians. But (much like a stopped clock is right twice a day) he is right that this might not be true.

Posted by: Pete Rooke | April 5, 2009 6:44 AM

Walton,

it is similar in flavour to the propensity of the fat and unpopular deciding to wear a promise ring. Of course there are those that are genuinely concerned for their spiritual wellbeing and I'm sure there are many women who are of that persuasion (homosexual) for "genuine" reasons. What are these reasons though?

Because...they are attracted to women?

I love how you have the word genuine as though there weren't valid reasons for women to be gay. This just make me sick to my stomach.

As for this nursing student, lots of folks have done some research and dug up enough rough evidence to raise doubts as to the veracity of this tale. It's unfortunate that this young woman seems to be making some serious drama for the school and this particular teacher.

This is an official "who knows for sure?" situation. It will be interesting to see how it works out.

This is one we need more information on. It looked good at the beginning, then seemed to develop some problems as time went on. With this group, we'll be at the bottom of it later today.

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

That I'm right twice a day does not prove that you are correct all of the day. You may well look at me on the basis of your faulty clock and assume that I am only right twice a day when it is in fact you who is only right twice a day. I have faith in my moral clock, it has served me well.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

"It's unfortunate that this young woman seems to be making some serious drama for the school and this particular teacher."

Well if it turns out everything she claims is true, more power to her; bring the drama. If not, not.

i'm not surprised this story involves this particular teacher. this isn't the only student who's been targeted. i believe the teacher is retiring this year.

By heritagestudent (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

With this group, we'll be at the bottom of it later today.

Or mired in a morass of dank obscurantist anti-religion philsophy that breeds confusion with confusion in the hope of spawning understanding.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

heritagestudent,

bring your evidence into the light and we shall judge its veracity.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Pete Rooke wrote:

Or mired in a morass of dank obscurantist anti-religion philsophy that breeds confusion with confusion in the hope of spawning understanding.

Translation: I hate it when you point out the extensive shortcomings of my daft religion by using big words I don't understand and mean words that make me cry.

bring your evidence into the light and we shall judge its veracity.

Don't you feel just a little bit silly demanding of other people something you cannot yourself provide when we ask it of you?

By Wowbagger, OM (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Or mired in a morass of dank obscurantist anti-religion philsophy that breeds confusion with confusion in the hope of spawning understanding.

and the pot is calling the kettle black yet again

Pete Rooke, you are an awful person.

He that casts the first stone......................................................................................................................

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Shorter Pete Rooke: Bugrit! Millennium hand and shrimp!

Ciao y'all

No. Just me failing to think things through properly. I have no "ideological masters".

Sounds like more quacking to me. Walton, I hardly know where to begin.

We are all victims of propaganda. Every one of us, anarchist, communist, socialist, liberal, centrist, conservative, feudalist, fascist, every single one of us is full of way more shit than we could ever hope to flush.

The world has poured other people's goals into your head since before you could speak.

You are not free. You will never be free. We are only ever lucky to glimpse freedom. We are fortunate to dream.

Whatever you take for granted, those are your strongest chains. Our assumptions are our prisons. A person can be made to shackle himself, and if he believes he forged the steel and sized the bracelets of his will, then he will not even try to escape.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Pete you pompous prick:

Through uncounted posts I have watched you flounder about, trying to support your moral clock/compass as the only true guide to moral behavior. You then make comments so (the only word that comes to mind is stupid) I have to wonder if you are capable of any thought at all.

Lesbians choose to be lesbians so they can be fat. And that applies to men as well?

obscurantist - and which facts have been kept secret here?

dank - no, except perhaps twixt thine ears. This is where stuff comes into the light.

mired - and just who is unable to consider new evidence? Look at the change in tone over this post alone. You OTOH, have shown yourself to be a paragon of close-minded ideology.

Honestly - do you ever actually think or are you just a prime example of a godbot?

He that casts the first stone......I've said before and I'll say it again; even if he doesn't know it, teh Petey is, objectively, a parody.

Lesbians choose to be lesbians so they can be fat. And that applies to men as well?

Obviously not. I'm an overweight male and I'm straight. However, my wife is also overweight but not a lesbian. I must ask her why she's fat. Let me put my armor on first.

By 'Tis Himself (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

strange gods before me,
If everyone is just brainwashed into believing what he believes,
isn't your belief that everyone is just brainwashed into believing what he believes, just a result of your brainwashing and thus not real ?

I myself am not homophobic at all, but I would not want a lesbian nurse caring for me when I am vulnerable. I would just not feel comfortable with that.

That... is a depth of self-blindness so profound it's a wonder she isn't crushed under the pressure. Then there's the whole stupid bigotry thing.

By Jack Rawlinson (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

pete is really tassy.

By heritagestudent (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

So this may be a false accusation?
See, this is one of the reasons I don't write indignant e-mails to the accused in things like this.

By St. Tabby Lavalamp (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

just a result of your brainwashing and thus not real ?

Non sequitur. I could be brainwashed accurately.

(Brainwashing is too strong a word here anyway. That implies a planning and coordination I would not attribute.)

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

how did u come to the conclusion its a false accusation?

By heritagestudent (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Non sequitur. I could be brainwashed accurately.

But there is no way to tell. You could be as likely to be brainwashed into something false. Short,there is no way to justify this assertion.

Tis:

Good luck with that. Any special bequests?

Wow. That instructor is the very definition of a homophobe.

A couple surgeries ago, I needed a catheter. This is NOT a pleasant procedure, and the nurse who came to insert it seemed careless and was wearing perfume, and I was in pain and on drugs and feeling VERY vulnerable.

I pretended to be embarrassed - "I'd really prefer a male nurse for this procedure".

The nurse who came in to do the procedure... he may have been gay, in fact I got the impression that he was, but it didn't matter because it's about as un-sexual a situation as could possibly be imagined.

He did the procedure quickly and with minimum discomfort.

"I myself am not homophobic at all, but I would not want a lesbian nurse caring for me when I am vulnerable. I would just not feel comfortable with that."

I'm not a Nazi at all, but I have a great admiration for the views of Adolph Hitler.

Let's hope Nioska has the sense and the gumption to sue the fuck out of this college with a view also to handing this ignorant dimwit her marching orders.

Matt Heath:

bellendery

?

SC,

In the UK the term "bellend" is typically used to refer to gays, nerds, or other minorities that white little Englanders deem unpalatable. It refers to the glans penis (the pink head) which might be considered to be bell shaped.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

As one who fought a University and lost (I do not wish to comment further) I really really feel for her. This post kind of made me ill. How depressing.

Damn, right across the river from me, in Gatineau. I expect it'll hit the local media soon.

IANAL, but if this checks out (keeping in mind Russell Blackford's caution above), then AFAIK the student has an open-and-shut case, based on the Charter, and any number of more local anti-discrimination statutes. Whatever a few asshats may think, this country is officially, legally, non-homophobic.

Tabby:

So this may be a false accusation?

heritagestudent

how did u come to the conclusion its a false accusation?

Tabby didn't say that it was a false accusation, just that it might be. We really don't have enough evidence to say either way.

It would be like me accusing you of being Nioska. You might be, or you might not be; I don't have enough evidence to draw a conclusion, though.

i just noticed the clinical instructed misspelled the student's name... it's ninoska. which makes this sadder. she didn't care enough to spell her name correctly.

By heritagestudent (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

In the UK the term "bellend" is typically used to refer to gays, nerds, or other minorities that white little Englanders deem unpalatable. It refers to the glans penis (the pink head) which might be considered to be bell shaped.

Only in the sense that any neutral insult will be disproportionately used against minorities, but nice attempted smear.

signed, a straight, white, nerdy anti-little-Englander.

But there is no way to tell. You could be as likely to be brainwashed into something false. Short,there is no way to justify this assertion.

If you are going to keep twisting my words into a much stronger assertion than I'm making, then sure, there's no way to justify the caricature you're making.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Speaking as a woman, I don't give a shit if my nurse is gay. Yeah, I'm sure she's real turned on by all my sexy wounds, sores, and infections and is just waiting for her moment to sexually assault me. As if.

If her account is accurate, she should definitely take a look at the Canadian Human Rights Commission website and review the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. Quebec has some weird laws different from the rest of Canada, but I think they still fall under this charter.

Guys, this was discussed on reddit about a month ago: Redditors hunt down that girl which posted the letter and turned out she did it in revenge because she was failing the course.

sorry, but i don't have the url right now....

By project2501a (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Let me throw my pair-o-pennies in: I was taken in at first, but further comments on the thread have reminded me to be skeptical. The evidence screams 'fake'; though I've met the sort of instructors who would harbor such an attitude, I've also met the sort of students who would falsely accuse others of such attitudes.

If the situation is accurately represented by the student, then somebody needs to take the instructor out behind the woodshed. If it's not accurately represented, then the student needs to be kicked out.

But here's the problem: it's virtually impossible for the student to get a fair hearing in this sort of circumstance.

By Benjamin Geiger (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

If this story is true, I'd be happy to write a concerned letter to the CEGEP, in both official languages, and dropping it off myself, since I live nearby.

However, I think I'm going to wait until I learn more about it. The story sounds a bit odd. I'm wondering how the teacher found out the student was a lesbian. Anyone knows?

"I myself am not homophobic at all, but I would not want a lesbian nurse caring for me when I am vulnerable."

How is this different from being a female with a male heterosexual doctor?

strange gods before just won my vote for a molly

By Marc Abian (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

N:

From what I can gather, here's the claimed sequence of events:

Student has late assignment.
Teacher requests assignment; policy deducts 5% of grade for each day late.
Student, attempting to deliver assignment sooner than would be possible in person, puts assignment on MySpace page, locking all other content.
Teacher disregards assignment and berates student.
Student unlocks MySpace page.
Teacher visits MySpace page, sees personal content.

This also explains the shift from the college mail system to Hotmail; apparently the teacher found the student's personal address on her MySpace page.

By Benjamin Geiger (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

plum grenville @ # 53: That remark, especially the "Sapphic tendencies" bit, makes you sound like a homophobic jerk, Pierce. Just so you know.

Sorry - it was intended to make me sound like a lecherous jerk.

Next time I'll include the spycam suggestion to make that clear.

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

@N (#219) If you follow the email exchange posted on flickr the student ask the teacher to retrieve a homework assignment from her myspace page. The page itself makes it fairly clear.

There ought to be a full investigation of this, obviously. There is the concern, however, that if the college itself does the investigation, that the results will not be impartial.

SC, OM: Sorry I responded to teh Petey's guilt-by-association nonsense but not your actual question, didn't I. "Bellend" (or "bell end") is indeed a crude, anatomical term of abuse derived from the glans penis. AFAIK it's meaning doesn't have any real connection to the body part it refers to; it's just a somewhat taboo term that's been co-opted as a swearword, as in "fuck off". The sense is more "fool" than than "knave" and it carries a fair amount of contempt - a lot more than, say, "arse". So "bellendry" is intended to mean "contemptible foolishness".

If this is true, it's despicable. If it's not, perpetrating a hoax like this is almost equally despicable. What is true is that none of us here have anywhere close to enough information about the specifics of the case to be making a judgment about it one way or another--as several posters have pointed out.

Case in point: the only purported official communication from anyone at the school involved (located in one of the redit links above) indicated that the school has requested an outside investigation of the case. This is a direct contradiction of information provided in the letter from the student posted by PZ above.

My question: has anyone (or can anyone) provide independent verification of who is telling the truth about this specific claim? (i.e., from the agency that the school has purportedly asked for the investigation?)

While this minor issue may not cast a great deal of light on the issue as a whole, it would provide some insight into who is acting in good faith and who is perpetrating a hoax or, conversely, a cover-up.

If you follow the email exchange posted on flickr the student ask the teacher to retrieve a homework assignment from her myspace page. The page itself makes it fairly clear.

Isn't that a bit suspicious? Surely the obvious thing to do would have been to e-mail it as an attachment?

Sounds like bad script-writing.

This would be reasonable if she were an aspiring gynecologist, but not otherwise.

By Svlad Cjelli (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Perhaps she does have some legitimate grievances but the melodramatic and irrational way that she has attempted to make her case (and to what end???) suggests that it is a petty attempt at defamation.

From:

http://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/858x9/im_not_homophobic_but_correc…

And from her relevant MySpace page:

Do You Remember Me?

Do you remember me? I was in your class. I was your student, and you were my teacher. I used to sit in the back. I'm the student that came before her.

I thought you were what a woman was supposed to be. For awhile, a short while, I wanted to be you. I even had a crush on you. I admired the strength that kept your spine straight. I realize now that it wasn't strength, it was insecurity.

Lies caressed your lips as naturally as a mother's nipple caressing her newborn's lips, coaxing him to feed. But as I swallowed your thorny lies they cut and scratched the back of my throat. Your promise of "what is said in this office stays in this office" was the same as a leech promising not to feast on the warm blood of its host.

I was the student who at first was quiet and shy, but who absorbed everything you had to teach. As I became more comfortable, I became more confident. But you decided I had too much confidence. You realized that what I wanted to learn, you didn't know how to teach. And even though you were given the title of teacher, it was just a title, not a privilege you had earned.

Had you been a real teacher, you would have known that answering a question with "I don't know", in fact, solidified your integrity, and not chipped away at it. Had you been a real teacher, you would have known that comments laced with insults are not constructive criticism. Had you been a real teacher, you wouldn't have felt threatened by my desire to achieve more than you had.

You were like chemo, caustic in my veins, but a necessary evil that if endured, promised relief. The stabbing nausea that stole so many of my nights was a side-effect of your toxic infusion of anxiety and fear. I never lost my hair, but I did lose the serenity that separated the sane from the insane.

Your classes were a continuous cyclical nightmare, worse than being forced to kneel in front of a firing squad. The bullets of a rifle slice quickly and cleanly through the condemned prisoner. Your bullets were the silent invisible words between sentences. They screamed louder than the words you actually spoke.

Do you remember me yet? I was your student. I'm the student you broke. You whipped accusations, and stoned me with insults. You crucified me with false ethics and professionalism. I'm the student you beat, used and mutilated to raise your underachieving ego. I'm the student who you knew others would one day say you were my teacher, and not that I was your student.

You were my initiation into adulthood. I was just a kid… a baby really. All I had seen during my 17 years of life was no match for what you had in store for me. Like the warm smile the SS had on their faces, as they calmed children with lullabies, while on their way to the gas chambers, your unwavering smile also deceived me into an intoxicating sense of security. Your smile was boiling oil, scalding a trail of peeled skin, leaving me raw and seeping. The propinquity of your infernal spewing mouth to your hate numbing soulless eyes did nothing to thaw the blade of ice that sliced through my heart each time you singled me out in class. Your ridicule turned and twisted the blade, pureeing my insides.

Do you remember me? I was your student. I was the student you projected your self hate onto. I was too young to understand that one self-loathing person, during the whole span of my life, didn't have enough power to destroy me, but would instead make me stronger. I was just a kid after all. My tears leaked so often that it unbalanced the perfect chemistry of fluid/salt dilution. My eyes burned even in the absence of tears.
I'm not your student anymore. I'm not even alive anymore. I didn't know that life went up and down. I thought we were meant to fly at a constant unchanging altitude. When you made me go down, I thought it would be forever. It was my hand that held the razor as it parted the flesh up my arm, but it was your spirit that drove it deep, slashing, cutting and severing the closed highway of veins and blood vessels. I died looking at my veins crying blood.

Was it titillating for you to know you drove a kid to suicide? Was it empowering to realize that you as a grown and weathered woman beat a kid, who still had breast milk on her lips, at the game of life? Did you think you would keep getting away with it?

After me came another girl. You were also her teacher, and she was your student. But she was stronger than me. It wasn't the first time she had encountered someone like you. She was born to deal with people like you. She was one of the first generation Indigo children. The venom in your words and actions slid off her skin. You were never able to make her cry, despite all your attempts. All that you did to me, you did to her, but she took it all as a challenge, training for something more important. She was never threatened by you. In fact, she felt pity for you. Youth having escaped you long ago, your bones now creaked as you hobbled towards your end of life.

You hated her. You hated her so much. She reminded you of what you never were. You were infuriated each time she asked a question you didn't know the answer to. It enraged you when others praised her. She was praised often, of course, never by you or any other member of your cult. Others saw in her the strength and power that you envied so much. The more you tried to discredit her, the more you discredited yourself. Some dismissed your opinions as the senseless stuttering ravings of old age senility. They only pretended to listen because your age had granted you the right to that respect. But there were others who knew you, and knew your heart. They knew it was the rants of a heart filled with hate. A heart so dark, covered in mold, infected with indifference, oozing a putrid river of pus.

I know you do remember her. I know you will never forget her. A part of me and a part of all the other students you humiliated, demoralized, dehumanized, shredded and tore apart were in her. But maybe that is why you hated her so much. Seeing her meant you were also seeing a part of you.

She went on to do amazing things. She went on to make the world a better place. She loved, she lost, she mourned, and she desired, she felt, she conquered, she grew, she became, she created… but more importantly, she lived without regret.

She didn’t even regret having had you as a teacher. You were too occupied hating and just being yourself that you failed to see just how much you empowered her. Despite all you did to her, she kept returning. Daily, week after week, months rolled on. Even though it was never your intention, you made her stronger. You didn’t realize then, but you were one of the powerful teachers who had a direct influence in molding her. She learned so much from you. But what she learned from you was never listed on the curriculum or the course outline.

She learned that because of people like you, there would always be hate in the world. She learned that hate reigns when good people stand by and do nothing. You taught her the definition of evil. You even demonstrated it. You enforced what she already believed, that education was a right, not a privilege, but that being a teacher was a privilege, not a right. Real teachers understand and respect the responsibility that comes with that privilege. Pretend teachers abuse it. And she learned that just because you know about something, doesn't necessarily mean that you are the best person to pass that knowledge on to the next generation.

What I wish I had learned was that when you choose to confront and work with what you fear the most, you take its power away.

You got to choose who and what you were going to be. You got to choose how you were going to treat others. And you chose to torture. Because people like you make the choices they do, people like her will never be able to choose. They are born because people like you exist. People like her are born because that battle between good and evil that's been raging since the beginning continues to rage today. People like her are born because people like you are born. But people like you will never win because of people like her.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Thanks, Matt!

This would be reasonable if she were an aspiring gynecologist, but not otherwise.

Not letting lesbians become gynaecologists would be reasonable? Srsly?

Wow, this is just unbelievable. This college is apparently 3.36 miles from my apartment in Ottawa, and I cannot believe that something so hateful is going on here. This type of discriminatory attitude is not something that's at all common around here, at least not obviously so. I really feel for this student. We do have strict discrimination laws in this country, so I am sure that she will receive some compensation and hopefully some validation for what she's gone through. It's just so unfortunate that it's been dragged out for so long and in such a mean spirited fashion. These people running their 'internal investigation' need to get their acts together and start standing up for the right person. I know there are often alot of background politics involved in an academic institution, which can delay and lengthen an investigation or conflict resolution process, but the response this student has received from her department and institution is shocking and sickening.

@XD (#230) I agree. There are some statements regarding the student not being sure about if PDFs can be read with Macs and that this would have led to this course of action.

As pointed out in the tread there are some evidence suggesting tampering with the images and it seems like the safest thing is not to jump to conclusions. After all, it's a terrible thing to have happen to you, or to be accused of, whichever turns out to be the truth.

I hope they get their asses sued too. That is the only way to get through to some institutions.

Dan @ #97
I too am a skeptic first and foremost. It's what bolsters my atheism, my stand against homeopathy, astrology and all other forms of woo. This mind set led me to Pharyngula in the first place. In the past week or so I've seen some olympic class conclusion jumping here. First with the JREF Youtube debacle that turned out to be a tempest in a teacup and now I wonder about this nursing student. It certainly appears there is a tenured instructor at this college that exhibits very real signs of homophobia as expressed in her purported email. She definitely needs an attitude adjustment if this is true. But, as I read the exchange her homophobia led her to suggest nursing was not the career for this student but not necessarily indicating the students sexual orientation was the determining factor in her clinical stage failure. Indeed there's a good deal of criticism regarding intransigence lack of respect for authority etc. in previous emails. Not to mention failure to turn in work on time apparently a failure which according to the academic rules results in a 5% per day reduction in mark.
If the reason for this student failing is indeed the homophobic hysteria of an instructor I'm sure it will come out. We in Canada have a very good mix of liberal and conservative press that doesn't hesitate to bring such controversy to the fore. Until then, I stand by my skepticism in all things.

By Trumpeter (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

My work here is done.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

My work here is done.

You have no work here, and should not be here. Begone spawn of the devil...

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

I also teach at a small college with a nursing program. I think it wise to suggest that there are always two sides to every story and while the student may be telling the absolute truth, it is also possible that the student is not telling the absolute truth. We currently have a student suing our college for discrimination when there is no evidence of such in our past or present. But that doesn't keep her from telling everyone she meets how our college has discriminated against her while the faculty and administration must keep their mouths closed as suggested by our lawyer. In this case (of the Canadian student), IF the student is telling the truth, the faculty member should be canned, however, the faculty member should have the right to defend herself. Trust me, just because a student says she has "a 92%" class average does not mean she does and does not mean that she doesn't have serious problems clinically. Maybe the student is a serious liablity to the profession and to her patients, but turned on her instructor and the college when she was failed. Students do not take kindly to failing, even if the reasons are legit. Trust me, I've seen very similar things in my past. It happens. And doesn't it seem strange that the college prof wrote a letter spewing her dislike for lesbians in her profession? I guess its possible, but you could fail a student for legit reasons and not leave a paper trail.

Further, someone wrote that "tenured faculty" are protected from being fired and can freely spew whatever they choose with no fear (insinuating that they can discriminate if they choose in violation of law). That is absolute BS. Tenured faculty CAN and are fired for many reasons, but they will get due process...the college administration must prove wrong doing by the faculty. Tenure does NOT protect faculty who discriminate and its incredibly silly to think so.

By Smallcollegeprof (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

I know the Canadians like to be smug about all the wonderful stuff they have that we don't have here, but I sure wish that they had an American Civil Liberties Union and a bunch of wonderful ACLU lawyers to go show that school exactly what "lawsuit" feels like.

This has probably been said in the comments, but how would this instructor feel if a heterosexual male nurse was caring for her when she was vulnerable?

Brian

My work here is done.

Where "work" = "whining ineffectually while people who actually care about truth did a bit of digging".

btw I can't see any obvious smoking gun in the "debunking" linked by John @#241. What should I be looking for?

#232: "first generation Indigo children"

Woo-alarm bells ringing.

Nioska, I've been thinking about the meeting in rita's office and I feel that maybe Nursing is the wrong career for you...I think it might be best if you see student services to explore other career options that do not involve physical interaction, and intimacy.

Nioska's response should be:

As a student and taxpayer, I've been thinking about that meeting and I feel that Nursing Instructor is the wrong career for you.

It might be best if you see the local government employment agency to explore other career options that do not involve interaction with normal people. Perhaps Lighthouse Keeper would be suitable.

By Bad Albert (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

I wouldn't want a nurse who came in with a wrinkled uniform.

By sillysighbean (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Matt Heath,

Occam's razor my dear boy, Occam's razor.

It is not difficult to imagine someone holding the beliefs professed in the email (about her sexual orientation).

It is far more difficult to imagine someone detailing these beliefs in an email to the said student.

Couple that with her OTT blog posts, lack of transparency, the fact that she makes freely available personally identifying information about herself, the fact that the case at the university has yet to be settled and yet she is currently stirring up a campaign of hate against the professor, and the frankly ridiculous description of her own suicide attempt.

Why on earth would she put information like that on the web for all to see. If the email referenced does actually exist then go to a pro bono lawyer and they'll sort you out as simple as 1, 2, 3 winning you a sizable settlement especially if there is a case of attempted suicide.

Now if what she says doesn't any merit then you would expect her to be stirring up a campaign of defamation on the net where the truth is ever elusive.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

hmmm... that is a strange link there. It's hard to tell with this kinds of things, but I tend to be too credulous by default. It makes me sad that there are students out there who lie about these things, because some don't and some just don't say anything.

Yawn, the spawn of the devil is back with the delusion that his opinion means anything to us. What a bore.

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

heritagestudent wrote:

how did u come to the conclusion its a false accusation?

As was pointed out, I used the qualifier "may". Sending piles of outraged e-mails to someone, guilty or not, is vigilantism, and one of the reasons vigilantism is a bad thing is that innocent people can end up suffering. That, and everyone is entitled to due process, no matter how vile we think they are, and if this e-mail is real, Tassy would be a truly vile excuse for a human being.
But this being the Internet, "innocent until proven guilty" is nothing more than a quaint expression for those suckers beholden to the aforementioned due process. It's our eDuty as citizens of the world wide web to form faceless mobs and let possible transgressors know EXACTLY what we think of their alleged crimes.

By St. Tabby Lavalamp (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

I live just across the river from this "college". I wonder if a public protest outside the college might attract a little more attention to the homophobia that's being allowed on this campus.

So. Very. Disgusting.

Hmmm.... if anyone here is close to Ottawa/Gatineau and wants to help get a group together to picket, please e-mail me @ saucy111 at gmail dot com. (If it's too difficult to get the appropriate permissions/permits for Quebec, we can always have a nice picket on Parliament Hill.)

Not letting lesbians become gynaecologists would be reasonable? Srsly?

Only if straight men were equally forbidden to become gynecologists. And, I suppose, straight women and gay men were not allowed to become urologists. In the real world, as opposed to some nursing instructor's dirty mind, the sexual orientation of your health care provider doesn't matter because most of us are able to distinguish between our patients and our sexual partners and know that the two groups should NEVER overlap.

Matt Heath @247:

btw I can't see any obvious smoking gun in the "debunking" linked by John @#241. What should I be looking for?

I didn't see anything either, and I skimmed that whole thing from stem to stern. I saw a lot of reflexive "it must be bullshit" claims but nothing to back up those claims.

I am documentary filmmaker doing preliminary research for a film about situations like this. If you have a similar, verifiable story please contact me.

By Philip Sportel (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

I'm noticing that the comments are running in a cyclic pattern of about 100 posts;

how horrible
lets send letters
oh - um hey, there's something on reddit
maybe we should be a little skeptical
I just got here - how horrible!

Let's start off with some critical thinking before we assume that the instructor is guilty.

Let's not take the student's word for something without corroborating evidence.

And let's not attack someone who might be innocent.

Hmmm...My skeptic meter is flashing!!! This is something that media, especially local media (I live in the area) would have jumped all over....yet I have heard nothing about this.

That is not to say that it did not occur, but we shold perhaps look into this a little more deeply before we start lobbing bombs.

By Eire_rich (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

I found something peculiar in her letters. If the teacher went to the myspace and the students sexual orientation was not posted on it (as she claims) then how did the teacher know she is a lesbian?

I am documentary filmmaker doing preliminary research for a film about situations like this

Yeah, I make films about lesbian nurses too. Well, at least, I'd like to... So any lesbian nurses out there, please contact me, not the other guy who left no contact info. Oh drat.

I downloaded and examined the supposed screenshots of two of the emails from the Hotmail account. I focused specifically on the "From", "Sent" and "To" header lines. On both images, the baselines of the header lines are 18 pixels apart. Also on both of these images, the email addresses of Tassy Kingsley are shown with their baseline one pixel above the baseline of the header description, once as "From" and once as "To". Also, as mentioned in another comment, the "y" and "g" in one address appear to have been cropped along the bottom edge, losing two lines of pixels. In my judgement, both of these images have been faked, with Tassy Kingsley's email addresses pasted in place of the actual addresses used. I call Shenanigans!

Now, regarding Pete Rooke's little comment about "…that sapphic love was just an excuse for putting on weight." Please, Pete, tell me that you are not actually that fucking stupid. I have had great hopes for you, thinking that exposure to ideas here might help you to question the dogma that you so rigidly hold from your Catholic upbringing. I guess I was wrong. For evidence against your supposition about lesbians, might I present as Exhibit A, one Portia de Rossi. I'm sure you'll detest her rather sarcastic "Sorry about that marriage thing" public service announcement, but at least you'll be able to see that she is definitely not overweight.

Is she actually a lesbian? Or is it just fashionable like Lohnan.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Okay, I read the ENTIRE letter, something PZ was probably not made privy to. This lady is a serious drama queen and quite frankly if I had read the entire letter I think I would have been shocked to see it here. You've been had PZ. Sorry to say. The sad thing is that stuff like this actually does happen and so when a nut case goes running around pumping up accounts and filling them with baloney it just makes life harder for those who are dealing with bigotry for real. It sounds like this girl was dishonest about the reason why she failed clinical and I have written her off. I am sad because of the damage this has made for those who actually face bigotry. This woman is not one of them.

@kate #256

A public protest? Ask yourself these questions first:

What evidence do you have that the teacher is homophobic?

How would you feel if someone accused you of homophobia (and I assume that you are not), and organised a protest outside your place of work? Even if you are innocent, don't you think that might have a deleterious effect on your career and relationships?

I'm not saying that the story is fabricated, just that we don't have enough evidence to conclude it is genuine.

Sheesh. People, can we please have a little more balance and scepticism? We're supposed to be reasonable individuals; it's the other guys that are supposed to be the credulous mob.

Pete asked:

Is she actually a lesbian? Or is it just fashionable like Lohnan.

I suppose that to get a definitive answer, you'd have to ask her wife, Ellen DeGeneres.

Pete Rooke - you're getting less and less amusing with your actual, real, proven homophobia.

By St. Tabby Lavalamp (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Eric #260 wrote:

Let's start off with some critical thinking before we assume that the instructor is guilty.
Let's not take the student's word for something without corroborating evidence.
And let's not attack someone who might be innocent.

I agree. When I read this before bed last night my original instincts were that something seems a bit fishy here. The situation the student describes is almost 'too good' (from the standpoint of victim status) -- and now the essay Rooke reposted doesn't give me a lot of confidence in the mental status of the writer. But I don't always trust my instincts, and shouldn't.

Not enough information. I think PZ has jumped the gun on this one, even if it turns out that he's right. As it is, it could go either way -- I suggest holding off on any protests.

Hmmm...My skeptic meter is flashing!!! This is something that media, especially local media (I live in the area) would have jumped all over....yet I have heard nothing about this.
That is not to say that it did not occur, but we shold perhaps look into this a little more deeply before we start lobbing bombs.

QFT. What is being claimed by the student is very serious; the claim that she is making it up is also very serious. If we're going to pile on, one way or the other, we should try know what has actually happened.

...I'm not sure anymore. Are we in 2009 or 1950?

I can't believe this is happening in my Canada, of all places.

By Michelle R (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Michelle R:

I can't believe this is happening in my Canada, of all places.

To save you having to read all the comments, it very possibly isn't.

Dan #268

I suppose that to get a definitive answer, you'd have to ask her wife, Ellen DeGeneres.

{shakes head}

You're thinking about Portia de Rossi.

You're thinking about Portia de Rossi.

Yes, it seems I mistakenly thought that Pete was referring to my reference about Portia in my comment directly above his.

I focused specifically on the "From", "Sent" and "To" header lines. On both images, the baselines of the header lines are 18 pixels apart. Also on both of these images, the email addresses of Tassy Kingsley are shown with their baseline one pixel above the baseline of the header description, once as "From" and once as "To". Also, as mentioned in another comment, the "y" and "g" in one address appear to have been cropped along the bottom edge, losing two lines of pixels. In my judgement, both of these images have been faked, with Tassy Kingsley's email addresses pasted in place of the actual addresses used. I call Shenanigans!

The only other possible way the pixels could have been shaved off is if they were clipped by the bounding box, however I've never seen that happen in an ordinary table cell with the default font size, which this appers to be, browsers are generally coded to avoid this.

If you are going to keep twisting my words into a much stronger assertion than I'm making, then sure, there's no way to justify the caricature you're making.

If I simply misread you, then I am sorry. But you looked like one of the postmodern 'everything is just fraud' folks so I responded to you like you were.

I don't want to go on a rant here, but America's foreign policy makes about as much sense as Beowulf having sex with Robert Fulton at the first battle of Antietam. I mean, when a neoconservative defenestrates it's like Raskolnikov filibuster deoxymonohydroxinate.

Yes, it seems I mistakenly thought that Pete was referring to my reference about Portia in my comment directly above his.

Ah, right. Sorry. I have Pete kill-filed, and I try and ignore troll sub-threads, but I should have looked at the context before commenting.

I really wish PZ would get rid of the trolls. They stink the place out.

Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is illegal in Canada - even in Quebec. That's not to say it never happens of course. If the Instructor sent those emails then there is very good case against her and the school.

The email chain is posted on Flicker and I note that the early emails (that provide reasonable criticisms of late work) use the school email system tkingsley-at-cegep-heritage.qc.ca. The two homophobic ones use a different email tassymk-at-rogers.ca.

The College has asked the CCSR to conduct an external investigation:

March 23, 2009
Heritage College in Gatineau is writing to inform you of its position in the matter of Ms. Ninoska Garcia-Ortiz, referred to by you in an email to Cathy Dufour on March 17.

Ms. Ninoska Garcia-Ortiz has filed complaints with various agencies against Heritage College and against the nursing department, which she is accusing of harassment, discrimination, and homophobia.

These are allegations that we have taken very seriously: as soon as we became aware of her charges, we asked the Centre collégial des services regroupés (CCSR) to conduct an external investigation. We are currently awaiting the results of this investigation.

Please be assured that our institution would never accept harassment or discriminatory or homophobic behaviour by its administrative and teaching staff or its students. On the contrary, we advocate and convey values of openness and acceptance, which is the only way to ensure that people get along harmoniously.

We hope this explanation meets your expectations.

Sincerely,
Jo Anne Werner

Academic Dean
Heritage College
325, boul. Cité des jeunes
Gatineau, Québec J8Y 6T3

I am suspicious of one sided stories and reserve judgement until something more substantive comes out. I would certainly recommend against sending the college spam or pornographic hate email

Heritage Nursing is run by Dufour
Where homophobia is du jour
Will you get it?
Or do you think I’ll forget it?
Perhaps a drop in enrollment should occur.

Nursing program head e-mail: cdufour@cegep-heritage.qc.ca

By Michael Lauer (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

As a program coordinator, I have seen at least one teacher pushed out because of assertions that were one sided. It is every teacher's nightmare to be accused of sexual misconduct since the pitchforks and ropes are out before the other side of the claims can be heard.

I think PZ may well have been had on this one and I echo the posts encouraging folks to wait for more information. Perhaps the best plan of action is to STFU for now.

@281

*facepalm*

Eric (#260) was so right.

"I myself am not homophobic at all, but"

Is always followed by an obvious statement or action that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the person making the statement is homophobic. There is even a stronger correlation here than there is with the ID supporter who makes the "I am not a creationist but..." statement.

By dogmeatib (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

DanJ,
it's irrelevant but I was in fact referring to the person you referred to in your post above my post.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

And I would like to apologise for that comment of mine.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

sue the school for discrimination, deflamation of character, mental anguish and whatever else... you'll probably never HAVE to work again

On closer examination, the baseline of the From: address line appears to be offset upward one pixel WRT to the rest of the line--the crossber of the "t" in "tassymk" is one pixel below the top line of the "F" in "From:", but looking at the "To:" line, the crossbar of the "t" in "ortiz" is two pixels below the top line of the "T" in "To:". Further, the "g" in the From: line is clipped off below the first row below the baseline, but the parentheses in the To: line extend two rows below the baseline and are intact. If the bounding box clipped a "g" that decended two below a baseline that was already offset one pixel upward, the "To" line's bounding box ought to have clipped the parentheses as well.

The story about the lesbian nursing student appears to be a complete sham. There was a lot of Internet detective work going on behind the scenes by some active web users and it would appear the prof/instructor is being trashed and her reputation destroyed by a person that should be in a psychiatric hospital and not a place of higher education. As I read the story published by salon.com it appeared too over-the-top to be real. It definitely had shock value. I'm very surprised salon.com ran it without doing any further research and getting official statements seeing as it's posting real names/contact info that would likely result in some pretty nasty hate-mail, etc.

By ottawabwb (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Er crossbar, not crossber, obviously.

And I would like to apologise for that comment of mine.

Please be more specific, Pastor Pete. You say so many stupid and offensive things, it's hard to know which one you're apologizing for.

Re-reading what I wrote above, what I meant to say is that the From address is offset one pixel upward WRT to the rest of the line.

it's irrelevant but I was in fact referring to the person you referred to in your post above my post.

Ah, I thought so, but couldn't be quite certain.

At any rate, I can't quite see anyone (outside of a number of emotionally disturbed individuals) describing themselves as a homosexual unless it were, in fact, true. My reasoning for this is that there is still very much an air of discrimination and hostility toward homosexuals in many areas. To "out" oneself to the public at large is a very brave (and possibly dangerous) thing to do, IMO.

Not sure what to think. I agree with SmallCollegeProf that it is entirely possible to fail someone for legit reasons (or "legit" reasons, too) without leaving a paper trail though.

For my senior art show, I mentioned my atheism in my artist statement in relation to how it influenced my choices of subject matter. Christians in that school did that all the time, so I felt I too should have the right to mention how my skeptical world-view influenced my own work.

So I get this e-mail from my one teacher asking me to come down to school on my day off to dicuss it. (Mind you, I live about 30 miles from campus one-way, so driving down just for a short meeting is asking a lot.) Won't write a word about anything specific, just drive down tomorrow so we can talk about your statement.

I went on the offensive immediately, which some might say was a knee-jerk reaction (probably was). Sent an e-mail back, carefully composed and considered in Word first, that I hope this isn't about the admission of atheism, plus some argumentation against the possibility that it was. Let myself cool down before sending it, so I had plenty of opportunity to edit out any knee-jerk anger and send a more rational letter.

So I get there the next day, and I get some legitimate criticism that could easily have been e-mailed to me--something about the need to fix the tone so I don't sound so defensive. Nothing that required a sixty-mile round trip on a limited college budget when gas was $4, just for a 10/15 minute face-to-face meeting.

Perhaps I knee-jerked, but to this day I have some suspicion that yes, my admission of atheism was exactly what she wanted to talk about and that's why she didn't want to discuss it over e-mail, where there would be a paper-trail. And when I got on the offensive, I think I scared her with the idea that I might fight over. And it's not like I'd made my atheism a big secret, though I didn't run around trumpeting it either. And despite being a religously-founded university, I have strong suspicion of a number of atheists or fairly free-thinking theists on the faculty, so she might have thought that this was one she wouldn't win if I chose to pursue it.

I could be wrong. Those are just my suspicions. But this teacher wouldn't even hint about why she wanted to discuss my art statement, just insisted that I come meet face-to-face about it. I found that strange, and I found it even stranger (and frustrating) when I got nothing from the meeting that couldn't have been e-mailed.

Seems strange that this Tassy teacher couldn't manage the same, seeing as how she sounds like she's been teaching there considerably longer than my own teacher. On the other hand, sometimes bigotted people can get sloppy (perhaps because some of them believe they are being completely reasonable) and if she knew the school would back her 100% (decidedly giving her the upper-hand in all things) she might not have thought it through on that point.

By Demonhype (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

The comment in which I likened lesbianism to fad that celebrities engage in for publicity.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Makes me sick that these people have actually driven the poor girl to suicide.

Literally. I want to throw up.

Skemoko #133

Has anyone else noticed that in the picture with the letter that PZ quoted, the "From" field of the e-mail looks wrong? The e-mail address isn't on the same level as the "From" tag itself (it's a little bit higher), and some of the letters are cut off at the bottom.

Frankly, it looks almost like someone copied that text and pasted it over the actual "From" field, and didn't do that great a job of it at that

Good eyes. I have zoomed in and drawn some reference lines, it's off a pixel:
http://img17.imageshack.us/img17/6411/ninoskforgeryd.gif
Obviously a fake. No wonder they want to access her computer.

#295 @ Lowell

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

As a Canadian, I must apologize for our whack-a-loons. It is also a regrettable situations that the unfortunate young lady is in. However, she is in quebec, which is in my opinion the "texas" of the north. Its a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there.

The preface to the idiotic comments reminds me of a situation with a gentleman where I used to work. A young rising star in the company was in the process of joining a popular local country club (golf club) a great place to bring/meet clients in our industry.

A superior of mine was on the board of directors at this club. He came to me discreetly and said "We're considering approving Barry, however I need to know something. Not that it matters, but is he Jewish? He looks Jewish." To which I looked at him cockeyed, and said I wasn't sure but I'd find out for him. Then I stood up in my cubicle, and shouted out with my hands cupped around my mouth "Hey Barry, are you Jewish? Bob needs to know if you're Jewish before the board decides if you can get into their country club!"

I figured Barry should know they were asking before he committed to paying an insane amount of money to an association full of bigots. And I figured that Bob would be embarrassed into approving Barry if everyone knew he was asking. And if I had 10 witnesses in our department, Bob couldn't do a thing to punish me.

Worked out nicely in the end. Barry joined the club, and introduced himself to all the board members as "Jewish Barry." He said if he declined to join, he'd just be giving them what they wanted. And now, years later, Barry is Bob's boss, heading the entire region while Bob still supervises one department.

I would say that if someone prefaces a question with "Not that it matters, but is he Jewish?" It means that it matters if he's Jewish.

Likewise, if someone prefaces a statement with "I'm not homophobic, but...." it means they're homophobic.

Just sent the following to the dean, associate dean and head of nursing:

Dear Sirs/Madams

I have just read a blog article which describes a horrendous saga of discrimination taking place at your college against a nursing student, Ninoska Garcia-Ortiz. The situation as laid out in what I've read filled me with dismay.

Personally, I've always felt it necessary to hear both sides of a dispute before I pass any form of judgement, so I write you with a great deal of hope that there is indeed more to this than has thus far been made public, and that your administration has acted with the careful thought, good judgement and compassion that I have come to expect, both from academics and from my fellow Canadians.

From the outside, this does not appear to be the case; the story making the rounds is one which fills me with shame at the actions described, and outrages my sense of self as a Canadian on the world stage. Our international reputation is one which does not include this kind of abusive institutional culture, and I urge you, regardless of the specifics of the situation, to put this problem to rest in a way which restores and confirms our national image as a nation of thoughtful, kind and compassionate citizens.

Sincerely, etc etc

As a past student of that very same Heritage College, in Hull Quebec, I can only say that while the administration never made themselves to be overly helpful, its beyond me how something this unethical was allowed, period.

And because I left three years ago, and most of my teachers are still teaching, they're going to be getting letters from me demanding action on their end. There are too many good teachers there to let something this ugly slide.

By Viki Bristowe (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

What a pile of bullshit you are, Rookie. After I came to your defense on the Survivor:Pharyngula threads you have to spout out that canard of women becoming lesbians so that they could become fat. (But I also have to add, I want you around so that we could laugh at you.) Please, do not let reality stand in the way of such a profound statement. Let's ignore all of the overweight straight women. And even better, let's ignore all of the lesbians who are of average weight or skinny.

Rookie, your problem is that you do not allow real life to enter into your pronouncement.

Also, making argument from what vain celebrates do does not count as points on your side of an argument.

By Janine, Insult… (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

A great many women have gone to a heterosexual male gynecologist. Not many people have a problem with that. How could having a lesbian nurse be any worse?

There was a former cow-irker who didn't want a female ob/gyn because she (the ob/gyn) might be a lesbian and cow-irker wouldn't want a lesbian doing an exam on her.

Nice catch, Quidam. I think there can be no doubt that those e-mails did not come from the teacher's address (if indeed it is her address).

That's very much a smoking gun, which suggests that the whole thing may very well be a fabrication.

It also explains why the student's computers were confiscated, as there is a good chance that evidence of image manipulation will be found on them.

Well, she failed to kill herself and she's supposed be a nurse with medical knowledge, so maybe there is some truth. LOL

disgraceful.

Eric @260 writes:

Let's start off with some critical thinking before we assume that the instructor is guilty.

Ninoska wrote:

She failed me in my Pediatrics clinical rotation

Tassy (allegedly) wrote:

Your sexual orientation is something important that patients have a right to know so that they can decide if they wish to have you as their caregiver.

I don't know about any of you, but I cannot imagine ANY nursing instructor, no matter how homophobic, giving a nursing student advice to discuss their sexual orientation with any patient, let alone a pediatric patient. This whole things smells.

By woo woozy (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Skemono in #133 is completely right. The screenshot is fake.

Graphically:

Original screenshot:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/36800888@N02/3391775680/sizes/o/in/set-721…

Missing pixels from 'y' and 'g':

http://i41.tinypic.com/11u7n87.jpg

Incorrect text alignment:

http://i43.tinypic.com/29xg1td.jpg

Hypothesis: the instructor's email address in the 'from' field was cut from another screenshot (hence the missing pixels), and pasted into this one (hence the wrong alignment). Classic c&p.

By demre from Reddit (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

sorry, but something stinks here. I don't believe this is happening here in quebec.

I work in the health care industry and I can guarantee that sexual orientation has nothing to do with quality of care.

I am far more concerned with general incompetence than what someone likes to do in their bedroom. There are nurses who supervise entire shifts that I wouldn't let care for me if I were bleeding to death. However there are many, many nurses that I know are homosexual who I would trust with my life and the lives of any of my family.

Sexual orientation is irrelevant and the author of that letter is a homophobic moron.

By One Eyed Jack (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

P.S.

Along with others, I am also skeptical of the validity of this letter. It does not seem genuine.

By One Eyed Jack (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

In light of recent detective work, I wonder if someone with a hot-line to PZ can get him to amend the original post. Might stop the vigilantism.

Just sent them this to their Director General

dg@cegep-heritage.qc.ca

Perhaps you could explain how sexual orientation affects nursing & why you decided to flunk a student because of hers?

Perhaps you'd like to tell me your orientation to "make me more comfortable" while I write to you!

I am stunned at this decision of yours! Perhaps you'd like to stop heterosexual female nurses tending heterosexual men?

What about bisexual patients? Are they to have no nursing whatsoever?

Your institution is a laughing stock worldwide and I think you should re-instate the poor girl and get rid of "Tassy" post haste!

By Les Hemmings (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Got to agree with the skeptics here PZ- lets get both sides of the story before playing judge and jury.

First the copy of all the emails on Flickr. The student knew it was her fault that she was in danger of losing marks for a late assignment, and had come up with a Byzantine way of getting it in.

Second this is the site that Nioska linked to to pass on her homework.

http://www.myspace.com/ninoskaxx

I'm very liberal when it comes to sex, and nothing on it offended me. However is a site with flickering images, many of which include underwear clad women, and lesbian kissing, with an 'artistic-erotic' background REALLY the ideal way to hand in work to a lecturer? I would not use this to impart an important message to my boss, and she is a lesbian. I wouldn't even use it for the office letch, because it is inappropriate.

"Why did you go to my site?" She asked the teacher to.

Also emails are easy to fake with some programmes- you can type directly into the received mail, or edit the "From" part.

Doctors notes. If you are claiming illness as a reason for missing work/want some form of credit for work not done due to illness, then a sick certificate is standard. I'm fairly sure that the ones in the UK have a line for the illness.

Have we got the College side of the story anywhere? Or are they keeping it 'sub-judace' while they investigate to avoid prejudice.

'-ist' is an easy thing to throw. I have been accused of being a racist by people who didn't like what I was telling them. My wife told me of an employee whose standard answer to a manager who criticised him was "It's because I'm gay". I would point out that the student said she prayed, and the teacher (apparently also religeous) said that this was incompatable with many faiths. If she had said "praying won't help", no doubt we would be laughing a 'Christian martyr'.

Not very skeptical for a skeptic, PZ.

By Last Hussar (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

XD #316 wrote:

In light of recent detective work, I wonder if someone with a hot-line to PZ can get him to amend the original post. Might stop the vigilantism.

Yes, because there might be some people who don't even read the very last post in Comments before they post something in Comments. Maybe.

"I am not a homophobe."

Reminds me of Bill Maher's New Rule: "When you say you're not comparing someone to Hitler, you're comparing them to Hitler. This week (November 14, 2008), a Georgia congressman said, "I'm not comparing Obama to Adolf Hitler. What I'm saying is there's the potential of going down that road." Well, Congressman, I'm not comparing your head to a butt-plug, but it does seem to spend a lot of time up your ass."

Not sure what you are saying there, Sastra.

To clarify, what I meant was that people seem to be reading the OP and posting a comment (e.g. #317), and therefore an addendum to the OP is in order. I expect that if I was to e-mail PZ, it would end up in the "e-mail from unknown person, perhaps a crazy Catholic" folder, but that if someone with a Molly would e-mail him, it might be diverted to a "trusted e-mails" folder, and he might be guaranteed to read it.

Maybe you could help out?

The email was fake. The entire thing is a setup, perpetuated by some immature little girl who is trying to use the internet as her personal army.

Here is some detective work:
http://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/8a5xe/the_homophobic_quebec_nursin…

It's fake. Do not do this girl's dirty work. Always verify your stories. This story had no coverage at all, anywhere. That is usually a pretty bad sign. If you can only find one source on a story, from the person who posted it, BE WARY.

Fucking christ on a stick:

Perhaps PZ might indeed do well to post some sort of caviat on this thing.Sastra@319 makes a good point that people do not read all of this thread or even the last 20 posts. Sure enough, Les@ 317 advocates a sharp letter be sent.

Once again it would be wise to STFU until there are more data.

XD #321 wrote:

Not sure what you are saying there, Sastra.

Sorry, my post wasn't clear. I was agreeing with you, and subtly (too subtly) referring to the post right after yours at #316.

I really don't think PZ would get to my email any faster than he'd get to yours, and, if he runs his eyes down these comments (which he usually does I think), he'll notice that some skepticism is probably in line here. I see a bunch of red flags, including, I admit, that reference in her dramatic essay to Indigo Children. Unless it's used sarcastically, that's like referencing the Illuminati.

Sorry, my post wasn't clear.

Actually, I think I was just being a bit slow.

;-)

An addition has been made to the top of the post.

I would have caught this earlier, except that I had to spend a big chunk of my morning cleaning up after a certain certifiable lunatic who was spamming the site. (118 comments from Mabus! What a nut.)

PZ Added a caveat to the story above.

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

@ #294

I found that strange, and I found it even stranger (and frustrating) when I got nothing from the meeting that couldn't have been e-mailed.

I don't know if it's true at the school you attended, but at my college, we're very specifically warned against discussing grades or other sensitive matters over phone or email because of the potential for FERPA violations. When we don't have the student physically there in the office, we don't have an ironclad guarantee that we're actually speaking with the student herself.

As the case on this thread may have demonstrated, it is remarkably easy to fake identity over email and have it pass muster on first inspection. People also share emails, or don't always keep their email passwords private. It creates inconvenience for students and faculty alike, but it can also prevent some ugly situations. And, as you noted, it means that there may not be a paper trail, which presents its own difficulties.

If this really is a hoax then that girl is going to get some amount of hate mail from people... and talk about making things difficult for people with legit discrimination claims. That seems very vindictive indeed.

Well, I got punked by this article, as many others did. This is upsetting, but oh well, life goes on!!

Still, its fracking hot to think about LESBIAN NURSES!!!!!

Now my mind is polluted for the day...again!

Good move PZ.

Thanks, PZ. Maybe more scepticism next time?

kthxbye ;-)

The College is a very small school. The second year Nursing class consists of 17 students. The whole Nursing faculty consists of about 6 teachers. The College is run with a very small town mentality. Procedure and protocol exist only on paper. There is no student ombudsman.

Why have I gone public? Because it isn't until something like this happens that you learn just how difficult it is to use resources that are supposed to help when things like this happen. I live in Gatineau, Quebec, which is 5 minutes from Ottawa, Ontario. Legal aid and pro bono lawyers that practice in Ontario have not been called to the Quebec Barr. Finding a lawyer has become the biggest challenge until recently.

As I started the appeals process, I concurrently started a human rights claim with the Quebec Human Rights. However, because the appeals process is still "pending" with the College, the Quebec Human Rights commission will not act until the appeal is resolved.

I am not ashamed of my sexual orientation, and would never deny it if asked, but it is also something that I do not go out of my way to inform others. I truly believe my preference is mine, and I owe no explanation of justification to anyone - especially those not directly involved or impacted by my preference. The event that turned this situation from an academic appeal into a legal issue was when the College felt it was their place to address the Nursing students to inform them of the fact that a student - and they IDENTIFIED ME BY NAME - was suing the college for homophobia. At that point, it was still just an academic appeal.

When you dissect someone's life critically enough you will always find something to fault them over. A google search will turn up various of my pieces written for my "creative writing" class. I will also turn up papers written for my sociology of health, and sociology of the family, which interestingly have not been mentioned here - I guess it doesn't fit into the agenda of "debunking" my story. There are also many formal and informal lab reports for anatomy, organic chemistry and microbiology.

I am not the perfect student. But I am not the worst either. I am also an older student. I've spent my whole life in academia. I know the penalty for handing in late assignments. I also know that a late assignment does not merit getting kicked out of a program. In fact, all who insist that all stories have more than one side, are in fact very correct. When I received the fail at my clinical evaluation, the academic dean was also present, and I asked her the same question. How can you dismiss a student from a program over "wrinkled uniform, rudeness and rolling her eyes"? Especially, when her grades (objective elements) don't justify the action being taken?

There will always be those who feel their mission in life is to continue victimizing those who have been mutilated to pieces. While you analyze and play around with pixels, or photoshop; your opinion and impression is not only irrelevant, but also a validation that the actions of the clinical teacher will continue to happen because they will always have someone condoning and protecting them. As I told the College when they demanded my computer, at my lawyers advice, they have been handed in to the RCMP. Additionally, a simple court request of server traffic analysis can also validate the legitimacy of all emails.

As someone who is computer literate, it would be INCREDIBLY STUPID to falsify or fabricate claims that can be disproven.

I just wanted to finish my program, so I could move onto the next phase of my life. My sexual orientation was shared with only one teacher. From one, it went to the whole Nursing faculty. The "investigation" has been degrading, humiliating and disgusting. The fact that a student's sexuality is on the negotiation table hasn't made anybody ask what the fuck are we doing? I would have preferred to have been raped, because at least with rape it's just between me and the rapist. Something that was supposed to be discreet and private has become open season. Why would a school feel the need to inform a class?

Today, it's me. But one day, it will be one of yours.

Ninoska #334 wrote:

There will always be those who feel their mission in life is to continue victimizing those who have been mutilated to pieces.

We simply don't have enough information to support either side yet. Playing around with possible scenarios is not attacking someone, and there have been cases where the person deeply victimized has been the accused.

There are plenty of people who are more than willing to support you, if you're right. Don't worry about that. But knee-jerk reactions by strangers to something they've only read a little bit about on the internet isn't very valuable as support, in the long run.

Ninoska, what explanation can you give regarding the odd placement of the "From" address in the incriminating emails?

Also, why didn't you just email your assignment, rather than put it on your web-page and request your teacher visit it? You say that you are not computer illiterate, but you don't know how to send an attachment? You can surely understand our suspicion.

Also, PZ, can you check the IP address which 'Ninoska' is using, and see if it corresponds to any other posters here (I'm thinking specifically of heritagestudent #184. We don't know if this 'Ninoska' is genuine or not, and if not, I'm sure the real Ninoska would appreciate the verification.

Good to hear from you Ninoska. Unfortunately, other than declare that it would be incredibly stupid to forge emails you haven't explained why the images you post as supporting evidence have clearly been tampered with
ttp://img17.imageshack.us/img17/6411/ninoskforgeryd.gif
http://img17.imageshack.us/img17/7974/ninoskforgery2.gif
http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/4312/ninoskforgery3.gif

While you analyze and play around with pixels, or photoshop; your opinion and impression is not only irrelevant, but also a validation that the actions of the clinical teacher will continue to happen because they will always have someone condoning and protecting them

Analyzing supporting evidence is not 'playing around'. The emails are the hard evidence you rely on to make your case. Misalignment of pasted addresses clearly shows they have been tampered with. This casts serious doubt on their authenticity.

Of course the College must to initiate an enquiry, what else could they possibly do? They have no choice. It's being conducted by an external agency and undoubtedly if your claim holds up and email records confirm your story, you will be vindicated.

It stopped being discreet and private and became 'open season' when you decided to blog about it and post the pictures on Flickr. The College has been very discreet.
Next you'll be claiming that the pictures of your mastectomy are personal and private.

"While you analyze and play around with pixels, or photoshop; your opinion and impression is not only irrelevant, but also a validation that the actions of the clinical teacher will continue to happen because they will always have someone condoning and protecting them."

Actually, it's people trying to gather evidence rather than jumping to a conclusion either way. Evidence is non-biased, even if it doesn't show what you want it to show. I'm not saying I don't believe you (or that I do) because I'm not involved in the situation. But please don't assume sinister motivations where there may be none. Evidence (that you have freely provided) is entirely relevant and that's what these commenters were trying to provide as there is a serious lack of it so far. It's not reasonable for anyone not involved in the situation to make an assumption either way.

"I would have preferred to have been raped, because at least with rape it's just between me and the rapist. ... Today, it's me. But one day, it will be one of yours."

You started off so well and reasonable. Emotional ranting doesn't make your statements any more true. Loud and dramatic doesn't equal correct and it is off-putting. I think many of us understand what it's like to be persecuted for personal characteristics that are irrelevant to our jobs.

I hope that everything works out and the relevant evidence is objectively discovered and analyzed to produce a judicious result. My unsolicited advice is to let the legal system take its course. It's frustrating and slow, but ultimately you will be helping your case by appearing responsible and well-reasoned. Although, much of the damage has been done...

Quelle surprise, the Flickr page is now "Not Found".

Shenanigans!

Dear Madam,
Through this letter I wish to register a formal complaint against the Nursing Program at Heritage College, in Gatineau, Quebec. I am a second year student in that very program who was dismissed. My dismissal from the program was not only unfair and unjust, but also a direct violation of basic rights guaranteed to me under Heritage College Policy #6, which I would like to point out is modeled after Article 10 of the Canadian Human Rights Charter.
My position is that I was not only unfairly treated throughout the whole semester, but also systematically humiliated, harassed and discriminated against. Despite my ability to tolerate these actions, and my careful attempts to modify my behavior to the point of no longer asking questions in class for fear that the desire to learn may be viewed as me challenging the instructor; by always using neutral and professional language; and by censoring all my actions, interactions and communication, I nevertheless failed to take precautions against the creation of fallacies and irresponsible lies that would ultimately be used to achieve my elimination from the program. I am aware that the allegations I am making are serious: I do not make them lightly at all. I am no longer entertaining the possibility that perhaps the actions against me are benign, and I am misunderstanding. Instead I believe with certainty that all the elements leading to my unsatisfactory grade and evaluation are based on lies, malicious intent, and discriminatory practices.

The Nursing Program at Heritage College is one that embraces corruption, and despite the fact that as an educational institution, under Article 55, they are under the legislative authority of Québec to comply with the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, Heritage College allows this program to function irresponsibly, with no accountability for their violation of rights, and disregard to the Canadian Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses.

The program’s position is that I was dismissed due to failure to meet the competencies required for my Pediatric clinical rotation. The main infractions they cited were “disrespect” and “rudeness”. These accusations are difficult to disprove as it is always the person in power who is in the position to become offended, whether an actual offence occurred or not. If one dissects critically enough, fault will always be found, no matter how miniscule. The mistakes and faults I committed during my learning experience are within the scope of any student. At no time during my clinical experience did I ever place any patients’ lives or safety in danger.

My whole academic career has been under the belief that the role of an instructor is to help, teach, guide and share their skills. My legitimate desire to gain knowledge and absorb as much as possible to appease my passion for Health Sciences is what guaranteed my honesty in admitting when I lacked knowledge and experience. Initially, I never associated any shame in asking questions. It quickly became apparent that my questions where not being interpreted as a desire to learn, rather a challenge, as quite often, they did not possess the knowledge to answer them. Intimidation and emotional maltreatment became an acceptable standard. Despite the daily increasing anxiety and stress, I managed to retain my integrity and continued to show neutral respect to my superiors whether or not I was being shown the same respect.

The aspects of my complaint related to Article 10 of the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms that are based on discrimination and harassment due to sexual orientation include:

•Wednesday, November 12 - After and exchange of emails between myself and my clinical instructor (Appendix A, Appendix B & Appendix C), Kathleen Wainwright-Kingsley, I agreed to hand in an assignment to another teacher who would kindly drop it off at my instructor's house. Due to the fact that I was late in handing in the assignment, I further offered to also email the assignment, and post it online with a password option so that only she could access it (Appendix D). Her response was an email of chastisement, reminding me of my responsibilities, and she did not indicate any interest in receiving it by email, or retrieving it online (Appendix E). She received the assignment the next day (Appendix F).

On Tuesday, November 18, I received an email from my instructor stating that she accessed my website, and that the content was "inappropriate" (Appendix G). I responded by asking why was she accessing my site 6 days after she had received the assignment, when she obviously had no reason to access it. I further asked for clarification as to what specifically she found "inappropriate", as at the time, the site contained a collection of links to Nursing resources, creative writing, and social causes (Appendix H). I did not receive a response to this email. After consulting with Student Services, it was decided that the best platform to enquire about her statement would be in the presence of a third party.

At the meeting, I again asked why she accessed the site when she no longer had permission, or any reason to access it. Her response was that she accessed it the evening I sent her the link, but waited 6 days to inform me that she found it inappropriate. This really confused me, and I revealed that my site has a tracker, and based on those reports, she accessed it 7 times between November 17 and 18, the IP address was indicated as Heritage College, it identified her as the user, and she navigated through the site for a total of 2 hours and 14 minutes. All this contradicted her position. I didn’t understand why she would visit the site 7 times if she found it offensive. I then insisted in knowing what specifically she found offensive. She indicated that I had listed personal information about myself, more specifically my sexual orientation, which she found unconventional and inappropriate.

I informed her that my website did not, and has never contained any personal information about me, as I strongly believe the internet is not the place to divulge personal information; however, EVEN IF my site did have this information listed, I failed to understand how it is inappropriate. I refused to deny or acknowledge my sexual orientation as I found it TOTALLY and COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT.

•Saturday, November 22 - My second last week of clinical, I asked if it would be possible to be assigned a female patient. Most of the patients I had received were males, and I felt I needed more experience with females. She instructed me to “leave [my] personal preferences at the door.” I asked what this meant, and she said it would not be appropriate to assign me a female patient. I again asked her what this meant, and she told me to lower my voice and that clinical was not the appropriate place to discuss the issue. The sexual insinuation was violently disgusting as the patients in question were children, not adults (Appendix kkk).

•Monday, November 10 - I was in the clinical instructor’s office asking a question about an assignment. At one point the topic of shift preference came up, and I said I preferred night shift over day shift. She said that as a nurse I would have to also work days. Not wanting to engage in a conversation with her, I said that it was just a preference, not a limitation. She responded that working nights wouldn’t be that hard for me since I shouldn’t be having children. I did not ask her to elaborate as it was clear to me that she was making reference to her opinion that as a lesbian, I should not have children.

I feel these complaints are also a violation of my right to respect of my private life (Part 1, Chapter 1, Article 4), as not only is my sexual orientation not at all relevant to my professional or academic life, it is also a private and personal part of my life that I do not feel comfortable discussing with those not directly involved in my sexual life. There was only one member of the Nursing faculty I chose to divulge my sexual orientation to, and the clinical instructor Kathleen Wainwright-Kingsley was not that person.

While recovering from an emotionally turbulent and draining period of my life, I prematurely re-integrated myself into academia. The all encompassing grief I was feeling over the death of a loved one was noticed by my first year clinical teacher who offered me the freedom to release the torturous feelings of depression. Unfortunately, during these times of duress, one is incapable of visualizing the clear boundary of appropriate and inappropriate sharing of information. And I shared with her my feelings of guilt and confusion, which is information that I would normally never share with others. At the time, due to the authority and power differential between instructor and student, I had a reasonable expectation of non-disclosure of this personal information. Therefore, I feel that no other member of the Nursing faculty should possess any knowledge over a topic discussed in a private setting. There is absolutely no reason any instructor should ever verbalize or address my sexual orientation, as it is information that was never shared with them, therefore; they are not entitled to retain it. Nursing instructor Kathleen Wainwright-Kingsley crossed a boundary not only by using this against me in the disgusting way in which she did, but also by further bringing it up in a non-private setting, in the presence of another who is also not entitled to possess that part of my private and intimate life.

My race, ethnicity, culture and heritage were also attacked:

•Saturday, November 22 - On my clinical floor, I was outside a patient room speaking to a lady from the housekeeping staff in Spanish. At the end of my day, I was writing my charting notes, and the clinical instructor approached me to tell me that she considered it rude to speak a foreign language when nobody else understood. She continued to say that she had heard me on numerous occasions speak Spanish with other students, and that she found it disrespectful. I responded that on these occasions, nobody could become offended, as there was no one else around. I also stated that they were never during class time, but generally during lunch hour, and they were not a public address to the class, but rather a private conversation. She insisted it was rude and disrespectful, and that my lack of insight was also rude and disrespectful. The emotional weight of the day did not give me any confidence to return to clinical the following day.

•Sunday, October 26 - I was engaged in a conversation with the patient that had been assigned to me that day, and we were discussing “asthma”. The patient's visitor shared a story with us about a cultural practice for alleviating the symptoms, and it reminded me of a Latin practice also meant to alleviate the respiratory symptoms. Asthmatics in Venezuela are encouraged to cohabitate with as many plants as possible as they are a natural way of filtering the air, but in my program they recommended the opposite. The instructor came in mid-way through the conversation, and she said that the reason they did such practices in Venezuela was because they "don't know any better... they are ignorant, and many don't even have electricity, so it's not like they can run an air purifier". The inability to respond to her misconception for fear of being considered "disrespectful" and "argumentative" upset me, and I excused myself from the room.

My religious beliefs were ridiculed and criticized:

•Saturday, October 25 – The clinical instructor repeatedly asked me when and where I would be taking my break. I continuously answered that I would be taking a private break. After being asked numerous times, I finally responded that due to being forced to do clinical on weekends, I was not able to observe the Sabbath. I informed her that my break would be spent in personal reflection, and silent prayer. She laughed at me and said, “Yeah, right!” (Appendix K).

•Sunday, November 2 – I was reporting to the clinical instructor on the patient I had been assigned that day. Part of my report included the fact that the parents did not wish for their child to receive any blood products. She asked me if I tried to convince them to change their minds. I responded that it was not my place to try to convince them, and I felt they had made an educated decision, fully aware of potential complications, as the mother of the child is a Physician herself. The instructor asked me what my opinion was on the issue, and I said I didn’t feel qualified to give an opinion as I did not have any children of my own, all I could do is provide information and attempt to answer their questions. The instructor became angry, and asked me if I was “one of those crazy Jehovah witnesses”.

Even though I am not a Jehovah Witness, I don’t feel I owe an explanation or justification of my religious beliefs. The course outline does not mention the importance or relevance of a student’s religion. Furthermore, to insult a religion, or religious practices and beliefs, is an unethical demonstration of intolerance. As Nurses, this is not our role.

As my confidence was gradually annihilated, attending classes became nauseatingly more difficult. But as the end of the semester approached, I began to feel relief that I had succeeded in tolerating and surpassing all the offences, insults, unfairness and injustice they threw at me. However, I failed to take into account that imaginary infractions, compounded by Neanderthalic biases, homophobia, personal prejudice and ignorant racism were just as damaging. Had I committed actions warranting my dismissal, I would not only take responsibility for those actions, but I would also use them as an indication that perhaps Health Science is not what I was born to do. I am astounded that despite my meticulous record keeping, the ability to produce relevant documents, and the inaccuracy and disgusting nature of the accusations, I am the one burdened to defend myself.

The actions I found most difficult to endure, were the heartbreaking incidents of harassment, as they confirmed that one teacher’s dislike of me had infected other members of the Nursing faculty.

•The constant disharmony, discord and tension when I attended classes is what finally made me decide to no longer asks questions, as every question I asked was systematically ridiculed, and some members of the Nursing Faculty adopted a teaching technique which consisted of ostracizing me in class.

•Tuesday, November 18 – I received an email from the lab teacher, Susie Mueller, informing me that my clinical instructor stated I had not been untruthful when I asked for clarification on a particular scenario. I responded to the lab teacher’s email informing her that the clinical instructor was mistaken (Appendix L), as I very clearly remembered the case. In fact, I felt that her version of the scenario was so ridiculously incorrect that I was surprised her account was being seriously entertained. I sent the clinical instructor an email asking her to please rectify the misconception she had planted (Appendix H). I did not receive a response. The following week in my lab class, the lab teacher was visibly uncomfortable around me. I asked her if she had spoken to my clinical instructor regarding the erroneous information, and she stated she “didn’t want to get involved”. I was confused by her response, and it indicated to me that the issue was not just a case of misunderstanding. I addressed this with the clinical instructor at a meeting at Student Services, and she stated that it was a mistake and that she was not going to discuss the issue with me. However, her version of the incident is not only on my Pediatrics clinical evaluation, but this was presented as fact to the Dean. I feel that by presenting this false information to others, and to misleadingly include it in my evaluation is not only unethical and unprofessional, but it violates my rights to safeguard my dignity, honor and reputation.

Additionally, the scatological evaluation I received for my Pediatrics rotation does not only merit to be removed from my academic file and destroyed, but disciplinary, if not legal, actions should be taken against the clinical instructor Kathleen Wainwright-Kingsley, and the Nursing Department at Heritage College. Not only for defamation of professional and ethical character, but academic misconduct and abuse of power. Each component for which I received an “Unsatisfactory”, represent a subjective impression based on dislike, bias, and the desire to marginalize me. All the elements of my evaluation that are based on actual facts, all the objective components were above standard. The elements for which I received “Unsatisfactory” are a form of harassment founded on incredibly ridiculous inconsistencies and half witted accusations:

•My uniform not being ironed and wearing long sleeves. My uniforms are not just ironed, but are also starched – ALWAYS! Even though this is not an actual requirement of the program, I long ago got into the habit, and continue to do it presently. The “long sleeves”, was a zipper sweater, that was not any different than any other students, or Nurse. It was often taken off and left at the nursing station when I was occupied with patient care. I find the fact that I even have to defend such a ridiculous trivial fact a sign that due to lack of actual complaints, the instructor felt it necessary to magnify imaginary infractions into terrible mistakes.

•She documented that I mistakenly diluted an antibiotic into the wrong solvent, and when she pointed out the mistake, my response was “Isn’t that how we did it last week?” What she failed to mention is that the reason I was surprised was because this took place my last day of clinical. Up to that point, including that antibiotic, all meds had been administered in the presence of the instructor. She oversaw all my verification procedures, and calculations. She witnessed all administrations of medications. Despite my discomfort towards her, I never permitted this discomfort to be present in my administration of patient care and standard of quality. I was surprised that for 6 weeks, I had been administering the medication incorrectly, under her supervision and tutelage, and on the last day of clinical she informs me I’d been making a mistake. I feel that for her to put all the responsibility on me is not only unfair and unethical, but unprofessional, and a reflection of her incompetence as a clinical teacher.

•She documents on the last page of the evaluation that I failed to present myself to a scheduled meeting for my evaluation. However, the email exchange history indicates otherwise (Appendix M, Appendix N, Appendix O, Appendix P, Appendix Q, Appendix R, Appendix S, Appendix T, Appendix U, Appendix V & Appendix W). This is just a malicious attempt to further discredit me in front of others.

Because the Québec Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not a simple anti-discriminatory statute, but a genuine fundamental law, my position is not casual, nor based on deception, as that of the Nursing department. Each element of my defense is based on truth. I am not the first student the Nursing Department or the College has victimized, unfortunately out of dread of retaliation or retribution, those other students, former and present, fear the very realistic fact that the Nursing program is able to handicap professional aspirations of those who speak against them. I myself held this same fear, and for those reasons, I did not voice or bring to anyone’s attention the increasing abuse. I however cannot accept the vilification nor the damage to my future that the Nursing program has been permitted to execute.
I am requesting intervention from this agency, as I believe that due to the unfair, unethical, unjust and insulting actions involved, these are events that will continue to be repeated against those in debilitated positions. Should intervention from this agency not result in my reinstatement into the Nursing Program, then it must at least serve as moral compass indicating to this academic institution that oppression and suppression were long ago abolished in Canada.
I look forward to hearing from you soon with an assurance that a proper evaluation of my situation will be conducted.

Sincerely,

There definitely seems to be many questions regarding the authenticity of the E-mail in question. Also when your only source for a story is the supposed victim further questions should be asked. Maybe posting this story without having more sources to corroborate it, might be a mistake. Reading the comments of people who sent hate e-mails to the teacher and college made me quite sick. Save the E-mails for when more evidence and clarity of situation are provided. If the story is true then hopefully the appropriate punishments will be applied and this student gets justice, but if the student is making false allegations then hopefully the faculty and staff will be cleared. Condemning someone as guilty without trial or facts is just as disgusting as condemning someone based upon lifestyle, race, or creed.

I did not become vocal until the College outed me.

Pulling the flickr page is futile. Why did you do it, Ninoska?

Ninoska, can you please tell us why you have removed the e-mails from your Flickr page? And can you tell us why the most damning e-mails appear to have been altered?

Ninoska,

I would suggest that you shut down your MySpace account, delete the pictures/files, request that PZ deletes this post (he might if you asked him nicely) and let the investigation take its course. Don't sully your name by linking it, in perpetuity, with this mess. I don't believe the allegations are genuine (it seems highly unlikely especially given the evidence) although you might well have legitimate grievances. It is unhealthy.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Whatever answer is given to your question will be unsatisfactory. Flickr was removed simply because I felt attacked. Nothing more to it.

I am not basing my claim on one email, nor on the scan of an email. Halfway through the semester I did consult with an agency on what the best way to proceed and protect myself. Once legal proceedings begin, it will not be my word against anybody's, it will be actual, unbiased interpretation of all information, including digital, against the instructor.

Again, to reiterate... it was taken down because I felt attacked.

Pete Rooke #346 wrote:

request that PZ deletes this post (he might if you asked him nicely)

No he wouldn't, nor should he: it's a legitimate discussion on a topic which is now public. If PZ feels that his original take on the situation -- or his secondary take on the situation -- or yet another take on the situation -- is in error, my guess is that he would either add more corrections on to this post, or start a new one. Deleting mistakes from the internet is futile. There are still ways to save and check.

Deleting potentially incriminating things from the internet is worse than futile. It's potentially incriminating in itself.

Nonoska's case may be discussed here, but it won't be tried on Pharyngula.

My wife has had several surgeries in the last year at UCSF where there seems to be many gay and lesbian (and I'm sure transgendered staff). While I may be stereotyping some of the staff, I am quite certain about others because I have seen them casually in the area.

At no time has it ever been discussed between my wife and I about someones sexual orientation when it comes to treating my wife during her stay.

Care is based competency and compassion not sexual orientation or religious capacity.

By no2religion (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Flickr was removed simply because I felt attacked.

So, not because commenters here demonstrated that the screen-caps had be altered?

Once legal proceedings begin, it will not be my word against anybody's, it will be actual, unbiased interpretation of all information, including digital, against the instructor.

I also hope that the investigation will reveal the truth.

Pete, a reminder, this isn't your blog, and PZ wants no input from you on how to run it. Either go and fiddle with your own blog, or shut up like any other poster who understands whose blog this is.

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Sastra,

it just seemed to me a small act of kindness for someone who clearly has not been the beneficiary of much and no longer has any to give.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

I'm not sure whether or not you are being forthright with us, Ninoska, but surely you could always capture more screenshots of the offensive letter Mrs. Kingsley sent to you as evidence in your legal case. What you publicly gave as evidence turned out to be not much better than a photo of a UFO or Bigfoot under minimal scrutiny--all that is left for you to say is that the offending email has been deleted and can't be recovered. Please tell us that is not the case and that you have the original email saved.

Pete Rooke #353 wrote:

it just seemed to me a small act of kindness for someone who clearly has not been the beneficiary of much and no longer has any to give.

I suppose one could see it like that (gently help Ninoska regain her anonymity), but she's been posting a lot of documentation here, and so it looks as if she'd rather have verbal support, than retire quietly and wait it out.

Ninoska,
You wrote:
"My position is that I was not only unfairly treated throughout the whole semester, but also systematically humiliated, harassed and discriminated against."

"throughout the whole semester", yet it seemed that your initial information was that it was in November: Kingsley's objectionable actions were after you referred her to your webpage in November that contained information about your sexual preference.

Is it that you were treated unfairly before anyone knew your sexual preference in November, or is it that you were treated fairly before this?

This is a sad story. First, on it's face it's a tale of discrimination. After a little investigation it appears the accuser may be responsible for the whole mess. I tried researching it my self but while I was reading the email thread it disappeared, leaving nothing but accusation and innuendo behind.

What I did read of the email conversation looked to me like a teacher dealing with an under performing student that had little more than excuses to offer. I don't know if that is true but I do know that the teacher in question has been publicly called a racist and a bigot. It's a shame that the evidence for such treatment is no longer being offered. Burden of proof is always on the accuser.

I do hope this is resolved in court. If the teacher is guilty then she should be punished. However if she is innocent the student should not go unpunished. False accusation and public humiliation can damage a person and their ability to do their job. There is no burden of proof on the internet and the damage can be irreparable.

One way or the other a great injustice was done.
I am very interested in how this story ends.

And at the same time she has apparently deleted the flicker account...

Either way it does seem like it will matter in the long run (one hestitates to wash their clothes before wrestling with a pig etc.).

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Just want to verify that you perceive that you were treated wrongly throughout the semester, and that in November the instructor used the information she received at that time to make a reason for this semester-long mistreatment.

Does anyone know if it is possible that the anomalies in the screencaptures were caused by the images being made smaller?

I follow this site since almos a month , and I was surprised yesterday night to learn that those things could happen in my province . I simply couldn't bielieve it.
We have laws .
So, I'm now , not surprise to learn that this is a scam , but I'm shocked that , so much individuals see us as they do.

We're not religious peoples. We have laws to protect as Canada have and we have rights for gays to adopt childrens since many years . We don't speak a very good english, but we try , and we read it , as much as we can.

Come on, we're not STUPIDS.

Gilles, Jonquiere, Quebec, Canada .

I mean , ALL OF THIS IS A SCAM .It could happen , but it would have been in all the news long ago. We are civilised peoples I swear.

Gilles jonquiere quebec.

And we certainly are not the Texas of the north .

And yes, I live in Quebec.

Does anyone know if it is possible that the anomalies in the screencaptures were caused by the images being made smaller?

I don't see how. Remember that only the teachers e-mail address was misaligned. I would imagine the most parsimonious explanation would be that Ninoska posted those e-mails to herself, took a screen-cap, then pasted the teacher's e-mail address over the top. If that's the case, it's a pretty stupid thing to do; Hotmail caches emails, and I would expect that an official investigator would be able to request copies.

Of course, pulling the screen-caps off Flickr after it has been pointed out that they have been altered looks really suspicious. If they magically appear again with the alignment corrected, that will be damning evidence that Ninoska is fabricating evidence.

Of course I have the original emails with headers and transmission information. All my accounts have been turned over to the RCMP.

I don't even remember anymore who asked the question about the email being sent in November and my reference to the whole semester... Semester 1 started at the end of August. The first half of the semester was Maternity, Labour and Delivery, and the second half of the semester was Pediatrics.

The only time I was a difficult student was when I made the mistake of asking questions they didn't know the answer to. Apart from that, handing in an assignment late does not make someone a difficult student. Not in post secondary. The student would be difficult if she argued and contested the late marks. I was more than willing to accept the late penalty - that should have been the end of the email exchange. I know what my responsibilities are. I know that I have to pay my mortgage every two weeks, I know I have to pay car insurance every year, I know I have to get a medical every year, and I know that to not hand in an assignment on time means you lose marks. So to belittle a grown woman over acknowledging that the assignment is late and she will have points deducted is not only pointless, but somewhat contradictory to the image of what Nursing is supposed to be about.

I'm not sure where the idea that they are screen caps came from... they are scans of the original. Just like the medical certificate is a scan, and the letters from the school (full of typos), and the authorization form are all scans. So is the pediatric evaluation, and the comments in the margin.

Of course hotmail keeps them cached, don't all servers?

Câlice tabarnak!! Those Qebecois are CRAZY!!!! This really sold me on that fact. Va chier ;)

The clinical teacher is American, and a McCain/Palin supporter. totally irrelevant, but so is a lot of what was discussed here.

Oh, I'm also on Facebook, and when I was in utero, my mom had morning sickness. Does that prove something?

I'm not sure where the idea that they are screen caps came from... they are scans of the original.

Okay, you've lost me here. We are talking about the Flickr images of your e-mail program. You're not denying that they are/were screen-caps, are you? Or are you trying to say that you scanned the monitor??

Ninoska, what do you mean, scans? You printed out the screenshots and then scanned them?

Ninoska wrote: "I'm not sure where the idea that they are screen caps came from... they are scans of the original."
I was referring to the pictures of the emails, where it shows Firefox and everything. Those are screen caps, are they not?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screenshot

Much wringing of hands here over where the story is legit and if the evidence is iffy, but very little discussion about whether or not it is appropriate to take a matter like this to the Intertubes. If I was the nursing student in question, I would've taken all this to an attorney, but I would not have broadcast the case unless advised to by same....for obvious reasons. It muddies the water and could impact the plaintiff's ability to receive redress.

Therefore, I was skeptical of this post without knowing anything about the formatting etc. that raised questions.

If you follow this reddit.com thread, BraveSirRobin comments:

This can happen with CSS, I found a cropping problem in a web app I'm working on just yesterday, my particular one only affected I.E. though.

That covers the cropping. WRT to the Label/Field misalignment, again this is surprisingly common, moreso with local GUI applications than on the web though. They exist as separate components on the page to assist screen readers and other accessibility programs. In the old days they would be in the same paragraph or table and lining it up wouldn't be a problem. If the page is being laid-out by CSS then it's possible to screw up.

However, you are probably correct in this case; the best proof would be to compare with a fresh screen grab from the Windows Live webpage. Even then though, it may have changed since then.

Could anyone here with knowledge of how browsers actually work comment on the likelihood of the purported emails being true? I mean, despite the shifting and cropping which has been noted.

Ultimately of course, this has to remain mere speculation. The evidence of whether the emails are genuine or faked has to come from an examination of the provider's servers. Any content on a personal computer belonging to either the alleged sender or the receiver has to be considered unreliable as it can be easily faked.

Even if the emails are demonstrated to originate from the purported sender's email account, they can still claim innocence by suggesting that others had access to that account and could have been responsible for it. Especially if the account in question is not owned or controlled by the Educational Institution in question. You would then have to determine the computer from which the emails originated by looking at server logs and attempt to prove that the accused and no other person had access to it for the time in question.

By Stagyar zil Doggo (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Ninoska,

I would suggest that you shut down your MySpace account, delete the pictures/files, request that PZ deletes this post (he might if you asked him nicely) and let the investigation take its course. Don't sully your name by linking it, in perpetuity, with this mess. I don't believe the allegations are genuine (it seems highly unlikely especially given the evidence) although you might well have legitimate grievances. It is unhealthy.

Rookie, your continued requests for (self-)censorship are highly inappropriate.

while I'm skeptical about the case, Nioska has every right to deal with this as she sees fit, and if going public is it, then you don't get to tell her to shut up.

neither do you get to tell PZ to dump this case down the memory hole. regardless of the outcome and facts of this case, it's a perfectly valid subject for discussion.

you need to learn a lot about what free speech actually is.

@Pete

It is unhealthy.

Well there's an extra-hot Venti Unintentional Irony Latte.

By heliobates (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

As I have clarified before, when this became a legal investigation, I was counseled on how to proceed and properly collect and document all digital information. I don't understand why this is such a hard concept for some to understand. For me to make a legitimate claim, I had to submit legitimate evidence. Everything that was projected on my monitor was recorded by the software the RCMP installed on my system. I/my lawyer received a paper hardcopy of whatever we requested. The only agency who has possession and access to all the digital information is the RCMP. If this reaches trial, the "evidence" has not been contaminated or altered, as the third party has no reason to do so.

I'm very surprised that those who are so computer savy are having such a hard time understand this explanation.

Ninoska,

You talk about "what nursing is supposed to be about,' but you fail to employ the standards of a professional nurse to yourself.

For instance, you lay blame for your own medication errors on the clinical instructor who supervised you. A medical professional is always responsible to make sure the medication he/she is administering is correctly drawn up and should never rely on someone else to make this determination for them. If you were unsure of what you were doing, you should have asked sooner or looked it up. The fact that you admit you went an entire semester administering an incorrectly reconstituted med doesn't speak well for your professionalism and gives the lie to your comment that you never did anything to endanger patients.

Refusing to tell a clinical nurse when you are going to take a break interferes with that supervisor's ability to ensure adequate staffing levels and arrange for the breaks of other students and personnel responsible for supervising students.

You seemed, in your letter, unusually put out by the necessity of working weekends. Nurses frequently have to work weekends, and arrangements can be made to accomodate religious preferences if those preferences are made known in advance. You give no indication you did so.

Having an argument with your instructor on the floor, where patients, their family members, and other staff can hear it, is always an unprofessional move.

What you fail to see is a pattern of behavior (by your own descriptions) suggestive of poor decision making on your part. Whatever the outcome of the investigation into the allegations you've leveled against the clinical instructor re homophobia, racism, and cultural insensitivity, your admitted conduct would lead this former clinical instructor to question your ability to fulfill the role of a competent, safe, and responsible caregiver.

By woo woozy (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

As I have clarified before, when this became a legal investigation, I was counseled on how to proceed and properly collect and document all digital information. I don't understand why this is such a hard concept for some to understand. For me to make a legitimate claim, I had to submit legitimate evidence. Everything that was projected on my monitor was recorded by the software the RCMP installed on my system. I/my lawyer received a paper hardcopy of whatever we requested. The only agency who has possession and access to all the digital information is the RCMP. If this reaches trial, the "evidence" has not been contaminated or altered, as the third party has no reason to do so.

I'm very surprised that those who are so computer savy are having such a hard time understanding this explanation.

@#374

Sure CSS is imperfect, but it is consistent. Remember that the information being displayed was the same in each case, but in both cases, the sender's address was misaligned to a different degree. I honestly can't see how that could be a CSS fault.

I would be very worried of a gay proctologist having a little bit too much fun back there. After all, we all have the right to know things about our medical staff that we trust. If your doctor was a creationist, would you care? They do exist.

Speaking of creation, the father of modern Geology was a creationist... hmmmm. Interesting .

There were no arguments, there were no confrontations, there were no public disputes.

I wasn't put off for having to work weekends. I was put off for being told it was rude and disrespectful to speak a "foreign" language. I was put off for being told that South America was just full of savages who didn't know any better. I was put off for being told to leave my preferences at the door, and it was a pediatric rotation. Working weekends did not even register on my radar.

The inventer of the MRI was a creationist.

Anyway, if this whole thing happened in Canada, who cares? As long as it is not here. You do not have jurisdiction in Canada. There is a border between us. They are a seperate sovereign nation and so are we. What goes on there, we should not care, and what goes on here, they should not care.

TO: Bojangles #365
Sorry I thought they were comparing religions...

But don't forget we're 7 millions here in quebec , and I didn't know you wanted separation too.
I don't have preconcieved ideas against Texas, but I read what americans here tell about it .

Ninoska, I really don't think you're doing your case much good by talking about it. Don't take my word for it, ask your legal counsel.

@XD #365
Thanks for the answer. :)

Scans of hard copies sent to your lawyer by the RCMP? This is very unlikely.

Yes derender, borders are not just lines where the government changes; they are the limit of where it is appropriate to give a fuck about people. That's why I moved to a smaller country; I wanted fewer people I to care about.

Whatever it was, the image we saw of the email from Kingsley was not a scan of a piece of paper.

The inventer of the MRI was a creationist.

And that has nothing to do with anything except MRI. Why do you godbots always mangle what true evidence means? Lack of perspective, or just stupid?

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

@#381

Hmm... good point. Unless the screenshots were captured on different days between which the CSS script had been changed?

If the images are indeed from scans of previously printed screenshots, could that explain the misalignments?

Cos it would be really stupid to fake something like this when it can be easily checked against server logs. Ninoska, whether her allegations are true or not, does not strike me as being that stupid, although her comment that she was unsure if pdf documents could be accessed on Macs does make her a bit computer unsavvy. But even the most unsavvy person who uses webmail has to realize that the ability to access the same email from multiple computers means that it is stored elsewhere.

By Stagyar zil Doggo (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Be very clear Ninoska, when answering this simple question

Ninoska said:
I'm not sure where the idea that they are screen caps came from... they are scans of the original.

Question remaining unanswered:
We are talking about the Flickr images of your e-mail program. You're not denying that they are/were screen-caps, are you? Or are you trying to say that you scanned the monitor??

By Marc Abian (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Ninoska writes:

“There were no arguments, there were no confrontations, there were no public disputes”

Then why was this comment in your posting earlier: “I again asked her what this meant, and she told me to lower my voice and that clinical was not the appropriate place to discuss the issue.” Seems to me there was a dispute that took place in the clinical setting, one in which voices were raised in argument, and one during which your clinical instructor asked you to lower your voice and suggested the location was inappropriate to be discussing the matter. These are the events as you described them in your complaint letter. Are you now denying they were an accurate depiction of what occurred?

“I wasn't put off for having to work weekends”

Again, your words say differently: “I finally responded that due to being forced to do clinical on weekends, I was not able to observe the Sabbath.”

“I was put off for being told to leave my preferences at the door.”

Caregivers usually do not get to pick and choose which patients they are assigned. I would have preferred to have the most interesting or educational patients when I was a student. As a medical professional, you are charged with providing the best care you can to the patients you are assigned. Student patient loads are not assigned on the basis of the gender preferences of students.

By woo woozy (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Everything that was projected on my monitor was recorded by the software the RCMP installed on my system. I/my lawyer received a paper hardcopy of whatever we requested. The only agency who has possession and access to all the digital information is the RCMP.

I'll have to echo ethin @388. Unless your complaint included allegations of criminal behavior, why would the RCMP be involved? Or has the instructor or college made a criminal complaint alleging fraud against you?

By Stagyar zil Doggo (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

If the images are indeed from scans of previously printed screenshots, could that explain the misalignments?

Do they Did they really look like scans of previously printed screen-shots to you??

Ninoska, whether her allegations are true or not, does not strike me as being that stupid...

I beg to differ. The manner in which she has publicised an ongoing investigation strikes me as incredibly foolish.

Umm... should a kid with asthma "co-habitate" with a lot of plants? I doubt it, enlightened Venezuelan custom (is it really?) or not.

Marc Abian,

there is one very simply solution (although I find the whole case beyond believable) to your problem. She can claim that the prtsc. was printed out (hence the term "print-screen") and then scanned.

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Anyway, if this whole thing happened in Canada, who cares? As long as it is not here. You do not have jurisdiction in Canada. There is a border between us. They are a seperate sovereign nation and so are we. What goes on there, we should not care, and what goes on here, they should not care.

ahh, a creobot with no concept of "international community"

FYI, some posters on here are furriners! some even from Mexico! and U-rrp!

And Canada, too for that matter. so piss off you ignorant dipshit

I'm very surprised that those who are so computer savy are having such a hard time understand this explanation.

Probably because it smells of bullshit. The images of the e-mails (NOT the letters) on flickr did not appear to display any scanning artifacts, and were cleanly pixelated - scanning is not likely to produce such clean pixel alignments. Likewise, scanning is not likely to produce an image that is perfectly aligned in the vertical and horizontal directions.

Further, no respectable computer forensics person would ever change the bookmarks or plugins displayed on screen, as happens between the first and second of the windows live mail captures.

As far as the CSS alignment: yes, it could happen, but the alignments changed notably in the span of only 2 hours (as presented), which is not likely, particularly during November/December - it's not good policy to change things during high load times, as small mistakes get overly magnified.

And as I mentioned before, (1) the blue up/down arrows are in totally different areas (one is next to the printer icon, the other is on the bar below, just left of the 'Forward' button), and (2) there's a new "Nunavut" folder that's appeared. Along with that, 'ninoska' in the upper right changes from normal to bold font. Aside from the fact that that many changes is unlikely in the space of two hours (if these were captured as the came), it is even less likely that they all occurred between two screen captures that happened immediately after each other, as would be expected from forensic investigators.

In other words, what you're claiming about the nature of the images is NOT consistent with them being scans of captures provided by the RCMP.

Did they really look like scans of previously printed screen-shots to you??

I didn't look at them that closely and anyways don't know enough to be able to say for sure. I was thought that if the printing and scanning was at high resolutions and the image was centered and rotated before downsampling, this might make scanning artifacts harder to discern.

The manner in which she has publicised an ongoing investigation strikes me as incredibly foolish.

Yeah. She may have concluded that the investigation isn't going to get anywhere and decided to leave in a blaze of throwing shit at the fan.

By Stagyar zil Doggo (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

As an entirely uninvolved reader I don't know who or what is behind this. I read the initial story and the comments as they piled up. I looked at what others have pointed out. But I'm not "investigating" anything in order to come with some firm judgement on the matter either.

Pharyngulites generally attend to all stories with an acute natural skepticism, and this one was no exception. But once that doubt cracks open a door to the possibility of hoodwinkery, an unseemly bandwagon effect mounts and takes the place of reasoning and objectivity.

What the heck is this now? It looks very much as if some Pharyngulites are donning wigs and conducting some mock tribunal. Can't anybody just withhold the urge to make a judgement?

PZ posted what appeared to be a legitimate story. If it turns out that PZ was fooled like most of the rest of us, he'd be the first to admit it. And most of the rest of us would too. There's not a smidgeon of shame in admitting that one may be vulnerable to getting hoodwinked.

But is it really anybody's place here to challenge the credibility of a person on the basis of a striking lack of irrefutable evidence? Does anybody here have full access to Ninoska's computer or the College's?

Several folks have advised Ninoska of keeping mum, to defer to legal council. Ostensibly, that may be good (LEGAL) advice, but it FURTHER fuels the fire.

Yet she didn't say anything here until the avalanche of judgement was already on a good roll. The same advice to keep mum about one's own opinions on the matter might be directed to those who have trouble restraining themselves BEFORE legitimately expressed doubt metasticizes into something resembling a lynch mob.

This isn't some academic exercise in determining the truth of a story. We're talking about real people with real lives and reputations on the line. Be very careful when you play with matches. You may burn your own house down.

Ninoska, for what it's worth, unless I see completely irrefutable evidence contrary to your account of this business, I unequivocally support you 100%.

By astrounit (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Unless your complaint included allegations of criminal behavior, why would the RCMP be involved?

And this, ladies and gentlemen is what you will have to stay tuned in to find out... A whole investigation is not going to revolve around a teacher calling a student a dyke. That just deserves a time out.

... it is even less likely that they all occurred between two screen captures that happened immediately after each other, as would be expected from forensic investigators.

Perhaps they did the first screen capture, went away for a long weekend, and finished the job only after getting back?

OK, OK. I really should refresh before posting.

By Stagyar zil Doggo (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

I wasn't able to read all the comments, but felt compelled to send her a letter of my own. It's satire, so I hope ya'll can appreciate the humor (ie, I know I used the wrong 'bare', I know I'm using alot of bigotous stereotypes...it's humor...or at least, as close to humor as I can get...the name's made up, as well):

Dear Mrs. Kingsley,

I came across your information at a website decrying your actions as homophobic, and claiming that you were in error in advising a lesbian nurse to look for a change in careers.

I have to say that, as a white man, there is nothing more terrifying to me than the idea of being treated for a malady of any sort by a lesbian nurse. I mean, the thought of her--in her disgustingly tight-in-the-right-places uniform walking in and out of my room at all hours of the day or night, whether I'm awake or asleep or in the bathroom--is enough to make my head explode. I can't believe that anyone would want a woman of her tendencies reaching over them, adjusting some hose or other extending from their person as her woman-handled cleavage pushed through her pastel-colored blouse. At just the thought of it, the rate at which the blood is rushing from my brain makes me feel faint.

I can't imagine anything that would impede the rate of my recovery more than the knowledge that a lesbian was forced to come into my room and check-up on me. The deviate nature of the entire gay and lesbian community is well known and documented. (Did you know that gay men have anal sex? My wife won’t even have anal sex, no matter how much I try to convince her, so I know it must be a horrible thing.) As a patient, I would live in fear that this lesbian nurse would try to force me into some carnal act with her lover—who would probably be a lesbian, too—and so make me into some kind of super-heterosexual, like Nietzsche’s superman.

I don’t see how I could come to a full recovery under a man-hating lesbian nurse, knowing that she was raped by an uncle or friend at some young, formative age. At least, I’m told by my straight friends that that’s how lesbians are made. I mean, knowing I could help her become normal again, if she would only let me, would be more than I could stand: I’m afraid that being helpful like that is a heavy thing that I always must bare.

Add to all this the possible prurient thoughts of my nurse and her lover, away from the hospital bed in which I am forced to stay, in the throes of ecstasy, and I understand why you told this woman she should seek other employment. There is nothing more mortifying than being forced to look at a woman you know you can never sleep with, unless it’s in a threesome with another woman; except, maybe, being put under the care of such a woman, and having to look at her day in and day out as your healer.

Sincerely yours,
Randy McQueen

I have the originals an they are screen captures, not printouts that had been scanned. The field alignment and spacing is perfect except for the tassymk@rogers email address which in one case was shifted up from the field label by 1 pixel
http://img17.imageshack.us/img17/6411/ninoskforgeryd.gif
And in the other case down by 1 pixel.
http://img17.imageshack.us/img17/7974/ninoskforgery2.gif

and lest anyone think it's something special about the 'from' field or the email address, in this case it was the 'to' address (to tkingsley@cegep...)
http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/4312/ninoskforgery3.gif
that was shifted up.

The field headers were consistently aligned and spaced.

That just would not happen by accident. I detect intelligent design and I suspect I know the designer.

No wonder they asked for your computer. That's a smoking gun. Certainly the college will be able to confirm the one addressed to their server, while Rogers and hot mail accounts can be subpoenaed it is time consuming and costly.

No wonder they asked for your computer. That's a smoking gun.

Could we please keep accusations to a minimum here?

Certainly the college will be able to confirm the one addressed to their server, while Rogers and hot mail accounts can be subpoenaed it is time consuming and costly.

Why would it be costly? Rogers clearly has the customer's consent in this case, why would they fight a subpeona?

A whole investigation is not going to revolve around a teacher calling a student a dyke. That just deserves a time out.

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic here. A teacher abusing a student surely calls for an academic investigation. The circumstances you describe, if accurate, also give you cause for a civil action and a civil/human rights complaint. But I don't see why the Police have to get involved.

My comment about shit at the fan was also uncalled for. I'd like to note that I am withholding judgement until better quality evidence or independent corroboration becomes available. In the meantime, I am also abstaining from writing any angry letters to the College.

By Stagyar zil Doggo (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

@ Stagyar zil Doggo #393:

Ninoska, whether her allegations are true or not, does not strike me as being that stupid

Now that she's turned up (assuming that itself isn't a fake!) there's enough evidence to disagree with that assessment. She seems barely literate in English (less of an issue if she's the sort of Canadian for whom it's a foreign language) and appallingly ignorant of computer technology and terminology - though that does fit somewhat with the claim of being an older student.

Unfortunately it also fits (perhaps even better) with the stereotype of becoming a nurse because of a lack of any discernable ability. Whereas it would be nice to imagine the world generally having competent nurses these days.

On the plus side, if the story is untrue, that lack of computer competence will mean her fakery will necessarily be poorly done and easy for competent investigators with access to the actual sources to spot. On the minus side of that though, if the incompetence is widespread, the authorities may be similarly clueless about computers.

Even if her story is true, I'd still have serious doubts about her competence (in almost any modern job). The Indigo and Sabbath stuff really doesn't help at all. In contrast, the lesbianism doesn't matter in the slightest (for just about any situation).

astrounit:

Ninoska, for what it's worth, unless I see completely irrefutable evidence contrary to your account of this business, I unequivocally support you 100%.

Which is the problem, and why people here are looking more into this. YOU may be doing so in a responsible manner, by not sending off any ranting/accusatory e-mails to anyone other than Ninoska, such as Tassy or the administration, but others aren't. You accuse those looking into the matter of starting up a faux trial against Ninoska, but that's exactly what's been happening against Tassy, and we're saying "hold it - something doesn't seem right".

for what it's worth, the student has since removed the crucial file (ie the teacher's alleged homophobic email to her) from her flickr account. on my books, this is the strongest indication yet that this has been a hoax and she knows she got caught red-handed. i've since removed my account of the story from my blog. nice one, all in a day's work!

By udo schuklenk (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

SEF: What gives you the impression Ninoska is barely literate in English? Aside from normal typos, I haven't seen anything indicating a poor grasp of grammar, spelling, etc..

No wonder they asked for your computer. That's a smoking gun.

Could we please keep accusations to a minimum here?

A smoking gun is not an accusation, not is it an automatic indication of guilt. But it is compelling evidence that requires a good explanation. Something better than

I'm not sure where the idea that they are screen caps came from... they are scans of the original.

when they are clearly and obviously NOT scans.

Quidam: The letters sent to Ninoska were scans; the emails were screen captures. Did she understand the difference?

By Benjamin Geiger (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Why would the RCMP be involved? If true, this is a human rights case, and a lawsuit against the school in question, but is it a criminal case?

I'm not sure how the divisional boundaries work in Quebec, but the provincial police force is the Sûreté du Québec, not the RCMP. The Mounties are responsible for enforcing federal law, typically things like drug cases.

Ninoska,

Why is the RCMP interested in your case? According to the "RCMP in Quebec" website, which appears to be official, the RCMP's role in Quebec is rather limited:

http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/qc/info/a_propos-about-eng.htm
I

Today, our 1,200 police officers, civilian members and Public Service employees focus on financial integrity, national and border security and the fight against organized crime. We have specialized resources for our investigations, offer protective services to dignitaries and conduct crime prevention initiatives within the community....

Our investigations –strictly federal– are in no way comparable to the concept of community policing, which is used elsewhere in Canada and by our policing partners in Quebec.

Gatineau has its own police force. There is also the Surete du Quebec, the provincial force. Since the College is provincially run, the Surete would make more sense than the RCMP.

In any case, why is any police force interested in your story? I don't think anything you have alleged constitutes a crime.

Violations of the Charter and the Quebec Charter, sure, but to the best of my knowledge, the police don't investigate accusations of Charter violations. The Charter is enforced by the person claiming a violation of their rights taking the government to court or by raising a Charter challenge when the government takes you to court. The Charter itself says that the way to get a remedy is to go to "a court of competent jurisdiction." The police are never involved.

As for the Quebec Charter, there is no way the RCMP would touch it with a 10-foot pole, given Quebec's sensitivities about federal intrusion.

On top of all that, you've already gone to the appropriate bodies - the College itself and Quebec's human rights commission. Why on earth would the RCMP want to preempt their investigations?

And you want compensation don't you, and readmission to your program? The police can't give you that. All they could do is charge someone with an offense. The wrongdoer might be punished, but that doesn't help you.

By plum grenville (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

@ dreikin #413

I haven't seen anything indicating a poor grasp of grammar, spelling, etc.

Which really only casts doubt upon your own ability. It's not merely the spelling typos(?) but the awkwardness of the phrasing - particularly when connected to the inappropriate use of technobabble. Eg:

Everything that was projected on my monitor ...

and the even more hideous:

I wasn't put off for having to work weekends. I was put off for being told it was rude and disrespectful to speak a "foreign" language. I was put off for being told that South America was just full of savages who didn't know any better. I was put off for being told to leave my preferences at the door, and it was a pediatric rotation. Working weekends did not even register on my radar.

NB/PS It might be interesting to do a more detailed language and typing style comparison of the suspect email (purported to be from the instructor) with those samples "known" to be from the student (and with any items not disputed as being previously from the instructor).

While dropping capital letters etc is now unfortunately extremely common among the products of modern education, the particular pattern of such errors can be quite characteristic of individuals. Eg the typo in the following is nothing special, but the awkwardness of the phrasing might be:

It wuold look better if you left nursing out of your own accord, rather than get kicked out.

Meanwhile, the incorrectly spelled name ("Nioska") could well be on Ninoska's side, since it's a spelling mistake she herself would be less likely to make and it's the sort of deliberate error requiring more than average subtlety on the part of a novice forger. Whereas, regular contributors to pharyngula will already have had the many variants of Myers, used by trollish creationist ranters, drawn to their attention and would know that it was an important component of any creationist spoof they might want to post.

Dear Ms. Kinglsey,

You behavior in the matter of Ms Mercedes is exceptionally unprofessional, bordering on malicious. In my 20 years as a faculty member, I have never heard of such actions against a student. The trail of emails and the log on Ms. Mercedes' web-site points to a targeted campaign to vengefully harm this student's professional career. I am not familiar with the laws in Canada, but in the United States, dismissal of a student for sexual orientation, especially when that student has kept such information private, is illegal. Ms. Mercedes' sexual orientation is an aspect of her personal life that has no bearing on her professional career. A faculty member at XXXX who took actions similar to yours would be brought in front of a Faculty Hearing panel, and likely found to be in violation of university rules. Hopefully, such a panel would have the wisdom to dismiss such a faculty member, or at the very least, move them to a position where they have limited contact with students. Based on your actions, as documented in emails publically available, I conclude that you have no business teaching.

You appear to be a homophobic bigot of the worst sort: someone who used her professional power to take punitive action against a student for reasons that appear to have nothing to do with her classroom or clinical performance.

@SEF #419,421:
Both of those are, at the least, no worse than average, and thus could not really be considered illiteracy. The former example, like you said, is technobabble, and there are indications Ninoska is not as tech savvy as she claims. But that's a specialized literacy, not English literacy. The latter example, if read plainly, may be if read in the wrong tone. Think of someone aggravated when you read it, and it may seem more familiar in style.

Really! Can't you johnny-come-lately posters read the preceding 421 posts before leaping into the fray on behalf of Ninoska? Or at least read the 24-pt header on PZ's post.

Sheesh.

By plum grenville (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

To Bojangles #365

Don't worry for me , Texas have a better weather than ours and thats the only thing that mather for me , I 'm pro better weather .
And I'm not separatist.
And my english is so limited...

@SEF (forgot to comment on 421)
Indeed, such an analysis would be useful. The final e-mails break rather sharply with both of their styles.

If this is true it is utterly appalling.

The sexual orientation of medical personnel is irrelevant, if they are behaving in a professional manner toward their patients.

I didn't find out my GP was a lesbian until I saw her interviewed on TV on a story about gay marriage. The subject, naturally, had never come up during five years of consultations and doesn't bother me in the slightest.

I am astounded that pharyngulites are still sending angry emails to Ms. Kingsley after all the evidence that has been presented by more skeptical commenters. For FSM's sake watch the video on Closed Mindedness that PZ posted again.

I hadn't realized it earlier, but the RCMP thing is a dead giveaway. I am beginning to supect that the person posting here as Ninoska is not her. I am wondering if Ninoska even exists. Bringing in the RCMP in a Quebec provincial matter looks like the work of someone who does not even live in Canada, especially in Quebec. This isnn't even good bullshit, but it appeals to Americans who are anoyed at smug Canadians talking about our universal health care and same sex marriage etc.

It looks like PZ got his tentacle caught in the wringer on this one. At least he has the sense to turn the handle the other way to get it back out when new evidence comes in, unlike some of his minions.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

A good friend has a gay and very camp dentist. He's known as the Tooth Fairy and it doesn't seem to affect his practice.

Let all our godbotters take note -- this thread is how skepticism and evidence work. Even if the evidence points to conclusions one may not initially like, one has to follow the evidence, and not let preconceptions bias one's interpretations.

(And of course, that is still true with this specific story, which is by no means settled.)

Well, dreiken, #411, I think I more than adequately indicated that there is nothing wrong with the sort of doubt that would lead anyone to think that something, as you say, "didn't seem right". That's what that "doubt" thing would be all about, nay? I never once said that people shouldn't "look more into this". I think finding out whatever one can IS a potentially good thing, and I'd never think otherwise.

But there is a distinction between what a person finds completely acceptable (in this case, finding out more) and what that same person may find unpalatable in terms of what CONCLUSIONS are drawn, and the ease with which such conclusions are transformed into JUGEMENTS. (Even you transform your opinion from what you posted in comment # 138, where you say you "suspect" - after which you become an advocate). All I said was that I had misgivings about people arriving at judgements based on information they simply can't be that sure of and posting their judgements repeatedly as if it was all transparently obvious.

Look. I didn't send ANY emails off to ANYBODY. All I did was comment about my misgivings about others who did. DO YOU MIND?

Evidently so, since you seem so intent on informing me the bleading obvious that others AREN'T so "responsible", as you characterize my activity...of which you have absolutely no inkling besides my comment.

If I "accused" anybody, it was those who made a judgement, especially those who saw fit to build a "case". I never ever accused those who looked into it more. I myself did. I just didn't think it wasn't my place to pass a friggin' judgement on my meagre information, okay?

If it turns out that Ninoska has been messing around with the truth OR has been honest, I will find it out from legitimate sources who are doing an authentic investigation. Not from some hazy "evidence" suggesting dishonesty from the displacement of a few pixels, okay? Is that alright with you? I'm not holding my breath. I've got time. I'm sure the truth will eventually come out. But not from here.

MY doubt and skepticism extends to everything: when it comes right down to lives and reputations, I'm sorry, but I just can't trust "forensic" work by some Pharyngulites (BTW, sorry for the previous mispelling of that) within about a 5-hour time span from PZ posting to the first substantially expressed doubt. Thereafter the dogs went after it. I don't mind the sniffing out at all, it's all that hideous baying that drives me banannas.

That's just my opinion, you know. I can still have my personal opinion, yes? Or would you like to slap me around some more to get me to fall in line with one side or another?

By astrounit (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

No, Militant Agnostic, I can't agree: if PZ got his tentacle caught in any wringer its because a handful of his oh so reliable and trustworthy "minions" forced it there.

THEY are the ones who are turning a POTENTIALLY honest mistake - what would otherwise be a mere blip, end of story, oops, and all that - into a frackin' federal case.

Of COURSE he had the sense to "turn the handle the other way"! After he had a chance to get SOME sleep? Why wouldn't he? What, you think he's as stupid as those particular "minions" of his are?

By astrounit (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

If you were in Tassy's class, I bet you would get kicked out for having an opinion :-P

astrounit, knock it off with the dog analogies, please. Ninoska has every opportunity to defend her claim here (something she has not satisfactorily done). Yes, she actually damaged her credibility by removing access to purported evidence and then presenting an incoherent response as to why she did it and how the evidence was collected in the first place.Now ask yourself: What are you going to do if Ninoska is fibbing? The answer: Nothing. But if she is telling the truth, then we will all write letters, not just you (quite a few have done so already).

Ninoska seems to have disappeared. Too many questions she didn't want to answer? Just kidding!

I too rushed to judgment about the case and feel suitably chastened when it turned out be less clearcut than I originally thought. Now I'm going to mindlessly jump on the let's-wait-for-further evidence bandwagon.

The letter from the College to whoever it was they hired to do an outside investigation looked good (if it's authentic!). I commend the College for promptly calling in outside investigator. The report will have much more credibility that way.

And it's nice to see that they're not interested in a cover-up (not that we can say yet whether there's anything TO cover up). If any of the allegations are true, they'll come out much better for admitting it promptly.

By plum grenville (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Astrounit:
Read it again - I didn't accuse you of anything. I was pointing out that others sharing the sentiment I quoted are doing things that they shouldn't, given what we do and do not know - like all the e-mails you'll see copied in others' posts. As such, it IS reasonable and good to point out why there is reason to be skeptical of the claims. And 'suspect' is not the same thing as 'know' - I don't know that the e-mails are forged or have been tampered with, but I rather suspect they have been. One's good for court, the other is not.

Try reading more carefully next time - not everyone's out to get you (or so we claim).

kinda makes me glad I kept my mouth shut, as it is better to be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

I have just been made aware of this group and I just want to thank everyone for their support. For reasons that have now become obviuos, this student does not belong in nursing. Her shortcomings were clear very early in the semester. When it was discovered that she assisted on ground zero after 9/11, she stated it was not her and did not want to further elaborate. This made some of us suspicious. Why would someone deny their involvement in something that can make her look good on her resume? All we have are theories. The point is hopefully it is now obvious to everyone that this student does not belong in nursing. Maybe she'll finally understand that this field is not for her. Thank you to everyone who sent me their support. Tassy.

#438 can't be for real. WTF does 9/11 have to do with any of this? Nothing Ninoska has written has reflected on her ability to be a nurse. Did anybody send letters of support to Mrs. Kingsley? I get the feeling that we are being played here.

it used to be a bug in MS Office- if a word is underlined by spell/grammar check, it would print out off by a couple of pixels. we need more evidence if the e-mail has been doctored or not. :)

Well aratina, what it proves is that this student is a liar. She lied about not being in New York on Sept 11, even though there was evidence proving the opposite. The only reason someone lies about something is because they are ashamed. If she was ashamed of Sept 11, then you have to wonder what her involvement in it was. But that isn't important to what is happening right now. And thankfully the internet community isn't gullible enough to buy her lies. anyways, i did not come here to discuss the case but to thank those who have showed their support. thank you. tassy.

But that isn't important to what is happening right now. - tassy

Then why did you bring it up? This started out as a grievance against homophobia, and it has turned into a madhouse of accusations flung both ways with no way of verifying anything.

it used to be a bug in MS Office- if a word is underlined by spell/grammar check, it would print out off by a couple of pixels. we need more evidence if the e-mail has been doctored or not. :)

THE PLOT THICKENS

I'm enjoying the show.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

A lesson for the many of us (not me THIS time!) who let our righteousness get in the way of our rational process. I learned my lesson (mostly) a while back, and wait till some amount of triangulated confermation comes in.
The world is a crappy place at times, but there's no point letting anger determine actions, even when the offense is obvious and confirmed.

And very few people here likely needed me to write this, eh?

By sioux laris (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

Pathological liars
I have always found it hard to deal with these people. Had a boss in Australia, the Monkey, who is one, and the problem was that he seemed to believe all his own bullshit himself, as if he was operating in a parallel universe where BS is reality.
And I did something of the same as PZ has done here, took him on his word. Simply because when you yourself don't spin lies as a matter of course, you kinda think nobody else will either, at least when there is no reason to lie.
In this case alarm bells started ringing when the wrist-slicing was described. Somehow, if someone goes to such extremes, they will try to justify it. Kooky here just skated over it very superficially. Trying to take your own life is a rather drastic decision, and the reason seemed somewhat pathetic.
So the whole scam was a bit of attention seeking? Kinda succeeded!

#438 can't possibly - no, start again -I don't see how #438 - no - aah! I've got it: I would like to see a little more evidence regarding the identity of the writer of #438.

A college instructor is going to be bound by rules of confidentiality. And I'm sure the College would also tell her to keep her mouth shut.

I could (just) see her coming to say thank you for the support (although it's my impression she got a lot more abuse from Pharyngulites than support), but commenting on a student? Especially negatively.

Hard to swallow. If somebody is just playing a game with us, I don't see the point. The only theory I can come up with is that the Tassy emails are from Ninoska, trying to further discredit the instructor with the breach of confidentiality.

Does anyone else have any ideas?

By plum grenville (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

The entity or entities calling themselves 'Tassy' and 'Ninoska' here sound like mental cases and/or trolls to me.
I wouldn't be surprised if this was all a hoax.

Ah, Interwebs, will you never cease to confound us?

By Steven Sullivan (not verified) on 05 Apr 2009 #permalink

astrounit, in your comments #431 and #432, you berate the sceptical people for uncovering evidence showing that the e-mails have (beyond reasonable doubt) been altered, and concluding that the story of persecution (which relied on the validity of those e-mails) therefore looks fabricated.

However, your comments #148 and #152 reveal that you had no problem coming to the conclusion that the teacher was guilty based only on the evidence presented by the accuser.

#431:

All I said was that I had misgivings about people arriving at judgements based on information they simply can't be that sure of...

#152:

Tassy: "I have to advocate for my patients..."
Oh, right. I wonder if her advocacy extends to homosexual patients.
This liar is a potentially dangerous nurse.

------------------------------

Codeblue (#433), are you the open.salon user "Codeblue insomnia", who claims to be the student in question?

------------------------------

Gerald (#440), the screen-shots were from a web-browser.

------------------------------

I actually LOLed when I opened this page this morning to see "TassyMK" posting.

GUYS, WE'RE BEING PLAYED LIKE FIDDLE.

PZ, for the love of all that is tentacled, please lock this thread.

GUYS, WE'RE BEING PLAYED LIKE A FIDDLE.

(need more coffee)

wow!
this is the bizarrest thread I've ever been a part of.

this is obviously a joke to many, including "tassy"

This entire body of herrings and responses here at Pharyngula and at the other sites following the initial statement of unfair discrimination would make an interesting novel; as of now, no one can skip to the ending and see the conclusion that the author had intended.
Very Ruth Rendell-ish plot and development, but taking it beyond Rendell's writing style published in books: the psychological mystery played out on-line, in which we are all participating and thus producing the body of the tale.

This is back-tracking, of course - I think that the real Ninoska initially posted on the web just to try to get some emotional support for her in her perceived injustices.

Its just that someone could write a marvelous novel from what her posting it on the internet has produced: maybe "The Strange Case of Ninoska"

@ dreikin #423

Both of those are, at the least, no worse than average

That the problem is common, or even the norm, does not stop it being bad. If anything, it makes it worse (from the point of view of society / progress). It does however, as I said, preclude her from being not-stupid, ie out of the normal stupid bracket (which was the original claim made in #393).

there are indications Ninoska is not as tech savvy as she claims

Her failure to recognise (or check) that she's using the right words (and her lack of comprehension of basic concepts) again puts her firmly outside the not-stupid end of the spectrum.

I actually think pharyngulites(the ones that cared to read through all the comments anyway)did a good job in being sceptical about this.
We will be your best friend if you are truly discriminated against and in trouble,but we will also go after you and expose your fraud and lies should your story not hold up !

I am now almost convinced this story is not what it first seemed to be,but I think we still dont know what really happened.

Should this be discussed on the internet,with full names and personal info? No I dont think so,but we a) didnt start it,and b) the parties involved now seem to be participating in the open discussion happily.
And from reading her myspace page and comments and letters,I would agree this student is probably not suited for nursing.As to the instructor,we have to withhold judgement until we have all the details.

We will be your best friend if you are truly discriminated against and in trouble,but we will also go after you and expose your fraud and lies should your story not hold up!

She's lucky that she didn't attract the attention of the /b/tards at 4chan: an internet army vastly more powerful than the Pharyngulan horde, but much less forgiving of individuals who try to take advantage of them. No-one messes with Anonymous and gets away with it.

She's lucky that she didn't attract the attention of the /b/tards at 4chan: an internet army vastly more powerful than the Pharyngulan horde

Yeah,maybe in numbers.Maybe not.Not in any other category methinks.
Anyway,a good thread,this one.Very interesting.But then,I love detective novels.

Yeah,maybe in numbers.Maybe not.Not in any other category methinks.

Just in ability to make shit happen (usually, but not always, for the worse) those /b/tards are plainly and simply the most powerful online community there is.

The “My Love Affair With Medicine” story by ‘Ninoska’ is in the non-fiction category at Stationhill.com, and the author herself subtitles it a “True Story.” Check out the following line:

It didn’t matter that my tag only said “Medical Student” under “Mount Sinai School of Medicine”. The absence of “Dr.” was overlooked.

If the story is, in fact, non-fiction, Ninoska was a medical student (student doctor, not nurse) at a New York City school during 9/11. This is yet another thing about this situation that doesn’t add up. Why would a medical student from 2001 end up a nursing student in a different country in 2007?

By woo woozy (not verified) on 06 Apr 2009 #permalink

In answer to the person who wondered if Ninoska was a real person, there is an entry for Ninoska Garcia-Ortiz, J S Woodsworth Secondary School (Nepean, ON, CA), Class of 1997, at http://namesdatabase.com/people/GARCIA-ORTIZ/NINOSKA/11055365.

Entrance into US medical schools requires completion of a 4-year undergraduate college degree and specific premedical course requirements plus acceptable scores on the MCAT exam. Ninoska could only have been a first-year medical student at the time of 9/11. First years don’t typically wander the city dressed in scrubs (as per the story). Most first-year coursework is basic science lecture and lab (gross anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, embryology, etc…) with introduction to patient interviewing and basic patient assessment skills added into the mix.

By woo woozy (not verified) on 06 Apr 2009 #permalink

Hihi

Just in ability to make shit happen (usually, but not always, for the worse) those /b/tards are plainly and simply the most powerful online community there is.

All hail Xenu! (and possibly his numerous body thetans)

In any event, it is possible the emails are not fake, also remember not everyone is a computer expert, a lot of people know only how to turn it on and use a web browser, sad but true. (my first computer was a 1KB ZX81 I got when I was 7, you had to know how to at least write in Basic to get it to do anything, quite a bit different to how things are now)

As for the misalignment, I eyed it in some detail but can't say for certain it's an edit, it /looks/ like an edit but it could also be an oddity with hotmail and that browser, the appearing plugin someone commented on could just be bad timing too... a two hour gap between emails is easily long enough to install something else.

With the information we have I don't think it's possible to be certain either way although I'm a little (read very) suspicious of the student and teacher in question somehow turning up on this very blog within hours of each other, is there any way PZ or one of the mods could check the IPs and see if they are one and the same? that'd answer questions about the posters here at least (although alas tell us nothing about the incident itself)

Well, regardless of veracity, I for one am both willing & happy to find some humour in this.

Well, regardless of veracity, I for one am both willing & happy to find some humour in this.

The alternatives here seem to be a incompetent homophobic nursing instructor being sheltered by uncaring admin people in the face of blatant mistreatment of a student,or a female nursing student with traits of borderline personality disorder that is trying to make her case on the Internet by blaming an instructor for her own failure and shortcomings.
Im not quite seeing the humour here,to be honest.

Just for the record, comment #464 wasn't me. I've been sitting here reading a paper on Cretaceous fossil sharks. I've largely ignored this thread. I didn't write #464.

@ clinteas #465

You missed off a couple of alternatives (at least!):

3. Both people exist and are dangerously incompetent (in slightly different ways), regardless of which way the case goes on the main issue at stake.

4. Both characters are figments of some internet troll's imagination (even though the names used are real).

@ SEF,

yeah true,good point.

@ Josh(resident geologist),

didnt think that was you....

didnt think that was you....

Excellent.

I've been sitting here reading a paper on Cretaceous fossil sharks.

I do that a lot too when Im bored at night...:D

I presume there is a way to upload things from a hard-drive rather than just post from other websites*? I'd post the .pdf for you and you could see what a page-turner it is...

It's resulted in some additional coffee intake, let me tell you.

*Yes, again, I'm showing my lack of html prowess.

I presume there is a way to upload things from a hard-drive rather than just post from other websites*

I don't think so unless you are running a webserver from your house, and judging by your * I'm going to guess not.

If they allowed uploads to their server that could get real nasty real quick.

Well,if its any consolation,Ive been watching "Crossing Jordan" while keeping an eye on the threads and casting my eye over a paper called "Uterine artery embolization: An underused method of controlling pelvic hemorrhage."
LOL

If they allowed uploads to their server that could get real nasty real quick.

Yeah, I was kind of suspecting that. Too bad. For a lot of those pictures I hunted around to find for Alan, I had exactly what I wanted to show him sitting right on my bloody computer.

shonny | 447

Had a boss in Australia, the Monkey, who is one, and the problem was that he seemed to believe all his own bullshit himself, as if he was operating in a parallel universe where BS is reality.

That's nothing. We had an entire administration like that here in the US. Ours wasn't a monkey though - more of a shrub. But full of kwok-sure ignorance.

It's definite consolation...

There is humor, regardless of veracity, for this reason: If it's true (which would be bad, we'll all agree), then we can see where we all take ourselves too seriously, and this whole debate is a joke. If it's false, then the joke's still on us, because this whole debate is a joke.

Apparently, those who are saying they don't see the humor, are unable to laugh at themselves...

By Josh(the that … (not verified) on 06 Apr 2009 #permalink

@477: we should letter ourselves or number ourselves.

"In comment #23, JoshA2 wrote:...."

I kind of like being (the one that isn't the other one), now that I know that's who I am ;)

By Josh(the one t… (not verified) on 06 Apr 2009 #permalink

i@477: we should letter ourselves or number ourselves.

Do you not find that you have already been individually coded? I certainly have. Or reflection, though, my full DNA sequence is probably a little long to be used effectively as a username...

I kind of like being (the one that isn't the other one), now that I know that's who I am ;)

I am suspicious that you may not really be who you say you aren't.
And is there anyone else you aren't, or is your non-identity confined only to Josh the Geologist?

When Josh gets his "Order of the Molly", for outstanding geological service and official appointment as Resident Geologist;that will take care of name suffixes.

@481 First, let me say touche and well done.

Second, all I can offer is my assurance that I am not who I say I am not, at least when I say that I am not Josh (not 'the one that isn't the other one', but the one who is the other, and doesn't number or letter himself even though he suggests we do so). As to not being other people beside Josh-the-Geologist (who I'm not certain even exists to begin with), I can only say that I'm usually not, but occasionally am. If at any time you suspect that I may be who you think I am, all I can say is that you must ask. If I tell you I am not who you think I am, then you'll know it's me.

;)

By Josh (the one … (not verified) on 06 Apr 2009 #permalink

(who I'm not certain even exists to begin with),

You too, huh? I thought it was just me wondering if I really exist. I had figured that I just needed to read less philosophy. But if you suspect it as well, well then...fuck.

Now would be a great time to disappear in a puff of logic, but sadly that ability escapes me.

By Josh-the-Geologist (not verified) on 06 Apr 2009 #permalink

@ Josh #471:

I presume there is a way to upload things from a hard-drive rather than just post from other websites*?

In theory, you could arrange to share your hard drive on the net. In practice, you really really really wouldn't want to do that!

If you own the rights to the PDF, or know for certain that it should be allowed to be public domain, but don't have webspace of your own to use, you can upload it onto a temporary file hosting website and then post here the link to that storage. Eg a website I've used a few times before, for exchanging things in formats which aren't covered by the many image-hosting websites, is savefile:

http://www.savefile.com/

You don't need to register to use it and neither does anyone to whom you wish to pass the file (or at least that certainly used to be the case for the past couple of years of using it!). However, it's possible your PDF may exceed the current 100MB file limit.

@483 - whoever-the-fuck-you-aren't - I am a little worried that your non-existential angst may have got the better of you. Please feel free to be anyone you don't want to be.

In certain jobs this could be a problem, but not on the internet. I say this because I have recently befriended a Professor of Philosophy, who was frankly bemused by my question to him:
"Do all the members of the philosophy department greet each other in the morning with a brief but necessary proof of their own existence?"
Apparently, they don't.

SEF, thanks, much. I'm aware of those options. That seemed a little involved for a blog comment (and there is that file size issue)

Bigots like this are surprisingly arrogant. Tassy seems to think that she is just so incredibly gorgeous that any lesbian who lays eyes on her will immediately fall for her and start harassing her. Personally, I think of lesbians the same way I think of straight men. Some will like me, some won't, and if I'm not interested, I expect them to respect that. And I would expect everyone to be professional and not hit on me if I am their patient. I wouldn't care if I had a nurse of any gender or orientation. There is more to human interaction than just sex, and I would expect a hospital setting to be about my health care.

@486:

They don't (greet each other with proofs of their own existence) because they are all just figments of your imagination. They all know it, and thought you did, too; which explains the professor's bemusement when you asked him about it.

By josh (the one … (not verified) on 06 Apr 2009 #permalink

"The alternatives here seem to be a incompetent homophobic nursing instructor being sheltered by uncaring admin people in the face of blatant mistreatment of a student,or a female nursing student with traits of borderline personality disorder that is trying to make her case on the Internet by blaming an instructor for her own failure and shortcomings.
Im not quite seeing the humour here,to be honest."

Then you are *clearly* not looking very hard.

I'm none too sure whether I should believe in figments of my imagination or not. After all, Santa Claus clearly exists. But now you mention it, the Philosophy Professor avoided proving his existence so perhaps he really wasn't there...oh dear, existence is so difficult to get your head around, isn't it?

Here's a simple test to prove your professor's existence:

Ask him if you exist. If he says yes, then clearly he's a figment of your imagination, trying to assuage an ego bruised by your existential insecurities. If he says no, then clearly he's also a figment of your imagination; this one being that part of you that is self-defeating in your quest for knowledge. The only right answer he can give is: 'I don't know,' for this will indicate that he's on the same path you are, and uncertain as to whether or not you are a figment of his imagination.

If you're attracted to the person in question, btw, the proper response to the answer of 'I don't know' is, "I do, and I'll prove it to you on Tuesday at 8 o'clock, at [name of local pub]." Though, this may not be appropriate for a student/professor relationship.

By josh (currentl… (not verified) on 06 Apr 2009 #permalink

Existence should really be traded out as a term in favor of sentience. Santa Claus isn't sentient.

@493

Prove it ;)

By Josh (still pr… (not verified) on 06 Apr 2009 #permalink

Santa Claus isn't sentient.

He is, however uniquely Santaient.
Re: possible non-existence of Philosophy professors - I have been so shaken by not only his refusal to prove his existence, but even to take the question seriously - so I have consequently decided not to believe in him personally.
Other members of his profession are provisionally real, however.
I don't think I can be any fairer than that.

I'm still shaking my head over 'Santaient'...

hehe

By Josh (not both… (not verified) on 06 Apr 2009 #permalink

It's beginning to sound very Notes on a Scandal. I wonder if Ninoska looks like Dame Judi Dench.

By Cliff Hendroval (not verified) on 06 Apr 2009 #permalink

Oh great: now we've got both Ninoska and Tassy showing up to defend themselves. I strongly suspect that the "TassyMK" commenter is not the real Tassy -- it would be very unprofessional and unwise to get into a public slanging match over an ongoing investigation. This whole thing has a strong smell of tactical syntax.

it would be very unprofessional and unwise to get into a public slanging match over an ongoing investigation

... and this precludes it happening how exactly?!

it would be very unprofessional and unwise to get into a public slanging match over an ongoing investigation

... and this precludes it happening how exactly?!

Yes, that thought has occurred to me. However, I would be surprised if the College has not sternly directed all their staff to absolutely STFU about this until the legal dust has settled. Of course, ignoring that would seem entirely consistent with the Tassy of Ninoska's allegations (though she has certainly toasted her employment by doing so -- very, very stupid). OTOH, it is also consistent with a troll trying to stir the pot a bit.

OTGH, I'm gonna sit tight and hope that there will be some public resolution. Then we'll all know, and can stop speculating.