A Slackoisie Litmus Test

The discussion of the Slackoisie has left some to question its definition; Are you a member of the Slackoisie?  Via Amy Alkon, who has recently invoked their wrath, comes this exchange between NYU Professor Scott Galloway, founder of e-tailer redenvelope, and a potential student.


Sent: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 7:15:11 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific Subject: Brand Strategy Feedback

Prof. Galloway,


I would like to discuss a matter with you that bothered me. Yesterday evening I entered your 6pm Brand Strategy class approximately 1 hour late. As I entered the room, you quickly dismissed me, saying that I would need to leave and come back to the next class. After speaking with several students who are taking your class, they explained that you have a policy stating that students who arrive more than 15 minutes late will not be admitted to class.


As of yesterday evening, I was interested in three different Monday night classes that all occurred simultaneously. In order to decide which class to select, my plan for the evening was to sample all three and see which one I like most. Since I had never taken your class, I was unaware of your class policy. I was disappointed that you dismissed me from class considering (1) there is no way I could have been aware of your policy and (2) considering that it was the first day of evening classes and I arrived 1 hour late (not a few minutes), it was more probable that my tardiness was due to my desire to sample different classes rather than sheer complacency.


I have already registered for another class but I just wanted to be open and provide my opinion on the matter.


Regards,
xxxx



xxxx
MBA 2010 Candidate
NYU Stern School of Business
xxxx.nyu.edu
xxx-xxx-xxxx


The professor’s reply:


From: To: “xxxx” Sent: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 9:34:02 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific Subject: Re: Brand Strategy Feedback

xxxx:


Thanks for the feedback. I, too, would like to offer some feedback.


Just so I’ve got this straight…you started in one class, left 15-20 minutes into it (stood up, walked out mid-lecture), went to another class (walked in 20 minutes late), left that class (again, presumably, in the middle of the lecture), and then came to my class. At that point (walking in an hour late) I asked you to come to the next class which “bothered” you.


Correct?


You state that, having not taken my class, it would be impossible to know our policy of not allowing people to walk in an hour late. Most risk analysis offers that in the face of substantial uncertainty, you opt for the more conservative path or hedge your bet (e.g., do not show up an hour late until you know the professor has an explicit policy for tolerating disrespectful behavior, check with the TA before class, etc.). I hope the lottery winner that is your recently crowned Monday evening Professor is teaching Judgement and Decision Making or Critical Thinking.


In addition, your logic effectively means you cannot be held accountable for any code of conduct before taking a class. For the record, we also have no stated policy against bursting into show tunes in the middle of class, urinating on desks or taking that revolutionary hair removal system for a spin. However, xxxx, there is a baseline level of decorum (i.e., manners) that we expect of grown men and women who the admissions department have deemed tomorrow’s business leaders.


xxxx, let me be more serious for a moment. I do not know you, will not know you and have no real affinity or animosity for you. You are an anonymous student who is now regretting the send button on his laptop. It’s with this context I hope you register pause…REAL pause xxxx and take to heart what I am about to tell you:


xxxx, get your shit together.


Getting a good job, working long hours, keeping your skills relevant, navigating the politics of an organization, finding a live/work balance…these are all really hard, xxxx. In contrast, respecting institutions, having manners, demonstrating a level of humility…these are all (relatively) easy. Get the easy stuff right xxxx. In and of themselves they will not make you successful. However, not possessing them will hold you back and you will not achieve your potential which, by virtue of you being admitted to Stern, you must have in spades. It’s not too late xxxx…


Again, thanks for the feedback.


Professor Galloway


Who’s right? 

72 thoughts on “A Slackoisie Litmus Test

  1. RainerK

    The prof.

    The reasoning of the troglodyte is “If there is no rule against it, it must be good manners.”

    How come that so many appear to think a law is all that’s needed to teach and enforce manners?

  2. Dissent

    The prof is right, of course.

    The sense of entitlement and lack of manners conveyed by the student is, sadly, all too prevalent in students today in many fields.

  3. Windypundit

    I guess I’m in the minority, but I think the professor comes across as a much bigger ass, starting with the fact that he gets his panties in a bunch because the unamed student interrupted his lecture for a few seconds. I’m sure he justifies this as caring for his students and not wanting to interrupt their education, but unless he’s an extraordinarily good lecturer, he had already wasted far more of their time than that.

    The student’s behavior wasn’t much better. Writing a letter of explanation to the professor was both presumptuous and foolish. It was presumptuous of the student to think the professor needed to know the reason he arrived late to class. It was foolish of the student to think he owed an explanation to a jerk. Never waste time explaining yourself to jerks.

    The difference is that the student is a student. He’s got a lot of learning to do. The professor, on the other hand, is supposed to be more mature. For example, he should be mature enough to realize that “demonstrating a level of humility” does not involve kicking students out of your class because they disobey your petty little rules.

    Speaking of petty little rules—and having just read the “culture of deceit” post, is it really okay for Associate Professor Galloway to sign his letters “Professor Galloway”?

  4. John Kindley

    Is treating college students like responsible adults consistent with placing on them the same attendance expectations high schools have for high school students? Certainly a student who doesn’t attend a class or shows up late does so at the risk of not learning material that may be on the exam, but these cost-benefit determinations are part of being a responsible adult. Who’s paying whom in the higher education context? I found that the expectations of my undergrad and law school profs varied in this regard, making the prof’s analogy to unwritten rules prohibiting pissing on desks disingenuous.

    What about the potential student coming in late made the student’s tardiness so inimical (in the prof’s estimation) to classroom decorum and good manners? (Odd that he drew the line at 15 minutes.) Was it an overinflated sense of the prof’s own authoritah? Is it an affront to his pride? After all, most of us who have attended college know that some college prof’s lectures aren’t particularly educational. Presumably that’s what the potential student, a paying customer, was trying to determine by visiting different classrooms.

    Although it depends on just how rude the prof was when he dismissed the potential student from his classroom, the student’s email does come across as gratuitous and unnecessary, since he had decided not to attend the prof’s class. However, the prof’s response, particularly his admonition to “get your shit together,” appears even more juvenile and bred of a sense of entitlement than the student’s.

  5. Rick Horowitz

    I’m pretty much with WindyPundit and John Kindley, both, on this.

    The student’s note struck me as a bit presumptuous, but not totally out of line. And, as John noted, not all classes are going to be a big benefit to everyone. I see nothing wrong with the student’s approach, although if it were me, I would have just moved on and written off that prof, instead of writing to him.

    The prof’s response was just pompous and of no utility. And the prof could benefit from his own advice, especially as to manners and humility.

  6. Dan

    I don’t think the point is that the professor wants the student to attend as a high school student is expected to attend. Its that the professor does not want disruptions. Its a lecture that starts at a certain time, not an open house. The affront to decorum and good manners is that the class starts at a time, and once you are there you conduct yourself a certain way, not do whatever you want.

    As far as the professor’s email evincing a sense of entitlement- he is entitled to run his class as he sees fits, and if that’s with minimal interruptions, that’s his prerogative. Its the student who is not entitled to do as he pleases, paying customer or not.

    I disagree with the view of professional students as customers. You’re paying for the education, the pedagogical expertise of the faculty, which in this case includes a determination that the lecture shall not take place with people coming and going as they please.

  7. brian tannebaum

    I think I provided my opinion in the link included in my comment. I also think you’re just asking me because you know I was on a field trip all day with a bunch of 5th graders and you want to see how quick you can get my blood sugar up, because you don’t care that I’m diabetic Mr. Key Lime Pie.

  8. Jamie

    The whole thing makes me feel like walking into Professor Galloway’s class 16 minutes late and urinating on one of the desks. One of the empty ones, of course.

    But then, I’ve never been known for my maturity.

  9. SHG

    Actually, the clip made me wonder whether you remembered Ray Walston as My Favorite Martian.  That leaves two questions unanswered.

  10. Carolyn Elefant

    I don’t think that this is the best hypothetical for a slackoise litmus test. As I remember in college, students usually have an opportunity to audit a variety of classes at least during the first week to make up their minds about which one to take. I don’t know if this college had a similar policy, but it seems very sensible.

    Now, if the guy came an hour late 6 weeks into the course, with an excuse about having overslept, that would be another story.

  11. Jamie

    That was the deal when I went to school. I never made use of the policy, and I don’t think most of my friends did either, but there were a few times where it might not have been such a bad idea.

    I can admit that to the prof (or is that asst. prof?) it could seem rude, but let me ask this? How did the emails become public?

    If it was Galloway’s doing, seems like he just enjoys the prospect of others enjoying his tongue lashing, which isn’t all that admirable.

    If it was the student’s way of trying to make the a-prof seem like an a-hole, perhaps he partially succeeded.

    And to answer SHG’s question (since this is my first serious attempt at a comment on this post), let me answer with a question of my own.

    Does either one of them have to be right? Can’t both of them be wrong, or at least “not right”?

  12. Dissent

    It may not be the best hypothetical, Carolyn, but I think it’s a pretty good demonstration of a sense of entitlement. Not only did the student feel entitled to just wander into a class after it started without first contacting the the professor to ask if it would be okay, and without any regard for any disruption to the professor’s attention or to the class, but then he felt entitled to waste more of the professor’s time because he felt “bothered” by how he was treated and he wanted to be “open.” It was all about him and how he was treated. Nowhere in his email do I read a genuine apology to the professor for the disruption he caused by walking into the class as he did. Now maybe he thinks he’s entitled to create a disruption (however small) because his needs and schedule are so important that others’ needs don’t matter as much, but I think he needed — and got — an appropriate smackdown and lesson in manners.

  13. SHG

    What a terribly disappointing response.  It’s an excellent hypo, as demonstrated by the diverse opinions from reasonable people.  The only bad response so far is yours, which appears to have no purpose other than to avoid a response by trying to change the question. 

  14. SHG

    There’s no correct answer here.  That’s what makes it a litmus test.  It’s all a matter of perspective.

  15. unfrozenlawyer

    I’ll bite. I admire the professor. Here are the reasons the student is wrong:

    1. He’s enrolled in a top MBA program. This means he’s had at east two years of work experience on top of his undergraduate schooling. If the student were a freshman, I’d be more understanding.

    2. Regardless of whether the school has a policy that allows it, and I assume given the professor’s reaction that it doesn’t, the student was rude to his fellow students. I know I hated it when my classmates pulled similar stunts. Its rude and distracting. Some of us are paying to be there.

  16. SHG

    You’re the first person to consider the fact that there are other students who are affected by the conduct, and that they are entitled to a disruption-free class.  Well done.

  17. Mike

    If a guy cuts me off in traffic and doesn’t give me the, “My bad, bro,” wave: I’m allowed to honk once or twice. If I slam on the horn and continue screaming, then I got issues.

    The slackoisie was wrong, and the professor has issues.

  18. unfrozenlawyer

    My sister will graduate from college this semester. She complains to me endlessly about how rude her classmates are – talking, leaving early, messing around on the internet, asking for concessions far above those offered to other students,etc.

    We were just raised differently, I guess.

  19. Jamie

    [Well, at least it’s not a terribly disappointing cop out non-answer 🙂 ]

    According to their website, during the first three weeks of the fall and spring semesters, [NYU] students have the ability to drop and add courses.

    I got that off of the NYU-Wagner website, but when I googled around for the same info on NYU-Stern’s site, where a-prof Galloway teaches, the best I could come up with for their particular policy was this page, where the only concern seems to be alerting students that if they don’t add/drop correctly, that they will still owe the university all or at least some of the money for the class.

    There’s only a few reasons for the administration to have an “add” part of that policy. (1) They don’t care whether students show up at all to the first few weeks of lectures or (2) they anticipate that students will sample classes, and then make up their minds. Sampling will then lead some to try classes scheduled at the same time.

    I don’t have the slightest idea why the student emailed the prof, and I’ve already suggested (s)he may not be completely in the right, but we also don’t know whether the student opened the door quietly and tried to sit down unobtrusively in the back row. It seems unlikely that they made a huge production out of their late entrance (but, yes, it’s possible).

    It’s even more likely that our a-prof hero made a bit of a production out of kicking the intruder out of class. Although I can’t prove I was the first to think of the other students, I did in fact consider that their consumption of the a-prof’s brilliance was interrupted as least as much by his teachable moment as by the stealth or lack there of of the interloper.

    All the while, a simple “glad you could join us” would have sufficed.

    More facts than are knowable are required to reach a conclusion, but the more I think about it, the a-prof appears to me to be an insufferable bully. Probably because I assumed the student would have made a meek and mild entry, which as other commenters have attested to, isn’t always the case. And because, true or not, I can feel how pleased Galloway is with himself in that response.

  20. Nagita Karunaratne

    15 minutes is pretty generous. Most professors I know would get peeved if you come in more than 5 minutes late. It really disrupts everybody’s train of thought.

    The student should have split his ‘class evaluation’ over three days.

  21. SHG

    Whether a school permits auditing, or add/drop has no bearing on whether the behavior of the student and professor was proper or improper.  Sampling classes doesn’t mean come and go as you please during the midst of class/lecture.  It’s a total red herring.

  22. SHG

    Is it possible for a professor to be condescending without being redundant?  Wouldn’t they throw him out of the pedagogical club?

  23. mglickman

    I saw this posted last week somewhere. My initial reaction was that the Prof was my hero, although I was more impressed with the tone of the email than the content.
    The student’s email, though, is absolutely ridiculous. It is one step above whining on a live journal page… or whatever it is people whine on nowadays.

  24. RainerK

    No Mike, under your scenario you’re not allowed to honk even once. Your thinking is as wrong as that student’s. Think about it. What is the horn installed on your car intended for? It is a warning device, innit? E.g. for Washington State google “RCW 46.37.380” to review the legal side of it.
    You’re not warning anyone, you’re venting, that is your reaction is about you, not the bigger picture, just like that student.
    Now think a step further. If everybody honks other than for warning, i.e. alerting another of a danger, who is going to pay attention to a honk when it counts?

  25. Timothy R. Hughes

    I am amazed anyone is defending the professor at all. He had a minor point regarding the attendance and closing his class, but that could have been made in a single sentence. Instead, he went off like an arrogant tool.

  26. RainerK

    Yeah, SHG, I saw that. I thought of linking, but I know better than that. 🙂

    Since the topic is decorum, manners and similar out-of-date concepts, were you as struck as I was by the liberal use of the f-word and other assorted civilized language in the comments to the piece on deadspin? Man, I’m so totally, utterly uncool! WT.. er – sorry.

  27. PrisonMovement

    Im not a lawyer so I feel a bit out of league here; I am commenting from my non legal perspective…

    I agree- we WERE raised differently; not only manners, but we were taught RESPECT – a BIG part of my upbringing- something missing in the American family now for about the last 20+ yrs.

  28. BCS

    While inappropriate (although funny) in tone, the professor was right. The only thing missing from the student’s email was the fact that it wasn’t sent by the kid’s mom and dad.

    In their effort to protect their kids from failure the parents of Gen Y (or the Millennials as they are called now), they’ve messed them up. College and Law Schools Admissions offices are full of stories of Millennial parents who attend interviews with their kids. I know a guy who still does his kids’ taxes for them (ages 22, 24 and 28). This generation just does not know (1) what it means to fail at something and how to overcome the failure, and (2) how to do shit themselves.

    With all this hand-holding, the damn student never learned that it wasn’t ok to send a lame-ass explanation email to a professor when he’s rude enough to interrupt the professor and other students with his stupid plan. You gotta pick your battles, and in no circumstances should you pick the battle of explaining why you’re a rude little prick to anyone — you’re never going to win that one. Ever.

  29. Windypundit

    It must be a cultural difference between colleges or subjects, because most professors I’ve known just don’t care. Students wander in and out all the time. It’s the nature of college (especially night school). Then again, I know professors who take phone calls on their cell phones during class…

  30. SHG

    I always caution about reliance on personal anecdotes as evidence of anything.  Some people, like Susan Cartier Leibel, invariably have a personal anecdote the proves her point, but by definition, it can never be tested since no one else knows Susan’s personal experience except Susan.  If she were to make it up, who would know? 

    Most of us here are college grads at least, some even post-grads, and have our own experiences in school.  We could thus argue why one person’s experiences are better (more worthy?) than anothers, but that would get us nowhere since each is as entitled to his own experience as anyone else.  Thus, it’s best to avoid the anecdotal justification and try to find a more objective measure of propriety.

  31. Sam Paris

    If the student interrupted the lecture, then he is nearly as big an ass as the professor.

    On the other hand, he is a much better writer than the prof.

  32. Windypundit

    That’s what I was alluding to when I wrote “I’m sure he justifies this as caring for his students and not wanting to interrupt their education, but unless he’s an extraordinarily good lecturer, he had already wasted far more of their time than that.” My point being that interruptions from late-arriving students are only a significant disruption if there’s something important going on to disrupt—which is not very likely in most classrooms most of the time.

  33. SHG

    Yeah, well, you’ve projected some things into your statement which are purely speculative, and go beyond a fair assumption.  I wouldn’t say that it’s a fair default position that nothing worthwhile is being said in the lecture, such that any disruption is insignificant.  You are really imposing your personal experience onto the situation when you assume that to be the case, and even if you (or the student) think it accurate, you would be imposing your view onto the other students in the class as well as the professor.  You just can’t wipe the issue away by saying, “so what, he probably wasn’t saying anything important anyway.”

  34. Windypundit

    There is no objective measure of propriety when it comes to something like entering a classroom late—there are only community standards.

  35. SHG

    I think the only community that matters is comprised of the students and professor.  The greater community must yield to those who are actually affected, so that’s why I suggest we not project our anecdotal experiences onto the information contained in the emails to change the scenario.

  36. John Burgess

    When and where I was in university, there was a rule that missing three classes without extraordinary excuse resulting in a failing grade for the semester.

    I guess that’s too troglodytish for today’s slackers.

    What amuses me, immensely, is the way a certain crop of today’s students are livid with the sense of entitlement assumed by others, like unto a king’s ermine.

  37. Mike

    Honking is a warning that, in a state of nature, homeboy might have met his end. It’s a good warning that civilization is a thin veneer; and people should mind their manners.

    Plus, if you cut me off, I’m not going to passively-aggressively stew. If it’s your fault, then you’re going to hear about it. Among other reasons, society is collapsing because people don’t say, “You’re out of line.” Instead, people silently brood. Anti-social people need checked.

    As for the legal cite…LOL, who cares? Scott’s post was about mores, not law. Not every question involving human affairs is a legal question. In fact, most aren’t.

  38. Mike

    “In their effort to protect their kids from failure the parents of Gen Y”

    Great spin. Those kind-hearted Boomers are just misguided. If only they weren’t such good people! 😉 Or…

    Could it be that the Boomer parents view an injury to their child as a direct assault on the parents themselves? Thus, it’s the need to protect the parent’s persona that leads to helicopter parenting? If that’s so, then Boomers are far from misguided; but instead are playing out their own narcissistic games through their children.

  39. SHG

    You might want to reconsider this comment in light of the fact that it appears to only be a misplace comma in the sentence.  Read the whole sentence again and consider whether your point may be more a reflection of paranoia on your part?  Or, you may have read the sentence correctly and simply are paranoid, in which case, never mind.

  40. SHG

    Ah, another new piece to the puzzle, heretofore unmentioned.  How righteous can a prof be when he’s teaching brand strategy?  Well done.

  41. Amy Derby

    This is what happens when schools like DePaul start offering classes called “Twitter ‘Investigative’ Journalism 101” — the brand strategy professors at Stern get cocky.

  42. Mike

    No paranoia. The current narrative is that Boomers are such great people whose main fault is loving their children so gosh-darned much. Boomers may have screwed up; but by golly, they meant well.

    An alternative narrative is that helicopter parenting is merely the Boomers’ self-love. “How dare you treat to MY Johnny that way” really means, “How dare you treat ME that way.” Subtle, but material. It reveals Boomers are not misguided altruists, but totally self-involved narcissists.

    In which case the conflict between Boomers and Slackers has everything to do with the inevitable conflict that will result between narcissists. Boomers are angry that the Slackers won’t conform to the Boomers’ will. Who is more entitled: Those who won’t conform, or those who demand conformity?

    Boomers are far from hapless victims of Slackers. Boomers want to exploit the Slackers as much as they can. The Slackers are pushing back. Thus, the conflict is a battle of wills that has little relation to anything resembling “right” or “wrong.”

    Just like the hypo in your post did not involve a hero or villain, but instead involved two entitled, petty-minded jerks: The current generational struggle isn’t a morality play.

  43. SHG

    Some people just see a misplaced comma.  Others a passion play.  You’ve read an awful lot into a sentence, but if you say no paranoia, who am I to argue? 

  44. SHG

    Since you put so much effort into your response, I left you a lengthy comment on your blog. Getting along doesn’t require that we cease thinking and pretend that issues don’t exist. 

  45. mglickman

    That’s his “Personal Brand” – it explains why the emails were leaked in the first place. Doesn’t change my disdain of the student’s email, though.

  46. Stephen

    I have this policy at my university just now, it’s really not the worst thing that could happen to you – you just attend all the classes you’re supposed to while you attend university. Nelson Mandela had it worse.

    I quite like the lecturer’s reply. I thought “I hope the lottery winner that is your recently crowned Monday evening Professor” is a particularly brilliant line.

    My problem with the student’s technique is simply what they expect to discover out of a de-contextualised 10 minutes in the middle of a lecture. I wonder if the student is going by which lecturer is funnier or something. I don’t agree at all that the lecturer probably wasn’t saying anything worthwhile but I wonder how well you can pick it up if you’re coming into it an hour late and only staying for 10-15 minutes. A lot of people can’t seem to get the cap off their pen in that time.

  47. The Scots Law Student

    Rorschach Blot

    Scott Greenfield, the old curmudgeon that he is, has posted a blog post on the nerve of youngsters these days. I never really like reading about the Slackoisie – just because I have a nagging sense that I may fall under the umbrella but he does h…

  48. Stephen

    Hypothetical: You’re an adult, you have a meeting. You schedule two other meetings at the same time and arrive for the meeting you were originally supposed to be at an hour after it started.

    Do you get a handshake when you walk in the door?

  49. smurfy

    Stephen, a more appropriate analogy would be: You’re an adult, you go to a conference. There are 3 concurrent sessions you think you can gain value from. After 2 minutes you realize you picked a loser, do you get up and go to a different session?

    Is it a cop out to answer that the ‘rightest’ people in the scenario are the other students in the room who know the identity of XXXX yet refrain from outing him/her on the web? Also, some have alluded to the fact that they are ultimately the victims here. I see the prof forwarding the email to the rest of the class as a way to amuse and reward them, they’ve been compensated.

  50. Stephen

    I don’t agree, in that case he doesn’t realise he’s picked a loser until he attends, whereas here he’s just sampling them all. Presumably the adult at the conference would have stayed for the whole session if it was good.

    The guy in the email isn’t leaving because the lecture is bad, he’s trying them out in turn. He was always going to leave and head to the next class on his list regardless of the quality of the session. It’s the deciding in advance to go to a small part of a few different classes that I’m comparing to like scheduling meetings at the same time.

  51. Mike Gort

    You nailed this one, Scott. Perfect definition of the Slackoisie. Full of entitlement; no regard for the rights of others. BTW, I would argue that this is not an age limited term – just seems to be more of them in this current generation. But over the last thirty years, I have seen plenty from each generation.

    —Mike

  52. SHG

    I agree. Slackoisie is really an attitude rather than a generational definition, and there are Millennial who refuse to fit the definiton.  But it does seem to be far more pervasive with Gen Y and to a lesser extent, Gen X.

  53. R S

    The student should take the professor’s response, print it out, laminate, and use it as a study guide for the rest of his or her graduate career.

    One of the many problems with this student is their lack of Copernican understanding (i.e. the world doesn’t revolve around them). Their opinion about the classroom policies isn’t relevant.

    In my classrooms, I’m seen as an “ogre” because I no longer allow laptops in class (and I’m more computer literature than my students). Why the draconian measures? It’s simple. They distract other students. Of course, I teach mostly freshmen and sophomores, so sophomoric behavior is the norm, but the policy exists to that OTHER students don’t get distracted by YouTube videos (or worse) in class.

    The student is still a kid, made a dumb move, and got called on it. They should PayPal the professor a few bucks for the cheap life lesson.

  54. Curt Sampson

    One key bit of evidence that’s missing here (to my probably somewhat Slackoise mind–being in my early 40s I’m still relatively young) is, how much did the student disrupt the class? Quietly slipping into the back row of an auditorium containing several hundred people is rather different from barging into a seminar with six people in it. I have no idea whether it was the student or the prof. who disrupted the class more, and thus was responsible for wasting the time and attention of the other students. And that’s what this is all about, right?

    (I suppose one could argue here that if the prof. noticed the kid slipping into class, the kid was too disruptive.)

    That said, are there not better ways of figuring out for which class you should register? Were the professors walled off in advance of the classes? If from reading the calendar you’re not sure which class would be best for you, doesn’t it make sense to get in touch with some of the professors in advance and either make an appointment or at least ask them via e-mail what their advice would be? The kid does sound rather as if he’s looking more for entertainment than education.

    In university, childish rules about attendance are entirely inappropriate, except in as much as they are there to protect other students against disruption of the learning experience. By that age you’re responsible for your own education, and if you can do better by skipping unimportant (to you) lectures to do something more productive, well good for you. If doing that screws up your education and you fail due to failing exams or not handing in coursework, well, that’s all on you too.

  55. Ill-Mannered Lecturer

    I’m with the student on this one. I’m a lecturer at a public university and run a very student-centered classroom, not one in which my precious words cannot be momentarily stopped for something so trivial. NYU is a ridiculously expensive school, and if a student is trying to make a well-reasoned decision on a course that costs thousands of dollars, then more power to him/her in “sampling.” I’d rather have a student an hour late for a class than one who withdraws mid-semester after I’ve already invested time in developing a relationship and assessment. (And yes, I do develop relationships with my students. Fancy that! I know their names!) Galloway, I believe, has a pole to extract.

  56. SHG

    Two years after this post was published and under the veil of pseudonymity, not persuasive despite the historic antipathy between lecturer and professor.

  57. Eliza

    Complete tangent. For many reasons, I have grown to despise the use of the phrase “student centered classroom.” It conjures up images of a professor from my sophomore year sitting on her desk, in a meditative position, discussing the readings of the day. At the time, we were all enthralled…yes, this is education. Years later, I realize it was a waste of money.

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