Sent to Academe@aaup.org – Part 1

Query:

I’m trying to get background information on situations like the one I’m describing here (as succinctly as possible):

Three students in a journalism ethics class of 21 decided that they didn’t like the class (two flunked an assignment and one didn’t do the assignment) and met with a deputy chair of my department who told them how to file a complaint against this instructor and the deputy chair said that the department has been trying to get rid of this instructor and that their complaint would help.

The three students took the information back to the instructor’s journalism ethics class, relayed what the deputy chair said and tried to recruit students to joint in the complaint. The deputy chair also told the students that one they should tape the instructor’s class. One did. A dean told the instructor that at least 13 students supported the complaint but it was subsequently learned that this wasn’t true, that there was a hardcore of about as many as six students.Eventually, three students filed the complaint and, later, another student joined the complaint. Usually complaints about grades are settled by the grade appeal process.

I’m trying to learn how widespread is this abuse of a policy as well as the manipulation of students to attack professors this way.

Thanks for any information,
Gregg Morris
Assistant Professor
Tenured

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