NYU state of mind...

Jan 09 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

If you haven't seen the email stream that Sara Ackerman, an NYU student, has been circulating about her professor's assignment on OWS, you've got to see it.  Not passing judgment on the girl, but all I can say is wow.

18 responses so far

  • Chris says:

    While I agree with her original grievance that she shouldn't be forced to go to OWS, she clearly went about complaining in all the wrong ways which didn't help her case. In fact, having gone to OWS, she doesn't particularly HAVE a case anymore.
    (I am unclear what the class was in which this was occuring, unless it was a class specifically on OWS however, I don't see how going there is a necessary part of the class.)

  • becca says:

    If we have to consider the points made by OWS even if they are dirtysmellyhippies, then I suppose we might also stop to consider the points of privileged longwinded women who feel unsafe in public parks where rapes are known to happen.
    But 'wow' is fair, I think.

    • Backhanded threats of I know so and so at this and that does not make for valid defense. Not only that by going this public, she has in a sense committed professional suicide. What employer or graduate program may want to take someone who airs their dirty laundry to the whole department (and I guess interweb), rather than following the university-established protocol. Which I might add is outlined in every student code of conduct handbook present to students for which they are responsible for knowing.

      • becca says:

        Being at Penn State, I am not necessarily impressed with students following university-established protocol.
        It's easy to say she was wrong, and she would certainly be an obnoxious thorn in my side if I had the misfortune to be an NYU administrator, but if some NYU student goes down to OWS this week and gets raped, it'd be hard not to have some sympathy for her.
        I say it mostly as a thought experiment.

        At the point she actually did visit OWS, she could have done the assignment and no longer had that as a reasonable objection. For both NYU and the student it has become A Matter of Principle *rolls eyes*.

        Universities are bureaucratic. They have policies for two reasons:
        1) to cover their legal asses
        2) to ensure fair outcomes to disputes
        The former is associated with mega $. The later is associated with nothing, except perhaps an intangible morale level contribution that cannot be measured by a bureaucracy. I'll give you two guesses as to which most universities are concerned about.

        @theshortearedowl - actually adults between 19-23 are at heightened risk for rape, if they are female. And perhaps getting into fights, if their male (not sure about those statistics). For all I know, they are the people at highest risk in volatile public protests. Which may or may not explain why they are usually the exact people associated with volatile public protests.
        Personally, I think it's more compelling to point out the likelihood of the girl coming to a bad end on the NYU campus.

        • Isabel says:

          During my entire time as a young student and young professional living in NYC, during which I spent countless hours on subways, hanging with known hard drugs users and walking through/living in bad neighborhoods, the only time I experienced a violent attack (a crack addict jumping out from the shadows and knocking me down with a swift punch in the face) was while walking by a NYU construction zone on my way home from a babysitting job one evening (struggling to cover my expenses I had pocketed the taxi money).

  • Dr Becca says:

    The kicker (one of many) is when she threatens to "reveal" that her prof was a spousal hire. SCANDAL!!!

  • I love where she refers to sending "students between the ages of 19-23 to a dangerous site" as "a horrifying thought". 19-23? You mean adults?

  • drugmonkey says:

    She knows for a fact that associate professors can't be tenured.

  • Nico says:

    I also thought the "19-23" was hilarious, you mean people old enough to join the police, military or firefighters are sent to a PARK in broad daylight? Poor dears...

  • Isabel says:

    I couldn't get past the "I know people in high places" threats. And going against her "core values"? She wasn't asked to join the protest, just write about it. As far as her supposed fear, how does she survive on the NY subway? I guess she takes taxis everywhere, or maybe a limo. She went to the park with a group in broad daylight! And where was she stopped from bringing a couple of big guys with her, if that's what would make her feel safe? Couldn't her parents hire a bodyguard to accompany their entitled daughter? So much for the NYC experience.

    And I love how she linked to ratemyprofessors when the only two negative reviews were very recent and probably written by her.

    • Isabel,
      you didn't know that she is escorted around with a security that would make a UN diplomat jealous? Agree with you about not having to agree with their OWS's views, just go there and write up a short piece on what they believe. You are interviewing them, not the other way around. So much for learning objectivity anymore.

  • Having read all her e-mails, I think we should be feeling sympathy for this troubled young woman who is clearly having serious difficulty perceiving reality accurately, rather than mocking or deriding her. I hope she gets the help she needs. This is not just an "entitled" or "privileged" person.

    • Isabel says:

      Could you be more specific? To me she does sound stressed, and is having difficulties adjusting to the demands of college, but this is a very common experience for college students. She was already cleared by a counselor (according to her emails which have not been disputed on this point), and her parents appear to support her actions. I think we are criticizing how she is dealing with her situation.

  • You're not noticing the extreme paranoia about who at NYU is doing what and why they are doing it and how it is all directed specifically at her?

  • Isabel says:

    I did think about this more last night and thought maybe I was being harsh. We don't know the whole story, so it's true there is a possibility of more serious illness, though nothing seemed to stray too far from reality in her accounts. Her parental support and clearance from the mental health clinic are still mysteries. I do know that having a super stressful semester or two when we are very young, that results in an incomplete or F in an otherwise stellar college career, happens to many of us (including myself) and she may have handled it in the way she was used to things being handled. My background was completely different, of course, but in a way equally sheltered. In my case I could handle the NY craziness, but had no sense of entitlement and no awareness of how to use the system to deal with the issues that came up for me.

    I has a especially trying mentally disabled student last semester so maybe that colored my reaction. I don't know his diagnosis (not allowed to ask and it was not apparent in any way) but I was supportive and accommodated him; yet he always seemed to be working the system and demanding more. By the end of the semester and I grew to dread our communications. I must stress that this was my only bad experience accommodating a student, but it does bring up the question of whether we are ever allowed to express irritation with a mentally disabled person. Maybe not, and agreed that an internet pile-on is harsh if serious mental illness does turn out to be the problem.

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