“Controversial” Teaching Style

Posted: November 16, 2010 by Jender in sexual comments, sexual harassment, sexual innuendos, why did they have to say that?

At a previous institution, I was one of five TAs for a 300+ student Introduction to Ethics course. The (tenured) professor was known for his “controversial” teaching style and examples. The semester I TA’d this included:

– On the first day of class, in an introductory discussion of RU-486 and abortion, the professor mimed a woman flushing a fetus down a toilet (complete with sound effects).

– As a means of illustrating the difference between acknowledging a fact implicitly and acknowledging it explicitly, the prof asked all the women in the room to raise their hands if they thought they were “sexy.” People giggled and nobody did it. Then the prof says that, well, see, there’s a difference between acknowledging that there are sexy women in the room, and “announcing that they give you a hard on.”

– On the second exam, which covered a section on pornography, a section on Kant on lying, and a section on “friends with benefits” relationships, there were 15 questions. Three of these questions were about the act of ejaculating on a woman’s face in pornography. One of the questions was about Kant. I had a female student come up to me while I was proctoring the exam to clarify what the professor meant in a question asking “How ejaculation functions differently in straight porn and in gay porn.”

– Upon seeing a student texting in class, he stopped lecturing and went on a tirade about disrespect that culminates in him yelling at the entire lecture hall of students that he will “fuck them all” if they continue to disrespect him. He then abruptly cancels class. This sort of thing happened repeatedly.

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