Since I pride myself on being a person who is always on time, it really bugs the bejeebers out of me when my students stroll in late for class. I have done everything short of locking the classroom door to get them to modify their behavior pattern; after 14 frustrating years, I’ve pretty much given up.
My friend Courtney sent me this article, and said she thought of me when she read it. It’s a little extreme, even for me.
A popular professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business replied to a student’s email in a way that is part a$$hole but mostly, part sage life advice. Deadspin reports that a student walked into the first day of class an hour late and the professor told him to leave & come back to the next class. In the comments section, most people were surprised to find themselves siding with the professor, citing topics like the rudeness of interrupting 80 people who pay full tuition to the foolishness of “shopping” 3 classes in the same time slot. The professor actually XXXX’d out the student’s name and emailed it to all of his students! See below.. what’s your take on this?
Sent: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 7:15:11 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: Brand Strategy Feedback
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.
MBA 2010 Candidate
NYU Stern School of Business
—— Forwarded Message ——-
Sent: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 9:34:02 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: Re: Brand Strategy Feedback
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.
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.
I certainly do not have the testicular fortitude to write something like this, but it doesn’t mean the thought hasn’t crossed my mind.