College is an Irony-Free Zone: "So you want to date a T.A." Edition
Via the great site Inside Higher Ed comes word of a campus controversy at Canada's Western University in Ontario University of Western Ontario. As part of its "Frosh Special Issue 2014," the student publication The Gazette published an article titled "So you want to date a teaching assistant?" It features such advice as:
1. Do your research. Facebook stalk and get to know your TA. Drop in on his or her tutorials, and if you're not in that class — make it happen. Switch in if necessary.
Expert tip: Be good at the subject and showcase your smarts….
3. Get involved with the course. Ask your own smart questions, answer others' dumb questions, and make yourself known in the class. Better yet, stand out as a pupil of interest. These are mature and knowledgeable teaching assistants — they are likely not looking for some ditz who will make a great one-night stand.
Disclaimer: Some of them are, so if you strike gold, stop reading and do as you please….
6. Know when to give up. At the end of the day, TAs are there to guide you through the curriculum – so there's a good chance you have to be okay with that and only that. They may not be giving you head, but at least they're giving you brain. Don't be too disappointed though – after all, there's always next term.
The article, reports Inside Higher Ed, has set off a "furor":
The union that represents T.A.s at Western posted a response saying that the piece had essentially been "a guide on how to sexually harass another human being." The provost wrote a letter to the editor in which she said: "Not only does the spirit of the article run contrary to Western's efforts to have a workplace and learning environment that is free from sexual harassment, it is disrespectful of the essential contribution graduate teaching assistants make to Western's academic mission."
#triggerwarning #microaggression: The article may not be that funny, but only the dumbest readers in the world could react the way the T.A. union and campus administrators are doing. Which ironically makes the story funnier. If colleges and professors (well, T.A.s) have so a low opinion of the reading skills of their students, it's no wonder they treat them like mental invalids who need to be protected from any source of irony, complexity, or thought.
Need to boost your blood pressure or heart rate? Watch Reason TV's "Trigger Warnings, Campus Speech, and the Right to Not be Offended":