Those of you living in the Toronto area might have come across this story in your local papers, or on your local news today. It’s getting quite a bit of play in the academic community, where it serves as Example #25,739 of the dumb shit that students sometimes pull.
Cameron Johnston, a social sciences professor at York University was giving the first lecture to his large freshman survey course, which is called “Self, Culture and Society.” As part of his lecture, he told the students that the purpose of the course was to focus on texts, and not simply on opinions. In the process, he made some effort to push back against the fairly common idea among college freshmen that all opinions are valid and acceptable.
In order to illustrate what he meant here, he told the class that:
Well, this little observation created something of a shitstorm, all brought about when one of his students left the class and contacted a Jewish advocacy group on campus complaining that Johnston’s remark was anti-Semitic. The group spread the word, and a bunch of them called for Johnston to be fired.
Of course, it soon become clear to just about everyone that Johnston, far from saying that Jews should be sterilized, was using this particular sentence as an example of a problematic and dangerous opinion. He said that his selection of this particular example to illustrate his argument was probably influenced by the fact that he himself is Jewish, and is very conscious of the history of anti-Semitism.
I say “just about everyone” because the student who got the whole brouhaha started is having none of it, nosiree. Sarah Grunfeld, a senior (!!!) at York, maintains that, even if she completely missed the context of his comment, it was still wrong:
And, to add to her idiocy, she also thought it appropriate to call Johnston’s own identity into account:
There aren’t enough :rolleyes: in the world for someone this fucking stupid. Good to know that she’ll soon be on the job market, degree in hand. i just hope that any prospective employers put her name into a search engine before they decide to hire her.
[Mods, if this is too MPSIMSy for the Pit, feel free to move it. Really stupid people just annoy the fuck out of me, though.]
ETA: I assumed, given that it was a 500-person lecture course, and that its course number was 1140, that this was a freshman course. But Grunfeld is a senior. So either i was wrong about the course type, or she’s a senior filling in some required units in her degree. She’s still an ass, though.