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Old 08-31-2020, 03:48 AM
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Default Sometimes I hate this school -- but I love my students ...

The past few years at this college have been … interesting.

Sometimes, I feel truly disgusted with this place. Despite that, I feel that I’m where I need to be.



So, why do I sometimes hate this place?

Let’s start with the hypocrisy and the fact that they fail to protect our students. Every time our College President gives one of his speeches, he talks about how he and everyone else in the Administration is committed to doing everything possible to nurture and protect our students. And he talks about how important it is for us to live up to our “moral values,” and to be “inspirational,” and “responsible.”

Does the college live up to those values?


Well, just within my Department, we have Professor Groper, who loves to perv on pretty young women. And it’s not like this is something that the Administration doesn’t know about; a sympathetic acquaintance in Administration told me that they have a very large file on Professor Groper, detailing many student complaints over the years. But Professor Groper has never even been reprimanded, to my knowledge. Then we have the professors who openly belittle students in the classroom, openly acknowledge that they care nothing about teaching, and display no teaching ability whatsoever. Again, students have been complaining about these so-called “teachers” for years now, but the college’s administration doesn’t seem to care in the slightest about whether or not the people they’ve hired to teach can or will actually teach.

On the other hand, they have fired at least two people during my time here who had the temerity to call out the Administration on its hypocrisy.


Then there’s the faculty member who has gone well beyond Professor Groper. He has been grooming impressionable young women and talking them into sleeping with him. (And yes, he is married, and has children.) When his colleague stated that she could not work with such a sexual predator, she was fired. He continues to be employed by the college, despite it being common knowledge on the campus that he tries to seduce every pretty young girl who crosses his path. One of the young women he targeted came to me: he had sent her suggestive messages, including photos of himself in his underwear and requests for sex. [It’s not like this is hearsay – she showed them to me.]

Does he have some sort of dirt on the Administration? That seems like as good an explanation as any that I can think of for why he’s still employed here.




The President, aside from being a complete hypocrite, is a Right-wing jerk. At the beginning-of-semester talk he gave to all of us, he announced that Covid-19 is all a big “conspiracy,” and that we shouldn’t really be concerned about it. (He did say that we would be practicing “social distancing” and “encouraging” students to wear masks, but that’s about all the Administration is doing.) I haven’t seen our President wear a mask on campus even once, and very few others in the Administration do so. They’re setting a terrible precedent.

He announced that Covid concerns were “overblown” and the result of “media hype” and insisted that it would “go away just as soon as the election is over.”

He announced that young people rarely, if ever, contract Covid – and if they do, they don’t spread it anyway. Thus, there’s no real need to be concerned about it putting us (the Faculty and Staff) or the students in danger.

Many of the “facts” that he gave were blatant falsehoods.

In short, his speech could be summarized thus: “1.) welcome back, 2.) God is great, 3.) Covid is nothing to be worried about, 4.) we’ve done everything possible to protect everyone on campus nonetheless, 5.) God is great, 6.) Did I mention that God is great and that he’ll keep us all safe?”


One of my colleagues and I spoke afterward, and we agreed that the only positive thing about his speech was that both of us managed to avoid blurting out anything in response that would have gotten us instantly fired. After the speech, there was a brief Q&A, during which each of us tried to get him to answer some questions – both of us were blown off, and he gave no real answers.

Actually, I did slip up and blurt out something that – if it weren’t for the fact that he was speaking at the time, and thus, few others heard it, (he had a microphone; I didn’t) – probably would have gotten me fired. You see, he was going on about how he was sure that Covid-19 wasn’t anything to be concerned about, because he had spent months becoming an “expert” on it, and thus, all of our preparations would ensure that the campus would remain free of Covid-19. He even insisted that he was “in frequent consultation with the CDC,” to ensure that he was a bona fide expert.

Then, to illustrate both his expertise and his certainty that we had taken all necessary precautions to ensure the disease would not affect the campus, he mentioned how we’ve already discovered and studied Covid-20 and Covid-21.

I honestly didn’t intend to say anything out loud, but I heard myself blurt out, “No, we have not discovered and studied Covid-21! It isn’t even 2021 yet!” I mean, geeez! He doesn’t even know why it’s called Covid-19! Did he really think anyone in the audience didn’t see through his bullshit?


[One of the students later told me that he had heard me, and was glad that he did. “I thought I was going crazy for a while there, listening to him speak!”]



The official party line is that the virus has not reached the campus; that there are no infected people on campus; and that there is no reason to be concerned, since we have taken every precaution to ensure that it never will reach the campus.

Meanwhile, at least 8 students and 3 staff members (one of them a cafeteria worker) have tested positive and been quietly sent home. [One of those students is in one of my classes, and has told me that she was told that she isn’t allowed to return to campus until after her quarantine period expires.] Despite the fact that several students and staff members have tested positive and have been sent home, the Administration still insists that there is no Covid-19 on campus.


*********


In my time here, I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I’m one of only two people in the Department who are both competent teachers and who actually care about the students.

As a consequence, students often come by my office to talk about various concerns. I’ve lost track of the number of students who have complained about the incompetent and uncaring teachers; the teachers who sexually harass students (or worse); and the hypocritical, uncaring Administration.


*********


The thing is, I do love my students. And I feel a great sense of responsibility toward them. With all the frustrations this school has inspired in and inflicted upon me, I have frequently considered leaving. But, at the risk of sounding arrogant, these students – many of them, at least – need me. I feel like I’d be “abandoning” them if I left.



*********


I’ve mentioned “Jennifer” before. A few nights ago, she sent me a message, and told me that she wanted to arrange a time to come by my office and talk. She’s very concerned about Covid-19 and other matters. She told me of how frustrated she is with this place – the hypocrisy of the Administration; that some of the teachers are sexual predators but somehow remain in positions of authority; that many of the teachers don’t even pretend to care about the students or their responsibilities to those students; etc.

She told me that, in her time here, she believes I’m the only faculty member she can truly trust. She went on to tell me how much she appreciates that she can come to me to talk about things, and that I have always been so supportive and willing to offer advice. She went on to say that if it weren’t for me, she “wouldn’t be here.” From the context, I’m pretty sure that when she said she “wouldn’t be here,” she wasn’t talking about the college.

Jennifer has hinted on numerous occasions that she has been sexually abused in the past. When she came to my office, we talked for some two hours.

As I said, I’ve long suspected that she has been sexually abused in the past. Obviously, I’ve never pressed her on the issue, feeling that if it’s something she wants to talk about, she knows that I’m willing to offer sympathy and advice at any time. After all, practically every time I talk with her, I tell her that she’s always welcome to come by to talk – about anything at all.

Anyway, she came by to talk. She said that outside of her immediate family, there’s no adult whom she has been able to trust enough to tell me what she wanted to talk about.

It was SO MUCH WORSE THAN I EVER COULD HAVE IMAGINED!


She told me of how she had been sexually molested by a coach/clergyman from the time she was 16 until she finally “escaped” to college. He manipulated her. He made her feel like it was her own fault. He told her that if she reported it, that it would be her word against that of a “Man of God,” and it would be him that people believed, not her.


He HURT HER! When she tried to resist, he would “punish” her. Over the years, he gave her bruises, he broke two of her ribs, he broke her wrist – twice – and he broke one of her fingers.

For years, whenever anyone asked why she was so “accident prone,” she claimed that her injuries were the results of sports practice.


Jennifer finally worked up the courage to tell her parents, and they put a stop to it – somehow. But she has never tried to press charges, for fear that a.) she’ll be “slut-shamed” for “seducing” a Man of God, and 2.) she’ll be forced to re-live all of the pain, trauma, and humiliation – in public, no less.

So, she has had to live with the pain, the humiliation, the guilt, the depression, and the self-blame for years. And a big part of it is her conviction that there’s no one outside her family whom she can trust to share it with – she doesn’t believe a counselor can help (apparently, her family doesn’t believe it, thus she doesn’t). She told me that she needed to talk with someone about it, to help ease her pain, but simply couldn’t bring herself to trust anyone else.

She told me that, to deal with the guilt and pain, she had been cutting herself for some time. At this point, I made her show me her wrists. Once you know to look, the scars are clearly visible. They’re small, and I made sure that none were recent. She had carefully hidden the cuts, making sure they were on the inside of her wrist, and small-enough to be covered by her watch band.


She swears to me that she hasn’t cut herself in over a year. She told me that she hasn’t, because she’s actually much happier and more self-confident now than she had been just a couple of years ago. She says that it’s largely because she appreciates that I care, and that she has learned that she can come to me to talk about her concerns – and that I will listen with sympathy, will not judge her, and will do my best to offer useful advice.

I’ve met Jennifer’s mother on several occasions, and she has told me much the same thing. She has told me that Jennifer has told them on numerous occasions that she appreciates how much I’m willing to listen to her and offer sympathy and advice. Jennifer’s mother has gone out of her way to thank me for “being there” for her daughter.



After some two hours of this, Jennifer – that sweet, silly girl – apologized to me! She told me that she was sorry to “burden” me with all of this, but that she simply had to talk with someone about this, and that I was the only one she could trust to do so.

I told her, “Don’t you DARE apologize! And don’t you DARE think that you’re somehow ‘burdening’ me!” I assured her that I would always “be there” for her, and that I would always be happy to offer any support or advice that I could.

By this point, we were both in tears. I told her that no matter how terrible I might be feeling at the moment, I was so very glad that she had come to me to talk about this. Because a.) if I can help to ease her burden even a little, then I’m so VERY happy to do so!, and because b.) I very-much appreciate the trust that she has shown me.



When she finally left, she gave me a long, hard hug and told me that she loves me. I told her that I love her with all my heart, and that she is always welcome to come to me for help, advice, or support. Or at the very least, a sympathetic ear.



I can’t even BEGIN to imagine what Jennifer has been through! But I haven’t been able to sleep well for the past several nights, because I just can stop thinking about the … evil of someone doing that to an innocent young person! I’m torn between pain and anger.

Of course, I told Jennifer that she really should seek counseling, that a trained professional could surely provide more help than I can. I’ve even said that I’ll help find a counselor, if she’d like. But she’s resistant to seeking professional help.


************


So, long story short: there are many things about this place that that I don’t like. But I’ll say this: If I’ve helped that girl, then every bit of frustration, grief, anger, and disappointment that I’ve felt about this place over the years is ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT!
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Last edited by The Lone Ranger; 08-31-2020 at 03:58 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-31-2020, 05:48 AM
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Default Re: Sometimes I hate this school -- but I love my students ...

So it just goes on, and on and on, and keeps on going on?
Does nobody have any power to stop it?
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Old 08-31-2020, 08:06 AM
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Default Re: Sometimes I hate this school -- but I love my students ...

Wondering if you got some legal advice on your obligations here.
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Old 08-31-2020, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: Sometimes I hate this school -- but I love my students ...

Yeah, a few people have quietly left over the past few years (and one left rather ... loudly), disgusted by the hypocrisy of the Administration. That's the thing, though, a College President can have an incredible tenacity, so long as they're on good terms with the Board of Trustees.

And though our Illustrious President is, as far as I can tell, viewed as a hypocritical buffoon by pretty-much everyone in the Faculty, he does seem to have a talent for convincing people to give the college money, and thus, he's beloved by the Board of Trustees.


At least two students, so far, have posted on Facebook how disappointed they are that the college isn't doing more to keep them safe in light of Covid-19. One of them was, I understand, quickly contacted by two of the deans and pressured to remove the post -- not before word of the post got around campus, though (one student had taken a screenshot of it, and showed it to me). And, of course, the fact that it disappeared quickly and that the student claims he was pressured into taking it down made its way around campus rather quickly, too.

I checked: according to the handbook, it's not actually against school policy for a professor to date a student. It says that it's "strongly discouraged, but not forbidden." So, this guy who is texting young women and trying to talk them into sleeping with him isn't actually breaking any rules. But a number of us are convinced that it's only a matter of time: whether it's him or Professor Groper, it seems all but inevitable that one of them is eventually going to go too far. Either that, or somebody is going to get seriously ill and they or their family will sue the school for failing to provide proper protection.


I've lost sleep for the past several nights, because I can't stop thinking about how horrible it is that Jennifer has had to suffer through what she has. I can't imagine how she has managed to deal with it! [I know; she hasn't "dealt with it" -- that's the problem. Still, that she remains functional at all strikes me as a remarkable testament to her courage and determination.]

Until someone winds up suing the school, I don't know what can be done. Most of us here who actually care about the students are trying to keep our heads down and do what we can for the students without slipping up and saying or doing something that will get us fired -- while we hope against hope that our Illustrious President will be announcing his retirement soon.
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Old 08-31-2020, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: Sometimes I hate this school -- but I love my students ...

The guy who has been trying [and sometimes succeeding, I'm informed] to talk impressionable young women into his bed is married, I mentioned. I should have pointed out that he's recently separated, though. His wife left him not long ago, and took the children. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that the fact that he was trying to talk his students into having sex with him might have been a factor in her leaving him.

The female students on campus have taken to calling him "Professor Wolf." Some of the male students, apparently, have taken to calling him something rather less flattering.


How on Earth is it that he's still here, though? This is a private college, and every year, at the "Beginning of the Semester" speech, our Illustrious President makes a point of reminding us of how lucky we are to be here -- while not-so-subtly suggesting that if any of us fails to toe the line, we'll be fired.

Speculation abounds that "Professor Wolf" has something on the President. Otherwise, how is it that he is still employed here? (There's widespread speculation that Professor Groper has some dirt on the President, as well.)
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Old 08-31-2020, 06:49 PM
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Default Re: Sometimes I hate this school -- but I love my students ...

The approach you must take is clear then: TLR, you too must get some dirt on this Illustrious President.
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Old 08-31-2020, 08:19 PM
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Default Re: Sometimes I hate this school -- but I love my students ...

Perhaps by shoveling a few feet on top of him in the solitude of some quiet Appalachian hill county forest. j/k. j/k
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Old 09-09-2020, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: Sometimes I hate this school -- but I love my students ...

Well, only Week 3 of the semester and we've already had more than twice as many students test positive and get sent home than our Illustrious President said could possibly occur even in a "worst case" scenario.

I wonder if he even knows what an "exponential growth curve" means? My guess is, "no".
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:19 PM
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Default Re: Sometimes I hate this school -- but I love my students ...

Or "worst case" scenario.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:43 PM
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Default Re: Sometimes I hate this school -- but I love my students ...

That's one way to protect students from sexual predators.
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