Thursday, January 04, 2007

Angry feminist

I'm not sure that feminism is much of a legitimate academic activity. I know some schools actually give degrees in the subject. I know that it's an important area of thought in society. But I'm not sure about it's academic legitimacy. It just seems intellectually empty to me. I guess I just don't get it.

But a recent lawsuit against Duke demonstrates part of the reason I don't get it. Too many feminists just aren't intellectually honest.

I ran across a news story about a former Duke Lacrosse player who's suing the University.

Kyle Dowd, a senior on the Lacrosse team, was two months from graduation when the accusations of the rape started. He was not charged in the rape. Then ....

Dowd, who was not charged in the case, claims in his lawsuit that visiting professor Kim Curtis engaged in "outrageous and unethical conduct" when she gave him an F in a politics and literature class. The lawsuit claims he had earned C's on his assignments until that point.

The university later changed Dowd's grade to a D, citing a calculation error. But Dowd claims the incident nearly kept him from graduating.

There are so many things wrong with that I don't know where to begin.

I started by looking up Kim Curtis. She's not a visiting professor. She's a visiting assistant professor. There is a difference, and it's a pretty big one in my mind.

Her resume is odd. She graduated from college in 1979, got a PhD in 1991, she doesn't say in what fields, and she show no work history at all. None. What the hell is that all about? In 15 years since completing her PhD she has no peer reviewed publications. She did manage to get a book published, so she's accomplished something at least, but still don't understand the lack of work history, academic or other, on her resume. Her book seems to be on some historical feminist so I'm guessing that Curtis thinks of herself as a feminist.

But the thing about the news article that struck me was the details about the students situation. He was a graduating senior. The course, Politics and Literature sounds like an upper level course. F's are simply not the norm in upper level courses and for graduating seniors. They happen, but simply don't believe the University claim that it was an arithmetic error. I've been a college teacher and a college student and I simply don't find that a credible explanaion.

A teacher in a freshman course might accidently give an F. But a teacher in the situation here isn't going to give an F un-noticed. It's not an accident.

They are simply lying about how the F arose. I don't beleive them. That's just not the way things happen in universities.

Given that, I can see no explanation other than some nutcase, smalltime, academically unqualified, angry feminist wanted to teach the frat boy jock a lesson about her Power.

Duke University should be ashamed to house faculty like this, and they should be ashamed that the University Administration is willing to lie to cover up the teacher's incompetence.


Here's some news coverage of the lack of support that Kyle Dowd got from Duke University and the Political Science teacher, Kim Curtis.

Time Magazine, Teacher Support for the Duke Players

Fayetteville Observer Former Duke lacrosse player sues university over failing grade

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