Sep 07 2011
Last night, I received a rather peculiar email from the professor of the physics class I was taking. He wanted to know what my background was, because after checking my transcript (which seems like a weird move to me albeit I’m guessing legal), he found that there was no physics classes there. I explained things and told him that I had taken the four classes he had named. That was the first warning something was amiss, because the course catalog only lists two prerequisites.
After the first email, he basically tries to persuade me to drop the class. This annoyed and angered me for the following reasons:
- He mentioned even more classes that he claims the students of the class had already taken and that he thought were important to understanding the material. It honestly felt like an attack against me; if all those courses were important, why wouldn’t they be listed in the course catalog? Why not mention them in the first email? At that point, it seemed like he was determined that I didn’t take the class.
- The tone was very patronizing. Given that I am a female with a name that is largely affiliated with women and knowing physics’ history with women, the tone issue is not trivial.
- I felt like the investigation process was odd and invasive. While he has the right to Google course descriptions of my master’s program and I suppose look at my transcript, it still felt very unsettling.
- He’s doing this the night before his class; he started the emailing around 7-8 PM last night, his class was at 2 PM today. I had registered for classes in April. He had an entire summer to contact me.
I ended up dropping the class but I feel unsettled about it and am thinking about finding out with whom I can place some kind of complaint. If anything, the course catalog needs to be updated to reflect these prerequisites. I’m disappointed I won’t be able to take a physics course this semester, but c’este la vie. It bothers me more how I was treated than anything.
What would you do?