Woolcock Responds to Student’s Allegations

Rusty Shackleford received some comments on his blog from Joseph Woolcock, the Foothill College political science professor whose grading of a patriotic essay and his alleged disparaging comments to its undergraduate author created a firestorm last month. (See California Professor Flunks (Awful) Pro-U.S. Essay for my take at the time.)

Woolcock comes across as more than reasonable. Rusty agrees, observing,

This happens all the time. In fact, not a semester goes by where at least one student doesn’t accuse me of giving them an F because I don’t like their politics or have some personal vendetta against them. The fact is that neither is true. The reason I give so many students an F is because there is no lower grade to give.

Sadly, it’s true. As Steven Taylor notes, students sometimes demonstrate an amazing ability to misunderstand things:

I once told a class (I forget why) that when I was in High School I worked at McDonald̢۪s and that one of my co-workers used to come to work stoned. Several semesters later a student asked me to tell the story about how I used to come to work at McDonald̢۪s stoned. Not only would one prefer not to have such a story about oneself circulating campus, the situation certainly underscored how poorly students listen to their professors on some (if not many) occasions.

Yep. Exams often do that, too.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.