The Chronicle’s View: Just don’t be a jerk!

Damn that Christina Axson-Flynn! Damn her!

Her lawsuit filed against the U’s Actor Training Program for asking her to do what actors do-act like real people (who sometimes use profanity)-was ended with a promise by the U to enact an accommodations policy.

To save money needed to pay electric bills the U decided to end the litigation by promising to create an accommodations policy.

A written policy runs the risk of jeopardizing a professor’s academic freedom in deciding course content. We students pay the big bucks to be taught what our professors think we need to know. Relinquishing that freedom endangers the quality of education received at the U.

In response to this dilemma, it has been proposed that the U’s official policy be to allow professors to decide for themselves whether or not they accommodate students.

However, this seemingly simple solution is problematic. What if a professor teaches a required course and refuses to make an accommodation? Should a student desiring an accommodation be denied a degree because his or her core beliefs disagree with a professor’s?

Ahhh, damn that girl, damn her!

One of the most reasonable suggestions made so far was proposed at yesterday’s Academic Senate meeting.

The idea would be to simply guarantee professors work with students on an individual level and be open to discussion. In other words, it will require professors to not be jerks.

So few students need or want special accommodations due to core beliefs (whatever that means) that abuse of a loosely worded policy seems unlikely.

Professors should be (if they are not already) open to discussion and compromise with students about how to get the most out of their education.

Who knows? Maybe having a flexible curriculum will improve some classes.

One thing exacerbating the situation is the silence from the ASUU representatives on the Academic Senate. The policy is supposed to be for students. The faculty is only concerned with protecting their academic freedom (and justifiably so). However, if this policy is to benefit students, then student representatives should be taking an active part in working out a solution.

They are not. Their silence in the Senate meetings pretty much guarantees that whatever policy is decided upon won’t do anyone any good.

But that’s OK. After all, we never needed one in the first place.