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  1. #1
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    Default Professor Made Discriminatory Comments About a Student in Class

    My question involves education law in the State of: Tennessee

    I am a student at a state university in Tennessee who qualifies under the "Americans with Disabilities Act" for extended testing time in a quiet environment. Now I have this one professor, when I took one of his classes the very first time, I failed it (at the time I he was giving me extra test time as required by the school). So I took his class again, and one day when I answered a question in class that he asked he said: "Well this guy has taken the class a 3 times." In that class I was expecting an A or B, yet somehow received a C. The next semester (in a different one of his classes), he made a similar comment. Than, this last semester, when I had him for one last class, one day he asked the class if anyone knew what certain topic was. I was the only one to raise my hand. He then said to the class "Well, you tend to know these things when you've been around several times." I received a D in that class. I think the professor has been intentionally discriminating against me because he doesn't believe I should receive special privileges (he never said this, but he is 80 years old). When he was giving me extra time to this last semester, he didn't put me in a quiet area, actually half the time I ended up sitting on the floor outside his office after class getting "extra time." In class, he seemed to yell people a lot for asking certain questions that he thought were stupid.

    My office of disability services (the ones who are in charge of all of this) do have a grievance procedure but I read on the webpage "A complaint must be filed within ten (10) working days after the complainant becomes aware of the alleged violation." Now this was like 3 months ago, so it well past that. I don't think this would do much anyways because they don't necessarily have any authority and the professor is tenured.

    Why did I not file a complaint? I probably should have, but I'm one of the kind of people that doesn't usually like to cause trouble and usually doesn't stay mad over something for long. But this one has just been really bugging me lately, especially thinking about the to C's I got in his first 2 classes plus this last D. I think he his keeping me from really being able to excel in any of his classes. Especially being afraid to ask questions when I'm certain he doesn't like me. Why did I keep taking this particular professor? Well, I had to, he is the only one that teaches these particular classes that I need.

    So, do I have any legal options here? If not, what would you do personally?

    I am also able to produce witnesses who can attest to the professor's discrimination (of course this might all be hear say at least in a court of law).

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Professor Made Discriminatory Comments About a Student in Class

    If you disagree with a grade you receive for a class, the department will have a procedure for appealing the grade. If you choose not to dispute the grade, you get that grade.

    Your department has a policy and procedure for reporting incidents in which a professor makes comments about you that make you uncomfortable. If you choose not to follow those procedures and make a complaint, that's similarly the choice you've made.

    If you have general complaints about the faculty member, even if you chose not to make formal complaints, I expect that you could still meet with the department head to discuss your concerns.

    What is it that you want to do?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Professor Made Discriminatory Comments About a Student in Class

    I'm talking about in general within the wider scope of the law, not within the school's individual policies or procedures. Even if I had followed this, I highly doubt it would have been effective considering the length of time the professor has been at the school (about 50 years or so) and his relationship with the other faculty members, including the department head. I'm not sure what I want to do, I'm asking if there is anything I can do in a wider scope not just one that is under the schools policies. If not, no huge deal, but I just wanted to get some advice first. What would you do personally if this had happened to you like it did me?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Professor Made Discriminatory Comments About a Student in Class

    You want to do something "within the wider scope of the law", but again, what is the something you want to accomplish?

    Without knowing the nature of your disability, I can't answer what I would do as I don't know the context.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Professor Made Discriminatory Comments About a Student in Class

    You see, the professors don't know what a student's disability is. They are not even allowed to ask. So he didn't know why, all he knew was the school required him to allow me extra test time. I have ADD (officially diagnosed), and have always had a hard time concentrating in school as well as constantly running out of time on tests. I don't just want to do something, I am asking if there is anything I can do?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Professor Made Discriminatory Comments About a Student in Class

    You asked what I would do if I were you, not if I were the professor. As you've indicated, you know what your disability is.

    ADD and ADHD do not have to be a huge impediment to academic success. Lots of students attend college, and even excel in college, with those diagnoses. If I had ADD I would look at my brother's ability to attend honors classes and get a Phi Beta Kappa key despite profound ADHD and work harder, but that's probably not what you wanted to hear.

    If there's nothing that you want to do, what's the point in addressing this in the abstract.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Professor Made Discriminatory Comments About a Student in Class

    I do want to do something, I don't know if I can do anything though. That's why I am asking.

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