Sunday, June 11, 2017

UWSP Student Sues to Get Poetry Grade Changed from "F" to "A" Because of LGBT Content // PLUS: Remembering When Mrs. Garrett Went Back to College on "The Facts of Life"

I read a news article on Friday about a 59-year-old student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point who took an Advanced Creative Writing Poetry course. She ended up becoming disgusted by the selected reading options because they didn't serve her needs as a "mainstream" student. She apparently expected course work dealing with Robert Frost, Edgar Allen Poe, and others and instead ended up with work by poets such as Mark Doty, Marie Howe, Sharon Olds, Terrance Haynes, and Sammy Greenspan) that apparently focused on "lesbians, illicit sexual relationships, incest and frequent swearing." She was also upset with the emphasis on LGBT issues in general in the coursework. She complained to the instructor, as well as her instructor's boss, but nothing changed. In fact, she earned an F at the end of the course.

So the student took the instructor to court and demanded that her F be changed to an A. She also requested that the courts suspend the instructor's employment from UWSP for one year without pay, or that it terminate her employment outright.

The judge ended up dismissing this case. And the student is mulling over whether or not she should appeal this decision.

Which reminded me of a an episode of "The Facts of Life" from Season 6 titled "E.G.O.C." At this point in the series, Mrs. Garrett was running Edna's Edibles and most of the girls were students at Langely College. Mrs. Garrett felt that her life was stagnating a bit so she let herself be talked into taking a class on William Shakespeare with Jo and Blair.

And she struggled. A lot. The students were much younger and she struggled to keep up with the banter and the references. She was all about the Shakespeare quotes, but struggled with the interpretations. Largely, she felt like it was going to be relatively easy to do. But it ended up being much harder than anticipated -- especially since she was still single-handedly running a small business and raising four teenage girls.

By the end of the episode, Mrs. Garrett was this close to quitting the class. But it's implied that she kept with it. But I don't think that she took anymore college classes after that.

One interesting note, the writing on the chalkboard never changed once during the episode. So either the instructor was lazy and never saw to write down new materials or else they filmed everything in one day!


D.J. Free! said...

I totally remember that episode! Well, mostly. I haven't seen it since I was probably 7 or 8. But as you wrote about it, a flood of memories hit me. Also, that's John Goodman as the professor in that pic, no?

Jon said...

Not John Goodmba. It's actually Clive Revill. He mostly does voice work these days for video games.