It’s Complicated: The Un-PC Professor

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Dear Reagan,

I’m currently in a class with a challenging professor, personality-wise. Every once in a while they make comments that seem completely off-base and off-topic. We’ll be talking about something totally unrelated and they find a way to make some snide comment about people who are in protected classes, like making jokes about sexuality or race. The comments make me and other students I’ve talked to uncomfortable. Should we just let it go and muscle through the class? Or is there something we can do?


Uncomfy and Confused

Dear Uncomfy,

I’m sorry that your experience with a professor at UVU has been less than stellar. Behavior like your professor’s can be especially tough to deal with if the class is required for your major or only happens every few semesters, making switching out and taking it later hard to do.

You’re correct in thinking something should be done. UVU is a member of the American Association of University Professors (David R. Kelly Chapter), an organization that is committed to upholding academic standards and procedures that maintain quality in education and academic freedom. Though they allow teachers the academic freedom to discuss controversial topics, they are also expected to be respectful and show appropriate restraint in their comments, and to represent the university well.

If this is a persistent problem, you should absolutely do something about it. You can use UVU’s Ombuds office to discuss the matter in a safe, non-judgemental environment. They provide free, neutral advice to students with any kind of disagreement, whether it be with roommates or professors. Should things escalate, they can mediate a conversation between students and faculty to discuss things and hopefully resolve the issue.

If the comments are about specific students, they can contact Title IX or EthicsPoint, a third-party hotline that is approved by UVU to investigate claims of misconduct. 

While school is meant to challenge you and introduce new perspectives to your way of thinking, it shouldn’t feel like a hostile environment. There are people and departments here to listen to you, help you resolve those conflicts and make sure you feel safe on campus.