Peterson was right

(to all reading, the point that I got a lower grade or higher grade is not what I am concerned with. I am concerned with the seemingly arbitrary grading metric that seems so easily malleable if criticized, but more importantly with the (transparently now, scroll to the bottom to view my interaction with the prof) direct evasion of a discussion containing a contrary social political stance in relation to the progressive meta)

I’ve decided to make this story public for a few reasons. Firstly, my private emails have not resulted in any response that was not written with a seemingly minimally brief effort. Secondly, I think it would be beneficial for the public to be aware of this issue. Thirdly, I cannot seem to rid this problem from my conscious until I “put it all out there”.

Around two weeks ago, I was in an online tutorial discussion group for a class “Introduction to Sociology” here at Carleton University. The first question posed to the class on a week covering gender was “name an instance where you or someone you know was treated unfairly based on their gender”. The first few replies were relatively normative replies detailing female discrimination. I wanted to add some diversity. My reply was “my brother was rejected to law schools that a friend’s friend was accepted to even though she had worse grades, because the schools were attempting to meet a diversity quota as it pertained to gender representation”. (Edit: have looked into these schools considering gender as a meaningful criteria, I was wrong they don’t seem to actually care if you are boy or girl, girls make up for 54% of law school students according to the data I saw, though they do take your ethnicity or race into account as a factor for acceptance, the girl in this account which I heard was also black, so her acceptance with inferior grades was likely due to the schools wanting to be more racially diverse if she did actually have Lower grades, of course her personal essay could of been quite compelling that would trump her lower scores, though this we could never now and is beyond the point of why I’m concerned with the intentions of the instructors). The instructor of the tutorial read the first few replies out loud and acknowledged them, then when we got to my response he seemed to pause, then decided to end the discussion completely. There were a number of replies beneath mine, some responding to my response which was getting a discussion going and this was the first question of the tutorial posed. Usually tutorial discussions have around 8 questions asked in their 1 hour time frame. He proceeded to review the details of an assignment due a week ahead, then cut the 1 hour tutorial short at a little under 20 minutes. I thought that was incredibly odd.

A week later I received back an essay from that same TA, he gave me a 70%. The criticisms were: lack of page numbers, spelling and grammar errors, lack of inclusion of the non verbal aspects of the sociological concept described, and the fact that the “References” heading was placed at the bottom of the final page instead of at the top of the references page. I asked him to point to one spelling and grammar error. I asked him why I am only getting marks deducted regarding page numbers now, when the semester is almost over and when every other assignment I had previous had identical (literally copy and pasted) instructions regarding technical requirements that did not include the necessity for page numbers, and when I handed in those previous assignments without page numbers with the identical instructions I did not get any marks taken away or any feedback regarding them. I also reviewed the document I submitted to him and the document that he sent back to me, and the formatting for the “references” heading was correct in the document I sent him and incorrectly formatted in the document he sent back to me. I detailed all these concerns and he said fair enough to most of them and increased my grade from a 70% to an 88%, but told me that he was still taking away marks because of the lack of page numbers. I repeated, point me to where the page numbers were listed in the technical requirements. Additionally, why did you not take off marks or give feedback regarding the page numbers on previous assignments with literally identical formatting instructions. He did not reply to that email, even though we were emailing back and forth within the span of 10 minutes at midday on Monday, it is now Thursday. I even sent an additional email so there would be two unread emails from him in the inbox, if claiming to “accidently not see it” was the excuse. I am not lying or exaggerating about any of this.

What is the moral of this story supposed to be for me, the student? I asked my friend who is 29, who I perceive to be one of the smartest people I know, who also went through the whole university process earlier in life. He advised me to “play the player” if I am after good grades, implying not challenging the perspectives of my instructors if I do not want to be directly penalized. The sad thing is I that Id of guessed he is right and it makes me incredibly sad. What are you encouraging of your students? To not question the underlying fabric of how we come to our beliefs? To not challenge the beliefs of those around you, who in the setting of a Canadian university those beliefs tend to be predominately progressively leaning? Are we encouraging echo chambers here? After all, isn’t school supposed to be about expanding our intellectual capabilities to gain a wider range of perspectives on the issues pertaining to the world in order to build a better one? Institutions are built by humans and none of us are perfect and I have nothing but love for you all, but frankly my experience thus far at Carleton has not left a good taste in my mouth for what you seem to be expecting out of your students here in the social sciences. I am contemplating leaving for the University of Toronto as a result of my experiences in attempt to find more respectable instructors, though I do love living in Ottawa. I think you owe the student body a public apology Carleton University and I have not yet received one from anyone. Additionally I encourage you to hold yourself to higher intellectual standards and not discourage a diversity of perspectives as it pertains to social political issues. The virtue and merits of free speech are not to be forgotten.

If anyone wants to contact me, I am open to criticisms, shared stories, and all other fun things:

facebook https://www.facebook.com/michael.braden.7/

instagram https://www.instagram.com/

email streethills@gmail.com

phone 613 314 9323

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdclyOriA1I&list=LL&index=1&t=228s&ab_channel=LexClips

in addition I have a health science class where you’re encouraging people to not skip breakfast (the benefits of fasting are scientific consensus at this point frankly), wake up with a healthy glass of orange juice, and a professor who keeps apologizing for the inorganization of his thoughts in the prerecorded lectures due to the fact that for some reason he is recording them at 4 in the morning, and where all of the content is being pulled from a 2015 health book

friends have been messaging me regarding this blog, the most common message was that this was quite a typical occurrence in the Canadian university undergraduate setting for them. They agreed with my friend I mentioned above that I should “play the player” if you want good grades. I find this idea disturbing given what it entails when considering challenging (the predominantly progressive) beliefs and stances.

spoke to the prof for an hour. he said that its pretty understandable that the TA would want to drive the dialogue away from those kind of conversations “people are sick of those conversations”, I’m not sure if he means people or the TA’s and profs because it seems like my fellow students have never had those conversations, never looked at these issues as nuanced problems with various pros and cons regarding the repercussions of the policies made. He also asked why I was promoting conservative (implicitly negative connotation?) ideologies. he also said that (im not trying to straw man him here, this is actually the gist of what he communicated) the fact is people will not be able to separate their emotional responses within conversations and so we shouldn’t try to partake in controversial subjects to stop people from “yelling at eachother”, he ended up tearing up at the end of the talk, no hate to him its just a little ironic. Much love to all. Lets build fam. Also I had started reading the fountainhead prior to the meeting, read the first 10 pages or so up and had to lay it down midway through the protagonists meeting with the dean. Life truly can imitate art.

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