Professor who made students sign contract allowing him to swear his t*ts off gets fired
A professor at Laurentian University has been removed from teaching an introductory psychology class after requesting that students sign a waiver agreeing to his use of swear words.
Shitface. Prick. Puntang. These are just a few of the 27 words that a Dr Michael Persinger wanted to say to his students during his "introduction to psychology" module.
But he has now been removed from teaching that class by Laurentian University, after requiring his students to sign a waiver agreeing to allowing him to swear as much as he saw fit during class.
Psychology - Rated R
The "statement of understanding" Dr Michael Persinger requested his students to sign before embarking on his class said that:
"This course is rated 'R' for coarse language and explicit content" and “I understand that if I find any of these words offensive or uncomfortable I should transfer to another section of the course.”
How much swearing he needs to use in an INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY module is unclear, but we are sad to hear no-one will be introduced to the subject this year with the immortal words:
"Welcome to psychology, shitfaces, now let's turn to page 37 and learn some fucking Millgram"
The contract then went on to list a bunch of swearwords the professor, who has won awards for his teaching methods, would probably use during the module. They range from extremely mild ("satan" is not a swear word) to genuinely offensive terms:
The Laurentian University Faculty Association has filed a grievance against the move, saying that it violates academic freedom.
“This is important stuff,” said association president James Ketchen, from the department of law.
"The ability to have frank discussions about important issues is what we’re about.”
Challenging the effect of language on the mind
Persinger told the (Canadian) Star he uses some colourful language because it’s important for budding psychologists to feel they can ask any question without being judged. The first portion of the class primarily deals with the effects language has on the mind, and he wanted students to explore how and why words made them feel a certain way. Hence why the above offensive language.
“I see my role as to teach the young students of today to be critical thinkers, to not be influenced by big words, emotional words, profane words, to make sure they don’t influence their critical thinking or their ability to look at the data and interpret it correctly”
Have I got your motherf*cking attention?
Persinger also said he uses swearwords, innuendo and rude jokes to keep students’ attention through his three-hour lecture. I.e. halfway through a lecture he might crack out a limerick about a man from Nantuckit or make a few dick jokes just to keep everyone's rapt attention.
Persinger won an award from TVO for Canada’s best lecturer in 2007, probably precisely because of these methods.
Robert Kerr, defending the university's actions in removing Persinger, said the issue is the waiver put before students.
“It’s not about academic freedom. It’s simple that a faculty member cannot ask a student to sign a document or memorandum of understanding as a condition to take his or her class.”
“Admission requirements are set by senate.”
Persinger has provided the waiver about his sweary course for at least a decade, and he’s not sure why it has become an issue now.
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