07 February 2009

Everybody gets an A

In Spider Robinson's Mindkiller, a professor at Dalhousie University who starts off one of his semesters telling all the students in his English class (James Joyce, if I remember right) that they will all get an A. He tells students this because he wants students to be there because they are actually interested. The section concludes with something like, "The students who remained looked mighty interested."

In idle moments, I've contemplated doing this myself. I've considered whether I could possibly get away with it.

But I never expected to find someone with the chutzpah to actually do it.

University of Ottawa professor Denis Rancourt gives everyone As. The result?

In December, the senior physicist was suspended from teaching, locked out of his laboratory and told that the university administration was recommending his dismissal and banning him from campus.

Firing a tenured professor is rare in itself, but two weeks ago the university took an even more extreme step: When Prof. Rancourt went on campus to host a regular meeting of his documentary film society, he was led away in handcuffs by police and charged with trespassing.

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