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DavidMS703

Boston College Professor

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Has anyone heard about the Boston College professor who assigns her students dating? I find it hard to believe a professor actually does that, or that the school hasn't fired her for it. What do other people think of that situation?

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I had not heard of it but I will include a link to an article at the end of this comment. This sounds messed up. Giving extra credit based on your students' personal lives is just wrong. Really this professor seems like the very model of a judgemental older person complaining about young people. That having been said, I will give her some credit for saying that "[n]ot everybody is called to romantic relationship." She seems to be using date in a non-exclusively romantic way, which is something. Still think that this is an inappropriate assignment for a college philosophy class.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/soloish/wp/2018/04/16/this-college-professor-gives-her-students-extra-credit-for-going-on-dates/?utm_term=.24e7147e1d24

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I find this sort of unfair as the way it seems to be set up is to do a 'first date' which would basically exclude those already in relationships and those people not out/or uncomfortable still about their sexuality and attractions. Maybe it is just the article doing a romantic dating spin, as in Australia asking someone for a casual meeting and conversation would be a 'get together' and would be the easiest credit for everyone to get, but this article definitely seems to lean towards an understanding that the people being asked out are for some sort of romantic overture. Even if the professor is using the word 'date' in a non-romantic way, she talks about all these rules and structure of a date which to me don't sound particularly non-romantic.  

Quote

The student has to ask in person (“texting is the devil; stop it,” she says in one of her YouTube videos), and the recipient has to know it’s a date. And if they say they’re busy and to check back with them later, don’t. Just move on. “That’s a great skill to build, so that you can have a thicker skin,” Cronin says. She believes that the person who asks, pays. And the first date shouldn’t cost more than $10, include drugs or alcohol, or last longer than 90 minutes. “Nobody’s interesting after three hours,” she says,

Sure, the asking out in person thing could be a legit 'get the students out of their comfort zone' thing, like the food course I did where we had to go out and eat chicken feet. Learning to move on from indifference and take rejection is fairly good thing too. But the rest sounds like some judgemental older person dictating their dated cultural values onto younger people for who those things might not work. 

 

She said she started this as the majority of her almost graduating students had never been on a 'first date'. I can only assume this is the romantic meaning of date as it seems really strange if all those people didn't have friends they did things with to make their human connections. I sort of feel this whole thing is a sad reflection on the education system, too busy studying, to busy focusing on what looks good on a resume, too focused on a future job that no students are allowed to be children, teens and young adults to learn about making connections and socialising in a natural way. (I may just be a bit snarky because I recently watched Michael Moore's 'Where to invade next')

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One thing she said in the assignment guidelines was that it had to be someone of "legitimate romantic interest." That thing she said about not everyone being drawn to romantic relationships was definitely inconsistent with what she actually seems to think about her students based on those assignment guidelines. Has it ever occurred to her that not everyone has "legitimate romantic interest" in anyone? If assignments like this become widespread, especially if they are mandatory, it could become a form of systematic oppression against us and force most of us to accept the crappier jobs due to not being able to obtain a college degree.

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Sorry for my language but this is so f**ked not even only for aros but for anxious people, people that aren't out yet like the person before said. It puts romance even more in the center of things. What is the response of people ? I really really hope they'll be scandalized by this because I can't believe people would actually support this. 

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7 hours ago, DavidMS703 said:

One thing she said in the assignment guidelines was that it had to be someone of "legitimate romantic interest."

oh I must have missed that point. Yeah, very inconsistent with her comments on not everyone being called on by romantic attachment...I guess all those people just miss out on the extra credit. I feel that if she had kept it a mandatory part of the course she would have had to change it to be more inclusive (like the chicken foot thing I did had an alternative process for vegetarians and vegans) but making it a voluntary thing certainly seems unfair to the students to be unflexable for those who have issues with it. I bet there is no counter-balanced extra credit option for them...

(I don't really like the whole 'extra credit' thing anyway, the way it worked in my courses was actually like equivalent credit when you missed something you could make it back up)

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I must have missed that too. This really does seem like a terrible idea all around. It's not her job to try to fix everything she thinks is wrong with her student's personal lives. Part of me is planning on writing a strongly worded letter to the editor of the Washington Post about that article.

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I can't believe it's a thing, or this it's even legal somewhere in the world. How can you ask your students to date? That's their personal life, that's not to her to say how they should live it. Plus, she's such hypocritical. She says that not everyon looks for a romantic Relationship, but at the same time she says " it’s mostly about social courage and challenging yourself to be a little countercultural, to do something you know you want to do", as if everybody wants this kind of relationship, and that the only reason we don't is because we don't dare to (because there is no doubt that "date" = romantic date" here). Is that common in the US that teachers care like that about their students private life, or is it just her?

Plus, how it has been said, it excludes people who already dated someone, or who are not at ease with their sexual orientations or don't want everyobdy to know it, or just anxious people, or people who have dificulties to find a date.

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I see no reason why it would be illegal. It's a private college. Generally they can do what they want except for discrimination relating to things like race, sex and disability. There are plenty of colleges and universities in the US that ban dating for instance.

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I didn't know it was a private college. But I still think it's a crazy thing to ask. I don't think that something like that would be possible where i live (or even that someone could think about it).

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Yeah because giving extra credit to people who have the ability and "want" to date is definitely not discrimination against aromantics, arospec, anxious people, people already in relationships and just basically anyone that isn't interested by her program. It's discriminatory because it's linked to people personal life, there's no way this can't be discriminatory if you bound personal life with study courses. 

I mean it's a private school so I guess there's not this issue that much but like she said the one asking had to pay. And the one asking is the one having the extra credit ? So that makes it really complicated for people without a lot of money to really engage as well. 

I'm so pissed off by this. Do write about that to the Washington Post. I would really enjoy reading that. 

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I'm not saying that it's ok, merely that it is legal. All of this with the caveat that I am familiar with Federal anti-discrimination law not Massachusetts anti-discrimination law.

 

Due to the time that has passed since the piece was published, I've decided on sending an email to the author rather than a letter to the editor.

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23 hours ago, Costati said:

but like she said the one asking had to pay. And the one asking is the one having the extra credit ? So that makes it really complicated for people without a lot of money to really engage as well. 

She does say that the cost should be limited to like $10, so there is no expectation of anything 'big'. I guess that is her way of getting out of monetary expenditure complaints? 

That is definitely one of the points I took issue with, simply because splitting the bill is sort of enshrined in Australia (but yes, I understand this is sort of a cultural difference thing). Though in giving a loose budget goal it sort of makes the assumption that money has to be spent....when really it doesn't. I didn't see if paying for the date with actual money was one of the main goal or not, but I wouldn't put it past the Proff to say you had to go out and spend money on the date as part of the requirements for success in getting the extra credits. 

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On ‎27‎/‎04‎/‎2018 at 6:59 PM, Costati said:

Yeah because giving extra credit to people who have the ability and "want" to date is definitely not discrimination against aromantics, arospec, anxious people, people already in relationships and just basically anyone that isn't interested by her program. It's discriminatory because it's linked to people personal life, there's no way this can't be discriminatory if you bound personal life with study courses. 

That's what I meant when I said I was surprised it was legal. I didn't mean that it was against the law or anything, just that it shouldn't be allowed by the university because it invaded people's private life, and that people are not equal when it comes to this first date thing. But that's just my opinion. I just don't get the point to give extra credit for dating.

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3 hours ago, nonmerci said:

That's what I meant when I said I was surprised it was legal. I didn't mean that it was against the law or anything, just that it shouldn't be allowed by the university because it invaded people's private life, and that people are not equal when it comes to this first date thing. But that's just my opinion. I just don't get the point to give extra credit for dating.

Oh don't worry, I was just being sarcastic because that's how I am but I totally get your point and I'm sorry if I offended you a bit. I was in no way mad with your point of view or anything. It's nothing against you it's just me being sarcastic and annoyed at this article :) I'm sorry I realize now it could have be seen as rude. It's because I usually don't put smiley on my text either. It's making it hard to understand my intention. It's my bad. But don't worry I really never blamed you I'm only pissed at this article and situation. 

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15 hours ago, Costati said:

I was in no way mad with your point of view or anything. It's nothing against you it's just me being sarcastic and annoyed at this article :) I'm sorry I realize now it could have be seen as rude.

Don't worry I get it. Sorry if I sounded hurt, it was not my intention.

 

I like the petition idea.

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Just to let people know, I emailed this professor, and got an update that's very different from what I thought about her. She has had good conversations with students who identify as aromantic, which means she is aware of us, and she gives students lots of extra credit options that they can only choose up to 4 or 5 of, which means it doesn't hurt them not to choose the dating one. With this information I don't think we should keep trying to get her fired, but I still hope to help us become more visible. Also, I don't think this has been mentioned on here either, but there's a new movie about the assignment, and I have no reason to believe that mentions us at all, and if it doesn't the assignment could still be brought somewhere else in a way that is harmful to us. But the professor who created it knows about and supports us.

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Can you email her back again asking for her to make a public statement about that and supporting of aromantics. Because it's pretty and all but if she really supports us she should clear that thing up right now because her intentions could easily get out of context like with that article and she should probably dissociate herself from the potential nasty consequences right now. Even if people probably won't care about her statement in the long run, at least for her and for us it's important that she shows her support. Openly. 
A statement is nothing to her it's like 5 minutes of her time, but it could mean a lot to us.

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On 5/4/2018 at 12:58 AM, DavidMS703 said:

there's a new movie about the assignment

Ooh, I'd like to see this - I'm fascinated by the whole thing. It's amazing to me that she got away with assigning her students dating. Not because it discriminates against aromantics (let's be honest, hardly anyone knows about us) but bececause universities tend to be culturally diverse places and there would surely be students from cultures where casual dating is considered inappropriate or immoral. In fact, dating is pretty specific to Americans of a certain generation. There's not much of a dating culture here in the UK, and I've heard plenty of young Americans joke about dating being an old-fashioned concept.

 

I hope she doesn't get fired. This controversy could be a learning experience for her and for everyone else involved, but if she gets fired she'll just become a martyr to free speech.

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