2 years ago
nehapatel
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Student Banned From Class; Says That's Wrong
Another issue that I'm not sure how to interpret has come about at Reed College, when a student named Jeremiah True was banned from his Humanities 110 Conference course after making comments that lead other students in the class to nearly unanimously vote that he was making them so uncomfortable in class that it'd be better for them if he wasn't there.
To get a quick understand of what happened, here are some of the comments he made in class:
- “lower class people didn’t have the ability to create art” and a comment about how “we shouldn’t blame the people who were responsible for the Holocaust… because they didn’t know any better.”

- “As soon as we started discussing Aristotle he said how did not believe that people who were drunk could not be held responsible for their actions, and similarly (in his line of logic), that racists could not be blamed for their actions because they had ‘never been taught otherwise.”
- “began the class abruptly and loudly in an angry tone, reading the Honor Principle stating how no student should face a hostile environment, and demanding an apology of only female members of the class despite the equally strong reaction by the male ones [to his arguments during a rape discussion].”
- "I do not want to be a martyr, but I will do that if that is what is necessary to make a statement.”
My thoughts?
While I totally disagree with so many things he says, I think we can't get a picture of what the class atmosphere was like. Was he fighting with people when it wasn't a time for discussion? Was he cutting people off and being unreasonable, rather than having a logical discussion? I'm really not sure.
If he wasn't doing those things, however, I don't think he should be banned for simply having an opinion that differs from others and makes them uncomfortable. People are entitled to having different opinions, even if they're not opinions that others agree with.
Still, based on his comments in his interviews, it sounds like he was causing trouble for the fun of it: "I have sent the faculty and student services scrambling for cover. It’s been an enormous amount of fun...This is the most fun I’ve had all year, and I have not this much fun since I was a kid. It’s so liberating.” On top of that, he told one reporter that he needed to start his article with the word "n[****]r" or else he wouldn't respond. So that's that.

www.youtube.com1DAA50E1-0355-420D-A1AD-2C244287F3DCCreated with sketchtool.
I've got a feeling that the student was in the wrong, though. This is the professor who, after trying to help fix the atmosphere, banned the student from the class. And based on his comments here, I don't think he would ask anyone to not attend his class without grounds to do so.
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Wow, thanks for sharing, nephatel! These kinds of issues can be so difficult... Banning this student from class isn't doing him any good, though. Maybe it would be better to fight fire with fire, so to speak, and challenge him on his opinions. Other than that, maybe the other students could bring their complaints to the administration, who could step in and provide the student with counseling or other resources to help get to the bottom of why he feels obliged to behave that way.
@aliischaaff I agree. It's a weird situation, for sure, but it just wasn't handled the right way. Sure, democracy is cool and all, but voting to cast him out isn't doing anything for him, nor is it helping teach the other students in the class about effective conflict resolution.