I Want to Hit Something…

So last semester, I took a Jazz class here at FSU. In a manner that is too convoluted to go into, I rubbed the instructor the wrong way just before the end of the semester. We exchanged some words via email, but were always very civil during class. I actually went out of my way to go above and beyond. When I received my grade, she had given me an A-, having deducted points based on our interaction outside of class. While probably not that uncommon, it is certainly unethical. How do I know she did it? Well, I asked her (again via e-mail) and she told me so! In writing!

She refused to discuss changing the grade, so I was forced to go through the grading appeals process, which is heavily weighted against the student who is appealing. Step 1, is documenting your complaint, submitting all evidence, including all of your attempts to reconcile the issue with the instructor, within 15 days. (Note, they told me this is what I had to do THREE days before the deadline.)

Today I had my “hearing.” I walked in to find three students. These students, I see on the guidelines, are a group of students from the same department, who have “no conflict of interest.” Question: In a department that is constantly holding auditions, where some students have choreography projects that use other students, where students are obviously in classes together all the time in the kind of intensive and insular program where politics must ensue, how can you possible have “No conflict of interest?”

It took them less than a day to write letting me know that they had found no problems with my teacher’s grading policy, and that they would not pass my appeal on to any faculty or advising body who might actually know something about pedagogical ethics.

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