Law Professors, Law Schools, Rudeness

Gunner Storms Out Of Class, Sends Pissy Email To His Law Professor

I’ve got better things to do than be in this class right now.

The douchebag has a point. It’s going to be hard for some people to see, what with the kid huffing and puffing and doing all the things that make people hate gunners who spend half of class with their hand in the air. But trust me, at the heart of this story, this kid is making a reasonable point about law school and the value of in-class lectures.

Luckily for us, he’s making that point by acting like a petulant, entitled law student, one who drew the ire of his professor and the ridicule of his classmates.

So, this should be fun for the whole family… .

Tipsters report that a law student, who we’ll call McKayla, stormed out of class because he was unimpressed with the pace of the learning.

Apparently, getting up and leaving in the middle of the lecture offended his professor at Fordham Law. So McKayla sent the professor an email, apologizing but also explaining why the professor’s class wasn’t worth his time.

Let me stop there to say that I have no sympathy, none, for professors who can’t hold the attention of the class for a full lecture. Law professors are highly paid, part-time workers with few responsibilities. If they can’t manage to be interesting for two hours a couple of times a week, that’s on them. Don’t whine about the internet and students checking Above the Law while you teach. Say something interesting, and I’m sure your students will stop reading this and focus. Here, I’ll wait…

Yeah, see, that’s your fault right there, professor. You had your chance.

Anyway, McKayla sent a letter to his Legislation and Regulation professor about his early departure:

Dear Professor,

I received your message that you apparently conveyed to a small group of students at the end of class that it is inappropriate to leave class early. Let me first start by apologizing for leaving class early. I realize it may have been rude, and I am deeply sorry if you took it as such; however, I feel compelled to express my (and my classmates) general dissatisfaction.

Let me first say that if it were another, less active student who left, it’s unlikely you would’ve noticed. Considering this, please give me the benefit of the doubt that I value your class, and everything that follows is meant in the most productive way possible.

  • “[E]verything that follows is meant in the most productive way possible” = I mean no offense = I’m about to be offensive and unproductive.
  • “Let me first say that if it were another, less active student who left, it’s unlikely you would’ve noticed.” = The Gunner’s Roar.

Eventually, he gets to the point:

Today, I left class early because I did not feel that it was the most beneficial use of time. I apologize for how that reflects on the class, but I cannot apologize for my feeling. Today in class, as in the past, we walked through the reading, took a break, presumably walked through the rest of the reading, and ended early. All of the students in class read, or should have read, the reading. We are prepared to discuss these topics in-depth. Instead what occurs is general questions are asked, to which students give general textbook answers. I firmly believe that every question and answer could come with a textbook citation. This is not, to my knowledge, the purpose of law/graduate school. We are here to dive into issues, and engage the material in a way that we can’t do alone. For example, today I asked “why?” concerning agency expertise not being subject to disclosure. While the class may chuckle, it is a serious issue, and deserves attention.

We also do not need the break. The class is two hours on a long day. If you need the break, then by all means please take one. If it is meant for us, however, please just keep pushing forward. Last week we took a ten-minute break, and finished class seven minutes later. Clearly the break was unnecessary. Everyone in class should be somewhat professional. If they desperately need a break, then we have other problems to deal with.

That. Is. Fair.

I have been to a lot of lectures, and way too often those lectures could be subtitled “things that would be interesting if you didn’t do the reading I assigned.” Law school is an especially bad offender, because so often law school grinds down to the denominator of the dumbest person in the room.

And what kind of weak-ass two-hour class needs a break? Do they have nap time too?

If class is just going to be a regurgitation of points made clear in the reading, then the professor has reduced class to a useless exercise. The students in that unfortunate situation, students who have already paid for the service of being taught, are well within their rights to skip out on the so-called “teaching.” Again, and I know this is hard for some professors to understand, but the students are paying the professors to perform a task. The professors aren’t doing students a favor by standing in front of them for two hours.

Now… when I encountered problems like this, I simply didn’t go to class. Granted, at my law school they treated students like adults who were capable of deciding for themselves what they needed to get out of the experience, so it’s not like anybody was taking attendance. But I think the proper way of protesting a useless task is to simply not attend. Showing up and leaving is a bit disruptive (though, again professors, if you don’t want people to walk out, don’t be so boring).

The other thing I didn’t do in law school was to tell professors how to do their jobs (I only do that from the safety of the internet). McKayla? Not so much:

If I was to make an unsolicited suggestion, I would suggest vigorous question and answer. As the professor, I wouldn’t be afraid to ask questions that are tough to answer, even after having done the reading. Class simply is not stimulating. We understand efficiency arguments and judicial economy, but I am forced to believe that they are only the tip of the iceberg. I would push us to go beyond what we know, and to discover new ideas. That is the purpose of education.

When we came to law school, most of us were told that it would be different from undergrad—that we couldn’t just read the book and take the test. At this point, I think our classes illustrate the exact opposite. I simply ask that we move past the reading. If students don’t read, that is their fault. For those of us that do read, it is a grave injustice to use class to paraphrase the reading.

Okay d-bag, simmer down. Trust me, the professor is not “afraid” of your oh-so-tough questions. He’s just being a bit lazy. No “grave injustice” has taken place; nothing is f**ked here, dude. You’re just in a crappy class. It happens.

The letter ends in an orgy of self-absorption:

I apologize if this email carries the wrong tone, and I hope that you take it in a constructive manner, as that is how I mean it. These are not only my concerns, but instead are part of the everyday conversation outside of class… I have great respect for you as our professor, and, if anything, my leaving and this email are out of respect to you and this school. I believe the professors and students at Fordham are some of the best in the world. I think we should act like it.

I look forward to seeing you in class on Thursday, for which I will be in my seat for the entire class and contributing as best I can.

Now you can see why his letter is being forwarded around with the subject line, “Someone in my section with an ego through the f**king roof.”

Indeed. Here the point (your class is not impressive) got subsumed by McKayla’s larger purpose (I am the greatest law student of all time).

It’s too bad, because it is a point worth making. Professors aren’t paying for a captive audience, they’re being paid to teach people things that can’t be read in a book. Maybe one day this kid will learn how to express his concerns without sounding like a tool.

You can read McKayla’s full missive on the next page. Let’s just say I’ve already pulled out the best “points”; the rest is a lot of gunner douchiness…

(hidden for your protection)

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