Wellesley Student Creates Database of Professors Who Commit Microaggressions or Fail to Respect Students’ Pronoun Preferences

“Does this professor use/perform ableist microaggressions?”

In true totalitarian, Cultural Revolution fashion, a Wellesley College student has created a public database of professors who are guilty of “ableist microaggressions” or of failing to “respect” students’ pronoun preferences. Because surely the most important consideration for students choosing which courses to take should be ensuring that your professors show proper deference to your imaginary gender identity.

The project called “Wellesley Professors and Student’s [sic] Mental Health” was launched Friday by junior Elizabeth Engel, who told Campus Reform that she was inspired to create the database after experiencing difficulties with professors who weren't adept at accommodating her mental illness.

"As a mentally ill student [?], it's always been kind of frustrating to find out whether a professor is good about dealing with mental illness,” she explained, adding that students had “no way of knowing which professors to avoid” before she created this valuable public service.

According to Engel, the best way to help other mentally ill students find accommodating professors is to "name and shame" professors who naively perceive their job to be teaching rather than nursing.

She has created a submission form on which the student can rate the professor’s handling of their condition on a scale of 1-10 and indicate whether the professor is willing to make such individual concessions as extensions on exams and assignments, and whether the professor was sensitive to “ableist microaggressions” such as “the r-slur, associating mentally ill people with violence,” or asserting that “[insert mental illness here] isn’t a real illness.”

As Campus Reform notes, Wellesley is a women’s college, so many professors reflexively refer to students as women, but Engel complains that many of her friends “identify as non-binary,” and thus they are being “misgendered.” This insensitivity creates a “toxic” learning environment for those students and exacerbates any mental illness.

Naturally, there are other types of microaggressions: racial, anti-Semitic, and homophobic, for example, which may make some students may "not comfortable” talking to professors about their issues.

Engel hurried to get the database operational before the registration period for next semester’s classes begins. So far, students have submitted reports to the database on 17 different professors from a range of disciplines including math, English, and religion.

Failing to respect personal pronouns and using “ableist microaggressions” each come up just once, according to Campus Reform, both in the same complaint from a student who claims to have been “going through a really severe depressive episode.” The professor in question apparently “was extremely unsympathetic to my struggles,” complained the student, and “made me feel like a burden for seeking even small accommodations that would’ve made the class much easier for me.”

Well, boo hoo.

Engel believes that Wellesley does a good job overall of supporting students, but she is concerned that it is not catering enough to "marginalized" students, "especially for intersectional identities." She hasn't "really seen anything on the administration's behalf” in that regard.

Shame on Wellesley. Clearly not enough bureaucratic structures are in place to cater sufficiently to students with intersectional identities. How can Wellesley even call itself an institution of higher learning if it's not bending over backward to accommodate its students' endless variety of narcissisms?

Issues