Friday, November 4, 2016

Can Colleges Train Professors to Steer Clear of Microaggressions?

Tiffany C. Martínez, a sociology major at Suffolk University, made waves last week when she blogged about an experience in which she said her professor had called her out in front of her classmates and accused her of copying parts of an assignment. Ms. Martínez said she was particularly upset that her professor had circled the word "hence" and written in the margin, "This is not your language."

Though she said she understood that her professor was questioning whether the paper was plagiarized and probably didn’t intend for the comment to carry a racial tone, the words still hurt.

The incident is a clear example of a perceived microaggression, and prompts a question: How can institutions ensure instructors enjoy academic freedom while also pushing them to be mindful of students’ racial backgrounds and experiences?

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