D for Delusional

, Carey E. Stronach, Ph.d., Leave a comment

Two weeks ago, a student who was in my General Physics class this past semester complained that I had given him a lower grade than he deserved. I had given him a D, based upon five tests he took, for which his grades were 16, 66, 89, 21, and 22. Counting the best 3 out of 5: (66 + 89 + 22)/3 = 59, which is almost the score needed for a D, so I was generous and gave him a D.

The student claims he made 95 instead of 66 and 95 instead of 21, which would give him an A. I looked at the papers. They were crude forgeries – the grade marks were not in my handwriting, and there were several inconsistencies. So I refused to change the grades and warned him about forgery, it being a serious crime.

The student went to the department chair and the chair went into my grade files at the registrar’s office and changed his grade to an A, without even consulting me. Now I am accused of discriminating against this low-life student, who hardly ever attended my class.

The department chair despises me, and the feeling is mutual. (My research record is far, far superior to his, I have supported Jean Cobbs[see here, here and here], and I’m the VAS [Virginia Association of Scholars] president and an AAUP [American Association of University Professors] member) During the past year he fired the two excellent (untenured) faculty who were working on the research program I direct, had our $335K grant returned to the Air Force, eliminated the M.S. program in physics that I have directed for about 30 years, and gave me a 50% teaching overload (all 100-level courses, no extra pay).

Now, eight days before I am fully retired he has delivered this parting shot, the purpose being to embarrass and humiliate me. What can I do?

Carey E. Stronach, Ph.D., is a Professor Emeritus of Physics at Virginia State University and the President of the Virginia Association of Scholars.