A Penn State University mathematics professor allegedly included his political views in multiple exams. The professor in question, Marc Fabbri, last taught the class in Spring 2018, and is slated to teach three sections of the mathematics course this Fall 2018 semester, as recounted by Campus Reform. The course, entitled “Finite Mathematics,” is geared toward non-science majors and is a course that satisfies the university’s general education requirements. The course is supposed to be an “introduction to logic, sets [and] probability,” but appears that the course was anything but an introduction to mathematics.
Also, Fabbri’s online reviews at Rate My Professor tell a similar story. On a rating scale of 1-5, with 1 being least difficult and 5 being the most difficult, Fabbri rated a 4.4. The website notes only 29% of student reviewers would take his class again.
Some of the topics that Fabbri included in his exams were fracking, the Clintons and Obamas, the Clean Water Act, and Trump University. One quote from one of the exams, referring to the 2008 presidential election and the Tea Party, is the following:
“The emergence of the Tea Party played a central role in the 2008 U.S. presidential election…The victor was Barack Obama who, like Bill Clinton, served as U.S. president for 8 years – the two men guided always by the strength of character and force of intellect of First Lady Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton.”
The university spokesperson, L. Reidar Jensen, said that the university is aware of the political materials in the mathematics course and said administrators are “in the process of looking into this situation further.” Although academic freedom is respected at Penn State, Jensen did note that the university encourages “any student who believes that an instructor has acted beyond the limits of academic freedom to consult the policies and procedures in place for seeking a faculty conference and mediation.”
However, Penn State is no stranger to controversy. For example, the university banned the use of the term “homecoming king” and “homecoming queen” because it was not gender inclusive.