Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald
rfmcdpei

[BRIEF NOTE] Principled protest in academia or sheer stupidity?

I was surprised to find on the front page of today's Charlottetown's The Guardian, Caitlin McIntyre's "UPEI professor offers a pass for students to drop his course", describing David Weale's run-in with UPEI authorities.

A UPEI professor is the focus of some local and national scrutiny after his controversial decision challenged the university’s ethical and regulatory standards.

About two weeks ago, religious studies professor Dr. David Weale made a deal with the students in his history of Christianity course.

He offered the students a guaranteed 70 per cent grade on the condition that they stop attending his class.

As a result, about 20 students dropped the course in the hope that Weale’s promise would come to fruition.

Weale says the negotiation was necessary because, with about 100 students signed up, he felt the course was overbooked.

"There were people sitting on benches in the back taking notes on their knees," he said Sunday.

"I didn’t want my class to be like that, so I made a decision that within the conventional regulations of the university is quite a drastic and outrageous thing."


David Weale, for those of you reading this who aren't Islanders, is probably the highest-profile academic on Prince Edward Island, something of a celebrity thanks to his savvy connection to and support of traditional Island culture. Those of my readers who are academics can say, better than me, whether his form of protest was at all justifiable. Thoughts?
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