Viced-Chancellor Fuzanne Sortier bravely announced that we must find a balance between allowing students to get kicked in the face and academic honesty.
In an email released to all McDill students, Sortier called for “active listening and dialogue” between faculty and students in regards to the tension between not kicking students in the face on the one hand, and academic honesty on the other. This message came in response to a series of incidents across Canadian universities in which professors just straight up kicked some of their students in the face. These events led to strong backlash from student communities, who naively asserted that “randomly kicking your students in the face is bad, actually.” One student told the Gaily, “Listen, man, I don’t pay several thousand dollars per semester to be kicked in the face in my Intro to Sociology class. It’s kinda fucked up, if I’m being honest.”
In her mass email, Sortier explained that sometimes important ideas like “academic honesty” and “not kicking your students directly in the face” are incompatible. “These things just clash with each other at times,” Sortier wrote. “Who among us can honestly say that we haven’t made the unintentional misstep of just straight up kicking a student in the face? Forgiving these types of mistakes is the only way for us to truly maintain academic honesty as an institution.”
Several McDillians assert that these concepts are “completely compatible,” “not in conflict at all,” and “equally necessary in order for a university to support its students.” Administrators and professors across the country disagree. In a list that has been circulating on the Internet, hundreds of professors amplified the call to allow instructors to kick their students in the face. One person on this list, a former McDill professor in the Faculty of Recess and Recreation, explained his reasons for supporting the cause. “It’s just the right thing to do. Students these days are getting soft, and they’re learning less because they expect their instructors to just not kick them in the face. I mean, what is that? When I was their age, my professors tossed students out of windows! Not me, though. No clue why that is. One of life’s great mysteries, I suppose.” When the Gaily asked whether his privilege might have impacted the way he was treated by his instructors, the former professor faded away into the night.
In a statement to the Gaily, Sortier clarified her stance. “Students just have to get used to experiencing a certain amount of violence in the classroom! It’s the only way for us to preserve true academic honesty. Telling professors that they can’t kick students directly in the face only means more plagiarism, more unlawful collusion over the internet, more students flipping over their exam papers BEFORE being asked to do so. I’m pretty sure that’s just biophysics.”