June 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm #30949
I really really need to vent right now. This morning I had a speech for my public speaking class. I did an excellent job on my speech, and I had our class really excited about my topic. We’re supposed to wear business casual clothing for our speech days, but today my professor pulled me aside after class. He started giving me a long, really mean lecture about professionalism. He said that although I’m an excellent speaker, my grade will be dropped from an A to a C in his class because I don’t dress well enough. He said that my speaking abilities and speech-writing skills are completely overshadowed and ruined by my “lack of professionalism” in my dress. I told him that I wore the best I could today, and that I couldn’t afford new clothes for the class. He said that I should be forced to drop the class and retake it when I could afford better clothes. I was so humiliated and angry.
First of all, I wore the nicest clothes I had. Khakis, a nice black blouse, tasteful jewelry, dress shoes, and my hair was pulled up in a simple, professional manner. I was certainly business casual. I wore this outfit many times during an internship all last year where I was having to act professionally out in the community. My employers always said I was very professional, and I never had any wardrobe complaints. The football player in the class gets so much special attention it’s ridiculous. He wore ripped cargo shorts, a tattered and wrinkled polo shirt, and tennis shoes, but he didn’t get a lecture. His speech was worse than horrendous, and the professor just gave a big encouraging “don’t worry about it too much!” speech afterward.
I feel like public universities exist to make education accessible to everyone. Yes, I should be dressed professionally in a Public Speaking class, but I feel like if someone is making an effort to look nice with what they have, that’s good enough for a classroom in a decidedly casual university. I was totally humiliated today in front of my classmates, and I just feel like absolute shit right now. I’m apparently too poor to be worthy of my education.June 21, 2012 at 12:14 pm #30953
Oh wow, I´m so sorry for what you went through. Your professor sounds like a huge ass. Could you report him to someone or something?June 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm #30955
Well, he’s always talking about how he’s so lenient compared to the Department Head, who’s apparently ancient and expects everyone to wear freshly tailored suits. So I doubt that reporting him would help. He would probably be praised for “raising the standards of professionalism” or some BS like that.
It also sucks because I’ll be finished with school at the beginning of August. I don’t have time to drop it and take it again. So my choices right now are either 1) hope he still passes me with my current wardrobe, or 2) buy new clothes instead of buying groceries for next week.June 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm #30956
Going from an A to a C without an opportunity to fix specifically what he is telling you seems so extreme and weird. Is there something in the syllabus that tells you exactly how to dress for the class? If there’s an articulated, strict dress code, and you are in compliance, then you can certainly appeal your grade to the head of the academic department.June 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm #30957
Can you borrow clothes from a friend? Also did he even tell you exactly what was wrong with your current outfit?June 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm #30958
Whaaat, no. This should not have happened. Your manner of attire (which sounds completely appropriate) is not something for your professor to discuss, or base your grade upon. HE is being unprofessional, inconsisent (from what you said about the other student), and there isn’t a class in the world you should be forced to “re-take when you can afford better clothes.” I definitely think this guy has something personal against you, & he should be reported.June 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm #30960
Oh my goodness, I would have been devastated. I can’t believe he had the nerve to tell you to retake the class when you can get better clothes. Your speaking ability should stand for itself, especially considering you were wearing an appropriate outfit.
I would suggest reporting it, too. His comment was far more unprofessional than any kind of clothing.
*Sending you huge hugs*June 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm #30962
Thanks, everybody. It makes me feel better to know that other people see something wrong with the situation too.
I’m thinking of writing an anonymous letter to our student newspaper about the topic in general – not specifically calling out this professor. I don’t know if it would help, but it’s at least a discussion that needs to be started.
@HmC, We don’t have a specific guideline for it. He just said “business casual,” which is a pretty flexible category of attire. He didn’t even bother to tell me specifically what was wrong with it. He just looked down at me in disgust. It’s so unreasonable. Unfortunately, none of my in-town friends are even close to the same size as me, so I think I’m going to have to make a trip to Goodwill.June 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm #30963
Do you have a student resource center? Telling you that your grade will be dropped because of your outfit – which is totally appropriate by the way – is out of line. You need to report this. He is clearly singling you out – and quite frankly there might be a teacher code that speaks to teachers commenting on student dress – it can be construed as harassment particularly given he is inconsistent with male students. Don’t back down. I had a teacher dislike me my final year of undergrad and accused me of plagiarism. It went all the way up the food chain and I got my A and she got to issue me an apology in front of the Dean.June 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm #30964
Absolutely not. This should NOT have happened to you. Go to your academic advisor if you don’t think the department head will help you out. Hell, go to another professor in the department! Business casual, from what I’ve been taught, IS khakis. Plus, for women, it’s such a fluid category. Not only that, but his telling you that you should take the class when you can afford it is probably harrassment. The way you’ve described it, it sounds personal. Is there anything you can think of that would have caused that? Was your topic political, or about something he doesn’t believe in? I am so so sorry this happened to you. But yeah, my suggestion would be go to your academic advisor.June 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm #30968
I’m Really REALLY sorry this happened to theattack. I’ll write a better more thorough response later but for now wanted to tell about looking into some women’s organizations that specifically provide business outfits to low income women. They exist, and their mission is to help people in situations like yourself get ahead. Lack of ‘professional attire’ should NEVER keep people from advancing, or getting the grade, but it does often times.
Also–note to DW Working Women, think about donating the business clothes you have that no longer fit to organizations such as thisJune 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm #30974
You should absolutely seek outside guidance/support for this. If you don’t think the department head maybe there is another professor in the department you could reach out to? I would also condiser reaching out to a student affairs office or some kind of HR person. Also, two letter grades?? That seems absolutely extreme considering khaki’s, a dress shirt and dress shoes would be business casual in 99.9% of offices. Take a picture of yourself in the outfit.
I would look into Plato’s closet and consignment shops as well if you do decided to buy some new clothes. Also look into and see if there are any organizations in your area that provide low cost or no cost professional clothing to women. I know Dress for Success is a really big one nationwide.June 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm #30975
Here’s an example: http://www.dressforsuccess.org/whatwedo_suits.aspx
I don’t know where you are, but they have affiliates all over, and maybe talking to someone there about your incident can give you some direction as well.June 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm #30977
I’d look into filing a sexual harassment complaint against him. I’d also use your cell phone’s ability to record videos to record your conversations with him to catch him making inappropriate comments like that.June 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm #30979
I know you said that the Department Head would probably be on this guy’s side, but I would suggest taking it further up that than. That is a HUGE drop in a grade for not dressing to his standards (sounded like business casual to me, though). Especially if there is not a written, specific requirement in the syllabus or the grading guidelines. He was completely out of line and suggesting you drop the class and retake it when you can afford new clothes is absolutely unprofessional. If you don’t know who to go to, I suggest talking to a school counselor or student help center if that’s possible. Especially if you can prove that other students in the class are not getting the same penalties.
I also second whoever mentioned the women’s organizations that may be able to help you with clothing. Also places like Goodwill/St. Vincent’s/Savers if you have any of those are usually good. I remember going to Savers right after I got my last job because we were required to wear dress pants and dress shirts (which I had like 2 of each) and got a whole new business wardrobe for under $20 (4 pairs of pants and 6 or 7 shirts).
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
by theattack on · in