Subject: bad interaction with student

I endured a lot of sexism, ageism and outright misogyny during my time in grad school, and lot of it came from undergraduate students. Because of the preciousness so many of them displayed and their increasingly hostile attitude toward any expectations placed on them by instructors or the institution, I thought I should tell my advisor about this interaction. This was in my third to last week before graduation and this was my very first complaint to my superiors; I only reported it because I was afraid I’d be kicked out before I got my hard-earned diploma. 

Hi Professor–

I believe I should tell you this, although I don’t expect anything to happen–

Today (Saturday), as I was walking by an undergraduate I had seen around (Beg Sculp), he yelped out ‘Hi,’ as I walked by and I ignored him.

I guess I rolled my eyes because of the aggressive nature of his greeting to whomever he was talking to on the phone.

Then, he screamed out, clearly to me, “Hey, I SAID ‘HELLO! What’s up with you?!”

I told him I thought he was on the phone and I was walking by and had never spoken to him before so why would I think he was talking to me?

I re-entered the building.

Later, I saw him in the classroom, introduced myself and, still feeling upset, I apologized for contributing to an unpleasant interaction.

He initially accepted that and then said that he was from someplace courteous and friendly and so he was friendly and courteous.

Yes, well, being from somewhere friendly and courteous and respectful myself, I pointed out that he had, in fact, been aggressive and hostile and that he was not the center of my universe so I had had no expectation of having to respond to some strange guy who suddenly called out. Then, things got a little rough again; he seemed to believe he was justified in screaming at me for not responding as he expected. I was impelled to suggest that I’m not here to respond to every male who feels entitled to randomly demand my attention. (I didn’t put it so bluntly, but that’s what I was thinking.)

However, I did my best to reign in my frustration and anger at being treated like this, some more, and made a point of saying, “fresh start, enjoy Sculpture, good work, blah, blah, etc.” And I meant it, but it’s a 50/50 proposition.

Anyway, this fellow is named “Whoever,” and just in case his over-weening adolescent male ego prompts him to complain, this is another side to the story.

–Aleka