That’s the math department screwed then

Students could report their lecturers for “microaggressions” at one in four of Britain’s Russell Group universities, The Telegraph can disclose, with avoiding eye contact a potential offence on one campus.

Six universities in the group of 24 institutions cite microaggressions on their “Report + Support” and inclusivity webpages, where students and staff can report discriminatory behaviour.

On Durham University’s website, examples of such transgressions are “not giving someone eye contact”

Actual and proper mathematicians having a reputation for being somewhere out on that spectrum…..

20 thoughts on “That’s the math department screwed then”

  1. It would have been a problem for my Control Theory lecturer too. His eyes pointed in radically different directions. The only sure thing in class was that if he appeared to be looking at you, he wasn’t.

  2. Maths lecturers scrawl equations on the blackboard too. Difficult to do that without turning your back. Feynman would have been in dead lumber, but students didn’t rule the roost in them days.

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    Andy F,

    When that happens at birth you don’t develop binocular vision so he will have just switched eyes to look at something different. I knew someone like that and it can be quite disconcerting.

    Operations to straighten the eyes are cosmetic because the brain will never develop binocular vision.

  4. Rational Anarchist

    I’d be doubly screwed. I’m half deaf, so normally look at lips rather than eyes. Plus mathematician/spectrum issues.

  5. Presumably if an Asperger’s spectrum maths lecturer was disciplined for not making eye contact he (it would be a he) would then have very good grounds for suing his employer for discrimination on disability grounds?

  6. That’s all male staff with female students screwed then: “You lookin’ at ma tits agin?”

  7. I think I’d be rather disconcerted if, every time I glanced at a lecturer, I found him gazing into my eyes…

    I once heard of a lecturer at Oxford who was so bothered by students in the lecture theatre, that he delivered his lectures from a cupboard!

  8. Jim: ’ Presumably if an Asperger’s spectrum maths lecturer was disciplined for not making eye contact he (it would be a he) would then have very good grounds for suing his employer for discrimination on disability grounds?’

    Well, over in the People’s Republic of Brighton, a ‘non-binary’ chappie is flouncing over the Internet that a woman manicurist wouldn’t do his nails because he’s a man (sometimes).

    The owner of the shop hits back with ‘She’s Muslim and can’t touch a man who’s not her husband’.

    Check. Mate! Order more popcorn…

  9. It’s “Maths”, Timothy, not “Math”.

    If you spend much time in universities you hear about, and sometimes witness, some excruciatingly bad lecturing.

    I did attend some physics lectures where the oaf at the front was so bad that we drove him off the course by hurling insults and objects. But for sheer woodenheadedness a couple of lecturers in Maths for Natural Sciences at Cambridge took the biscuit. One lecture was so awful that I wrote out the lecture that the poltroon should have given and cycled round to his college so that the porter could put it in his pigeon-hole.

  10. “One lecture was so awful that I wrote out the lecture that the poltroon should have given and cycled round to his college so that the porter could put it in his pigeon-hole.”

    That showed him!

  11. That’ll be fun… What happens when you disable an important safety valve for a lot of academic Ärger and actually feed it back into the loop?

  12. Not just the Oxbridge lecturers (I was told, some years ago when Aspergers became, briefly, a fashionable discussion topic, that a majority of Oxbridge dons had Aspergers – obviously not true that it was a majority, but very plausibly a noticeable minority). One of the standard actuarial jokes is “How do you recognise an extrovert actuary? He looks at your shoes instead of his own).
    In Japan looking someone in the eyes is microagession.

  13. “That showed him!”

    It certainly did. He walked into the Tuesday morning’s lecture, announced that he’d had second thoughts about Saturday morning’s, and then delivered the lecture I’d written for him.

  14. But of colonialism there surely, making eye contact isn’t universal, in some cultures it would be rude

  15. So reporting your lecturers is macro-aggression, not micro-aggression. So it’s all right then.

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