Professor Steve Pastner cleaves pre-class silence with his powerful voice.
“I can honestly say that, without a doubt, these next few minutes will be the most interesting moments of your career here at UVM.”
He then exalts his 31 years at UVM. But Pastner’s face turns grim as he explains that he is quitting, “effective immediately.” Everyone is in awe. Finally, Pastner conveys his love and best wishes.
Pride, respect, admiration and appreciation mount in everyone’s hearts and minds until no one can hold back thunderous applause. Pastner declares class over. On their way out, almost all students shake Pastner’s hand and thank him.
Why was Professor Pastner, a teacher praised as “one of UVM’s gems,” forced to stop teaching?
Last fall semester, in Professor Pastner’s “Revitalization Movements” class, a problem arose. During one lecture, Professor Pastner mentioned the Abenaki tribe of Vermont and pointed out that they had not yet achieved federal recognition or funding.
After class, a female student approached him, offended that he had not given the Abenaki tribe more recognition, and thought he should change his class structure. Pastner then pointed out that “it’s not the duty of the professors to take their students by the hand and tell them ‘oh, whatever you think is right is right.'” He wasn’t going to omit information to the class.
Soon, the student began filing bogus claims against him. One claim stipulated that he was drinking on the job. He admits that he brought a bottle of wine to one class, but only because it was given to him directly before class by a thankful student. Another claim stated that he was discriminating against her for not letting her write her chosen paper topic.
Such decisions are made at the discretion of a professor, the leader of the class. We should be grateful that professors are here to share their knowledge. But this girl was most unappreciative. The student was harassing her professor. Pastner endured the judicial and administrative processes and was found entirely innocent. Unsurprisingly, then, the end of the semester was a great relief for him.
So how appalled and frustrated must he have been to discover, this semester, the mother of the student who had put him through so much to be enrolled in his “Revitalization Movements” course? He immediately went to the administration, arguing that he must have this lady out. He needed the aegis of the university to protect him.
Yet, like a bastard son, Professor Pastner was disowned by our institution. The university proclaimed that he had to have her in his class, for everyone has a right to an education. But it was evident that the woman was not there to learn.
Yet Pastner had no choice. He had appealed to every level of administration to no avail. He was forced to leave.
Since Pastner’s departure, the student’s mother-the woman entitled to an education like anyone else-has yet to show up for another class. She was not taking the class for intellectual advancement.
Rather, she was raping the system. The motives of one selfish woman took precedence over the intellectual advancement of over 300 legitimate students. For ultimate political correctness, the university alienated the very people at its foundation.
Professor Pastner, as the students and the administration- even his boss-know, is a brilliant professor, and one who could have enlightened many more students.
Students have flocked to his classes for more than 30 years. No longer, though. As Paul Georgieff said, “It’s a shame that one person’s hypersensitivity to political correctness could ruin a class for 300 other people.”