Wednesday, February 14, 2007

An RYS Correspondent Offers The Smackdown

Allow me to introduce Mr. C.

Mr. C. is allegedly a member of one of my remedial Comp I sections. Mr. C. is ALSO a prominent member of a sports team at my institution.

He embodies every stereotype of the dumb scholarship jock who relies on his team standing and his coaches to make sure he successfully navigates the swirls and eddies of higher education. He is abrasive, arrogant and, if I can be forgiven an aesthetic judgment, not particularly attractive. This is due as much to his disagreeable disposition as it is to the unfortunate arrangement of his features and his truly epic acne.

Mr. C. arrived in my class with an admission slip and a note from his academic advisor, explaining that he was on double-secret, last-chance academic probation. Last semester, his GPA was Flounder-esque: a 1.4 overall. (How he maintained his sports eligibility is a mystery best pondered with a good bottle of Knockando, straight up.)

This past week, I had to sit down with Mr. C.'s advisor and coaches to explain that, six weeks into the semester, it was all but statistically impossible for him to attain anything above a "C."

What, they wanted to know, was Mr. C. doing that was so bad?

  • He spends a great deal of time picking at the zits on his face and wiping the effluent on his desk. Ditto for any finger-trout that he is constantly fishing about in his nostrils for.
  • He has yet to actually bring book, paper or pen to class.
  • He has failed three quizzes, and neglected to turn in two papers (out of the four that comprise his grade for this semester).
  • He engages in vigorous and enthusiastic scratching of any nether regions that need attention, with appropriate sound effects. I wonder if he has a fungus or small parasite problem.
  • He emits obnoxious racist and sexist comments as often as he emits foul aromas, both north and south.

In short, he is disruptive and ignorant, and shows no shame or indications that he wishes to improve himself.

His head coach explained that he was damn important to the school's team, and his scholarship would be toast if he got below a "B+" in my class.

I admit that I lost my temper -- just a bit.

Was the scholarship committee willing to foot all of Mr. C.'s bills for the rest of his life, I inquired? Because, quite frankly. Mr. C.'s communications skills rank somewhere below "troglodyte" at this time, and I seriously doubt he could become gainfully employed even at a fast-food joint.

The coaches hemmed and hawed. Could I find him a tutor from amongst the other students, who would help him?

Well, in as much as the other students -- including a young man who is on the team with him -- find him personally repellent, probably not. No one is willing to sit near him, much less work with him.

The meeting ended on a very dissatisfactory note, with no real resolution. His advisor indicated that she might try to fit him into another class...but I remain dubious.

I'm probably going to be saddled with this zero all semester, and it makes me nauseous.