Hey guys, so here’s what happened to me last night.
I’m an English major in this Creative Writing: Fiction course at UMass Dartmouth. Every time an assignment is due, our professor has the class submit stories to online discussion boards where we are split into groups of 5, and instructed to provide each other with constructive criticism.
There is one particular gentleman in my group who has been far from constructive in his engagement with me, and the rest of the group members. This gentlemen is significantly older compared to the rest of the class. I am 24, and I’d guess that he is at least in his early 50s.
In previous discussions, this gentleman has repeatedly dismissed my opinions and the opinions of others in the group of his work, claiming that he is a published author, immune to critiques from individuals such as us, who are unable to grasp the full scope of his work and vision. My standpoint is that published author or not, in the classroom setting there is one professor, and the rest of us are classmates, making us peers who should respect one another.
Despite this gentleman’s usual condescending tone in the discussions, I provided professional and respectful critiques of his work. That is until this latest assignment, where I submitted a story of the first person narrative, inspired by Junot Díaz’s "Fiesta, 1980.” It is called “Christmas Party, 2013” and you can read the draft, here. This gentleman expressed his dislike for the genre, which is fine, but what was not fine was his comments about a character in the story, (Sam) who is my actual roommate of a different name.
I did not take that comment lightly, (it is highlighted in orange in the first picture) and was no longer able to look past this gentleman’s inflated sense of self, lack of constructiveness and now, disrespect. Instead of making threats, or being vulgar, I responded with sarcasm, and a satire of the gentleman’s comments on my story.
The gentleman emailed me telling me to “best read his comments.” I did, and replied once more. I was then accused of harassment.
Following this exchange I emailed my professor a long letter about what had happened, and I met with her for office hours today. Turns out that I am not the only one in the group who has come to her with complaints about this gentleman (shocker) but, I am the only one who has called him out for his arrogance. This gentleman will no longer be in our group.
You can read the exchange in the pictures above.