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I Hate TA’s and GA’s 1-16-13

January 16, 2013

Just as I predicted, the idiotic posturing among the Teaching Assistants and the Graduate Assistants has begun. Actually, the posturing began eighteen months ago for the TA’s. They butt-kissed for a year as GA’s, then were awarded a teaching assistantship (TA). The GA’s are starting to turn up the posturing and sucking up to the grad faculty and wherever they’re carrying out their duties in the hope that they’ll get a position as a GA next year. There are more loud sucking noises around the department than at a Hoover repair station.

This is Darwin’s Natural Selection at play. Only the most self-centered and vicious survive. I hate some of the rumors. Several years ago, the GA’s ganged up on one guy and spread a rumor that he had a criminal record. He was questioned by the department chair as well as the dean about it. He produced a background check from the local police department as well as from his out-of state police department. He didn’t even have a parking ticket on his record. It didn’t matter. He was called “the Rapist” and it stuck. The University terminated his two-year contract halfway through his contract. He could have sued, but he decided to go elsewhere. He went on to get his MA and Ph.D at Stanford and went on to teach at Yale. I wrote one letter of recommendation, and the dean of the college of Arts and Sciences as well as the dean of the Graduate School wrote a recommendation not just because he deserved better treatment, but to get him out of here before he sued the pants off the University. I’m really happy for the guy. We screwed him here, but he recovered and prospered. If he had sued, he could have afforded to go to school anywhere, but the specter of the lawsuit would have followed him throughout his academic career.

Then there are the girls who try to get into bed with anyone whom they think will help them to get a permanent position in the school. I don’t know how successful they are at that. I just listen to the faculty talk and speculate. It’s a never-ending discussion. It’s a bit frightening, especially when the speculation strays into same-sex territory.

We had two guys not long ago who were GA’s. One was one of those “non-traditional” students in his forties who claimed to be a former monk. Then he was a priest. His story kept changing.He liked to talk about the Knights Templar a lot. He never said why he was no longer a priest or a monk (or whatever he was) anymore. I was surprised that he knew absolutely no Latin. He said that he attended Catholic schools as a child and had an uncle who was also a priest.

Then there was another guy who claimed to be the son of missionary parents. Supposedly, he had grown up in Africa and France. The “truth” finally came out at a student keg party where he was said to have gotten quite drunk and admitted that he grew up in a trailer park in Pennsylvania. His father earned a degree from a Divinity school somewhere in South Carolina and was witnessing, blessing, and baptizing in an old retail storefront in a town named something like Earwax Crossing. When he was found out, he wasn’t as lucky as “The Rapist”. We kept him on for two contracts (six years), then let him go. He may be passing the plate with his father now.

Things always seem to work out.

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