Education

Suffolk University Completes Mandatory Microaggression Training

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Suffolk University recently completed microaggression training for its entire faculty, The College Fix reports.

The course occurred after Latina student Tiffany Martinez reported feeling “disrespected and invalidated” after a sociology professor questioned the use of the word “hence” in an assignment.

Marisa Kelly, the acting president of the Boston university, was quick to respond and mandated the training.

It all started last October when Martinez wrote a blog entitled “Academia, Love Me Back” where she described how a professor had returned an essay that she had written and verbally stated in front of the class “this is not your language.”

As Martinez described the scenario, “On the second page the professor circled the word ‘hence’ and wrote in between the typed lines ‘This is not your word.’ The word ‘not’ was underlined. Twice. My professor assumed someone like me would never use language like that.”

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Though there was no indication in the comment that the professor was alluding to Martiinez’s ethnicity as the reason she wouldn’t have used the word hence, the acting president of Suffolk inserted herself into the situation and stated publicly that the obviously the university had failed to be truly inclusive.

“There is more we can do. The most immediate action we are working to organize is a microaggression training session for each academic department in the University,” she said.

The sociology department, prompted by Martinez’s online post, also panicked and began investigating the episode.

Suffolk spokesman Greg Gatlin told The College Fix that the university’s Center for Teaching and Scholarly Excellence hosted the diversity and inclusion training that wrapped up with the end of the school year.

“The workshops, which have taken place over the past academic year, have offered strategies for inclusive teaching and have provided follow-up resources for working with diverse students,” said Gatlin. “The workshops were developed to provide a helpful tool for faculty members, particularly given the wide diversity of backgrounds among Suffolk students.”

He suggested that faculty members really enjoyed the sessions and the training will now be required for all new faculty employees at Suffolk. Gatlin did not provide specifics of the training.

But whether the training was life-changing to the faculty members or not, no one has answered the questions of whether the “hence” incident truly constituted a micro aggression. It’s also unclear if the professor was punished.

According to the campus newspaper, besides the internal investigation by the sociology department, two other students were reportedly subject to similar “microaggressions” from the professor.

Then there was a letter, signed by 300 unidentified people, inquiring about how faculty “misconduct” might be punished.

The university has refuse to comment further.

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