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Aug 29, 2004 9:57 pm

Try Allah Next Time

Bruce LeBlanc, a sociology teacher at Western Illinois University, got reprimanded because he was teaching offensive word-associations in a class and, well, offended a Christian gentleman.

LeBlanc reportedly revealed two blackboards at the front of his class, with"F**k" written on the left one and"G*d" written on the right one.

In related news, God is still dead.

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Ralph E. Luker - 8/31/2004

Right. Another strange experience I had was in a department where the required boilerplate for all the syllabi was really badly written and we were not allowed to correct the grammar or style.

Jonathan Dresner - 8/31/2004

Well, it gets pretty silly on our syllabi, as there are several portions which are not really optional, and for which the wording is provided by various administrative offices. So they're not 'my work' as such, but part of the 'standard form' syllabus contract.

Nobody expects a business contract to be original in idea and phraseology (though that would be interesting) or expects footnotes, either. So I don't feel too bad about 'plagiarism' in this venue, as it's pretty much required in spots.

Ralph E. Luker - 8/31/2004

It's honorable of you, Jon, to cite the source of the disclaimer. I am still in recovery from the time that one of my senior colleagues, who'd been appointed to draft department guidelines on plagiarism, plagiarized the whole statement from a department at another institution -- without any attribution, of course.

Jonathan Dresner - 8/30/2004

Feel free. Mine is an expansion on our departmental text, which was based on something from the Religion department....

Derek Charles Catsam - 8/30/2004

Jonathan -- it's too late for this term, but would you mind if i stole and adjusted your disclaimer in the future?
Today in class, in perfectly logical and acceptable context in a lecture I used a quotation involving the "N word" and I still always feel a little dirty when I do, even if in the context they sometimes actually need to hear it (and I'd sound like a bit of a twit if i actually said "the N word). Still, we've all heard of the wacky circumstances in which faculty have found themselves in trouble for using cerytain words even in precisely the right context (or worse, the poor bastard who used "niggardly" and still got in trouble!)

Manan Ahmed - 8/30/2004

Know what you mean...I have to start the Islamic history course.
disclaimer sounds a good idea.

Jonathan Dresner - 8/29/2004

I wonder, only half-joking, if he'd have been in as much trouble if he had included a disclaimer in his syllabus about possibly offensive material.....

Mine currently reads: "History is about real peoples, diverse cultures, interesting theories, strongly held belief systems, complex situations and often-dramatic actions. In certain contexts, this information may be disturbing. Such is the nature of historical study."

But still, with the origins of Christianity ahead of me in the semester, I can't help but feel a bit more nervousness than usual.

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