Did NYU Do Right By Michael Rectenwald?

Did NYU Do Right By Michael Rectenwald?

The plight of one NYU professor against political correctness has now caught the nation's attention and is raising questions.
Eve Papa
Eve Papa

Under the Twitter handle of “Deplorable NYU Prof,” New York University liberal studies Professor Michael Rectenwald has been criticizing the culture of political correctness, a hot-button issue, in correlation with the election.

For those of you who have yet to hear this news story, let me break it down into two parts for you. 1: This NYU professor was sent on paid leave after the reveal of his controversial, conservative Tweets on political correctness culture. 2: He was later allowed to return and given a raise by NYU.

On an originally anonymous Twitter account, Rectenwald attacks the ideas of political correctness and “safe spaces” that have become the norm on the campus of NYU. After he revealed his identity as the “Deplorable NYU Prof,” a group of his colleagues, calling themselves the Liberal Studies Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group, banded together to publish a letter to express their discontent with what they found to be his, essentially, disrespectful behavior.

After the letter’s release, Rectenwald, who claims to be the only one of his conservative kind at NYU, was brought into a meeting with his superiors and was asked to take a paid leave, which they claimed was a concern for his mental health. They announced that asking him to leave had nothing to do with his Tweets; it was that they felt there was something troubling him that needed to be taken care of.

But as of this week, due to public outcry in conjunction with certain media reports, Rectenwald has been welcomed back to NYU. Not only has he been allowed to return to his job, but he has also been promoted from assistant professor to full professor and given a raise. A dean of liberal studies also sent out an email to faculty reminding them to be open and accepting of all political views.

Although Rectenwald’s rollercoaster of events with his job now seemed to be solved, many questions about our society and its politics and education still remain. The plight of this professor, while personal, serves as an indicator to the changing times and views of our society.

Rectenwald’s situation has brought up questions about politics in the classroom as well. Is it acceptable for a professor to express his or her political views to students? Do a professor’s political opinions get in the way of students’ learning and development of their own opinions, or do they help students to understand certain viewpoints and make their own decisions? Is there a difference between simply expressing political views verbally and actually creating a Twitter page for it? Did Rectenwald take it too far?

Also looking at the issue of political correctness: Is political correctness an issue in our modern-day society? Is it necessary for politeness, cooperation, and avoidance of appropriation, or are we doing ourselves a disservice by forcing ourselves to walk on eggshells around each other? How can we truly break down social barriers?

As time passes and people move on, as they inevitably will, Michael Rectenwald may only be remembered as a debatable case of political correctness and the decisions of his superiors, but his situation has brought to light serious issues in our society that now have people thinking. Michael Rectenwald’s battle with NYU and its social norms may be key in America’s struggle with political correctness.

Cover Image Credit: Washington Square News

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.

Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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