Welcome to Northwestern, Student-Suing Prof!

Former Dartmouth lecturer Priya Venkatesan, the woman who threatened to sue her students for being mean to her and not caring about post-modernism, is now a research associate at Northwestern. She'll definitely end up with plenty of material for her forthcoming book at NU, especially because the blog College On the Record has already published her email address and invited students to harass her. Venkatesan declined to speak with the Wall Street Journal when they wrote that terrible op-ed about the situation, saying she'd said all she needed to say to The Dartmouth Review (and boy, did she). And today, the Harvard Crimson weighed in!

The Crimson, in a staff editorial, sums up the case so far and then wonders about the "troubling implications" for students in the Ivy Leagues who may wish to abuse and harass inexperienced professors in the future. You might get sued!

The litigious threats are among a recent spate of well-publicized incidents in which conflicts that have failed to find mediation in the classroom have spilled into other realms, like the Internet or the courthouse. Like the Horace Mann case, featuring vicious Facebook groups aimed at high school teachers, Venkatesan's move to a lawsuit and book deal represent a failure of reconciliation within the classroom. Student-teacher arguments are nothing new, of course, but these escalated clashes still suggest a lack of mutual respect and an inability to resolve disagreements amicably. Venkatesan would have done well to bring her grievances to a university administrator before searching for an attorney.

Well, considering that she's also suing the University for sending her secret racist codes while spelling Gattaca or something, that might not have worked out so well. But, as in the Horace Mann case, the important lesson here is that if you're a rich little brat you can still get away with being a dick to authority figures and generally come out fine.