NYU prof's 'lack of professionalism' is 'worst idea' conservatives have of liberals: Report
Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca was hired by NYU to teach a “feminist” journalism class.
Multiple students have reportedly said that Duca did not teach them much of anything, abusively targeted a foreign exchange student, and regularly left class to “meditate.”
The students were so “disappointed” in the course and Duca herself that they filed a formal complaint with the university.
A New York University “feminist” journalism course taught by Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca was reportedly such a misfire that her students collectively filed a complaint with the university. Duca’s students claim that her course had no practical structure, that her classroom behavior was inappropriate, and that she “consistently targeted” a foreign exchange student.
NYU journalism director Ted Conover confirmed to Campus Reform on Wednesday that the university had received the students’ complaints and that he is meeting with at least one student involved in order to “determine the course of action that is in the best interests of our students and their education.”
"The quality of the classroom experience is something we take very seriously, and we place a high priority on ensuring that instruction given in our classes helps prepare students for their careers,” Conover told Campus Reform, adding that he has only been in direct contact with the student who sent the complaint to him, but that he is “eager to understand more about the problems the student has cited.
“If there were problems, we don't want our students experiencing them again,” Conover said.
Duca’s rise to fame began, in part, with an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight, wherein she indignantly defended her position that her articles about Ariana Grande’s “thigh-high boots,” do not preclude her from writing articles about President Donald Trump’s alleged threat to the “sovereignty of an entire religion."
Carlson confronted her about both the content of her work and her tweets defending an individual who verbally accosted Ivanka Trump on an airplane. The interview quickly devolved into a shouting match. Duca signed off by calling Carlson a “sexist pig.”
After her appearance on Carlson’s show, Duca received an influx of national attention, including recognition from Hillary Clinton. She also landed a gig as a journalism professor at NYU.
A recent Buzzfeed profile of the 28-year-old revealed that students of Duca’s course titled “The Feminist Journalist” collectively expressed dissatisfaction with the course and with Duca herself both in a formal complaint to the university and in conversation with Buzzfeed.
“We are disappointed at the department and NYU for hiring a professor with more interest in promoting her book than teaching a group of students eager to learn,” Duca’s students wrote in the complaint, pointing to a “consistent lack of professionalism that persisted throughout every aspect of the course.”
“We are disappointed at the department and NYU as an institution for hiring a professor without a syllabus and classroom management skills. We are disappointed at the department and NYU for hiring a professor without a clear course objective,” they added.
Buzzfeed reporter Scaachi Koul attended the last meeting of Duca’s course for the semester and described the experience as “exactly what Tucker Carlson would envision a liberal journalism class might be” in that it was “a bunch of kids from varied backgrounds, ethnicities orientations, and gender identities who could each afford a $6,500 class, wearing T-shirts that said ‘GenderQueer’ or ‘Kill Patriarchy.’”
Even so, Koul says that “several” of Duca’s students reached out to her after the course with complaints about Duca’s supposed misappropriation of the progressive cause, with one student reportedly accusing Duca of having a unique “ability to exploit the movement.”
“It’s frustrating to see as a student, as a young woman, see how somebody can so clearly take advantage of the system and capitalize on her supposed wokeness while not practicing what she’s writing about,” said one student.
One student told Koul that Duca represents “that ‘worst idea’ that conservatives think liberals are.”
Multiple students reported that Duca’s classroom behavior was inappropriate, often oversharing about her personal life and shouting at students, and disappearing regularly to “meditate” for 30-45 minutes during the nearly three-hour class.
“My power is a great communicator,” Duca reportedly told Koul, later calling online critics who lambasted her for requiring students to tweet for 20 percent of their grade “fucking corny.”
Although Duca’s syllabus caught online attention, many students claim that there was no syllabus in use at all. “There was no syllabus or clear expectations of what she would be teaching us. The class kind of banded together to teach each other things so that we weren’t the subject of Lauren’s wrath,” said one student, who lamented that he or she was simply “expecting to learn how to write an article.”
Duca responded to the criticism by insisting that she “created a dynamic, experimental, ever-evolving course structure” that “pulled from” the syllabus and that her students actually had “on some level, internalized some of the objectives, whether they know that explicitly or not.”
Koul also reported multiple allegations that Duca singled out a foreign exchange student whose English language skills were limited. Students allege that Duca refused to accept work from the exchange student, and called her input “basic” and “vague.”
Duca admitted to at least one incident of making the foreign exchange student cry during class.
“I said, ‘You need to do the work’; she cried. Like, come on. Is that targeting? What am I supposed to do?” Duca explained.
The students’ complaint alleges that Duca not only “consistently targeted this student” but also that the targeting was “on the basis of a communication difficulty the student cannot change.”
When she asked Duca about the details of the students’ complaints, Duca reportedly became agitated and accused the Buzzfeed reporter of being hard on her because she was a woman. The Buzzfeed reporter is also a woman.
“You're being so fucking hard on me, Scaachi, and I really, really, really, really would ask you if you would be grilling a man in this same way. It's amazing. The shit that I have endured to continue to sustain a voice where I'm just fighting every inch for the same thing that I think that you want, which is public power and equality, and I'm trying my goddamn best, okay?” Duca said.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan