Thursday, May 12, 2005

Depends On What The Meaning Of Quiz Is

We feel fairly confident that we amply described our career as inmates of the educational/industrial complex as less than exemplary. That being said, there were some aspects of the curriculum that made us sit up straighter than Emily Bessing (who was a professional teacher's pet). Phrases like "Clear your desks;" "Take out a piece of paper;" "Put everything away;" and the one that never failed to reduce the temperature of our spine considerably, "Let's start with a quiz."

We bring this up because apparently there are students today, whose connection to the academic world is even more tenuous than ours. Meet Frank Tenteromano who is suing the University of Delaware for giving stealth quizzes. Let us just say right up front that we admire the tactic, having had to rely on fake asthma attacks and epileptic fits to avoid quizzes in our day.

Mr. Tenteromano employs a variation of Steve Martin's "I forgot" defense by contending that he collaborated with another student on the five questions handed out by his professor because he didn't know he was taking a quiz and thought he was merely engaging in a little classroom group work while the instructor slipped down the hall for a quick bite to eat. It should be noted that the rest of the class saw fit to do their own work, and the student he was collaborating with may or may not have known of the collaboration.

In the school's response to the lawsuit, attorneys said it was clear the professor was administering a quiz. "All students were advised to remove materials from their desks and were handed a form with five questions, the title of which was 'Quiz.'"

"Well, yeah, there's that," Tenteromano said," But professors ask us questions all the time. How was I supposed to know he wanted me to answer them myself?"

Tenteromano claims he was denied due process and that his punishment of a two-semester suspension and an F in the disputed class was "Arbitrary and capricious. I should be allowed to earn my F's, not have them assigned to me. Wait. That's not what I meant."

When asked if his three previous violations of the school's code of conduct, including for alcohol had also been the result of misunderstandings, Tenteromano responded that it was hard for him to keep all the rules straight when he was "As hammered as a ten penny nail. Jack Daniels and Jim Beam are my study buddies," he said.

School officials said Tenteromano's punishment was adjusted to allow him to complete his other classes for the semester and that he could complete the rest of his work and graduate when his suspension ends in the summer of 2006. "Believe me, we want him out of here," said a University spokesperson.

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