Trouble Over What Do You Do?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jul 17, 2022 | 0 Comments

What do you do if you're in trouble for something you wrote about a professor in an anonymous survey or at an online review site? Shouldn't happen, right? After all, that's the whole point of anonymity. Unfortunately it does, and because you haven't technically broken a rule, you could find yourself subject to off-the-book sanctions that you can't appeal.

It Can Happen

So you just couldn't help yourself. You spent an entire semester listening to your economics professor drone on and on about nothing, and by the end of the course you were so frustrated that you went right to and wrote exactly what you thought of him. In fact, maybe you went a little too far. You gave him a zero out of five for grading, and really, he graded your papers pretty fairly. Also, in the heat of the moment, you might have said he came to class drunk a couple of times. He deserved it...?

Most of the time, you can post this sort of thing and get away with it. Your professor probably has so many students in a given semester that more than a few will feel the same way you do, and it would be impossible for him to figure out who actually did the deed.

Instructors have gotten more savvy lately, though. Some of them check these sites frequently, and that can help them identify culprits. If you slam their office door on the way out, then head immediately online, they may be able to figure out just who posted the diatribe about their rotten personality. Or maybe they used your handwriting to figure out you were the one who turned in a course evaluation about how often they were late to class. It could be you were brazen enough to include your name. Maybe you didn't post it at all; you're just being blamed for it. The bottom line is, those things aren't always as anonymous as you might think.

How Do You Avoid Trouble?

Of course, you have a right to share your opinion of a professor and their class, so long as you aren't making discriminatory, harassing, or threatening comments. Having the right, though, doesn't mean you won't find yourself in trouble. Most professors have been at the academic game far longer than you, and they know how to make your life miserable in ways that won't leave a mark.

In general, it's better to avoid trouble in the first place:

  • Don't confront faculty directly and give them a chance to form a negative association with your name.
  • Don't complete any evaluations where you have to hand write comments.
  • Never include your name in comments.
  • Never let your emotions get the better of you. The time to leave a comment online isn't right after you just finished a shouting match with your instructor.

If, despite your best efforts, you still find yourself in trouble with a professor, make sure you find someone to stand beside you, to protect your rights and get you the campus justice you deserve. Faculty don't have the right to punish you just because you don't like them or their course. The right attorney-advisor, someone with experience representing students, can make sure they can't.

To find out more, or to get help, contact the Lento Law Firm, today, at 888-555-3686, or use our automated online form.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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