Students walking out on class is not unusual, like in the recent case of the Harvard students who skipped out on their economics class in protest of their anti-Occupy Wall Street professor. But professors abandoning their pupils isn't as common, which is what happened last week when part-time Sacramento State psychology professor George Parrott, who requires his students to bring snacks to class, walked out on his Psych 101 lab after the pair assigned to food duty that day forgot the goodies.
Expanding on the
subtle bribery time-honored tradition of giving the teacher an apple voluntarily, Parrott has forced his students to bring snacks to class for, according to him, at least thirty-nine years of his teaching career. A handout on the first day of class makes his policy very clear: "Not having a snack = no Dr. Parrott or TAs. Now you are responsible for your own lab assignment."
Parrott said that the reasoning behind his snack policy is that it encourages students to work collectively and connect in a less formal atmosphere, while helping maintain glucose levels that affect mental acuity, while also dissuading hungry students from leaving class in search of food. And Parrott's handout features specific recommendations for kinds of snacks that should be provided. Under "Good Ideas," it suggests homemade or bakery items, as well as healthy vegetable or fruit platters. And under "Bad Ideas," such things as Nabisco products and pre-packaged foodstuffs are frowned upon.
The rationale behind the professor's policy certainly makes sense, though some may be inclined to think, "What's up with this Snack Nazi?" Parrott said he didn't feel bad about making college students without deep pockets bring food to class, because he doesn't require them to buy a textbook for the course, which runs around $200.
But students aren't happy with their teacher having hightailed it out of class that Thursday morning to go have breakfast with his TA, especially since they were due to have a review for an important upcoming midterm. Instead of just saying, "No biggie, just bring some extra crudite and dip next time and we'll overlook this little peccadillo," I guess he wanted to teach the class a "lesson." But, said student Francisco Chavez, "Our education isn't worth food, it's for us."
"I can understand the immediate frustration. I'm sympathetic, but I'm absolutely comfortable with the conclusion. The ethos I'm trying to promote is incredibly important. It may not be appreciated, and that's even more unfortunate. It speaks to their lack of understanding of higher education."
University officials said they take the allegations seriously and will conduct an investigation.