Op Ed:Tardy professors hurt the bottom line

There is an underlying conversation that is permeating the GW community. I have heard it in the halls, before class, in the freezing cold on the D.C. streets and even one night at a Capitals game.

“Mine was 10 minutes late,” “mine did not start until five minutes before we left,” “mine just told me to show up 25 minutes late every day.” What is this enigma that is consistently late? No, it is not the derailed Metro. The only thing that could be this late is a George Washington University professor.

I am a new student at GW, so perhaps I have not yet learned to turn a blind eye to this problem. But I am paying $14,000 a semester to learn to see the world with greater clarity, not to go blind. For the past six years I have been working blue-collar jobs – if I had shown up 10 minutes late for work three days in a row, I would have been fired.

My western civilization professor, who is dependably five minutes late, starts every class by saying that he has made a New Year’s resolution to be on time. This is equivalent to saying, “Today I am going to try and do my job.”

At about 10 minutes after class should have started, I can hear my economics professor trying to put the microphone on his tie. By 20 minutes after, he has told us a joke or two and we are maybe starting to talk about economics. Well, professor, here are some economics for you: we pay for your time, which means every minute that you are late for class, we are not getting what we paid for.

I pay $ 13,895 a semester divided by 15 credits, I am paying $926 a credit. A typical class is three credits, I am paying $2,778 a class. There are 30 classes a semester, I am paying $92.60 a class. It is a 50 minute class, I am paying $1.85 per minute. My professor shows up 10 minutes late for every class, I am losing $18.50 a class. If the professor is 10 minutes late 30 classes a semester I am losing $555 for the semester. There are 200 students in one of my classes; all things being equal, by the end of the semester our class will have lost $111,000. That does not seem like good economics to me.

I know that GW is not prepared to reimburse me for the time and money that I have lost by attending class here. Maybe, instead, they should consider docking pay for late professors. This might get the professors’ attention. We could install time clocks at the doorway to every classroom to ensure prompt arrival.

At other prestigious universities professors are expected to be on time for class and are held accountable for their actions. Why does GW have different standards?

I have decided to take matters into my own hands and am now asking for fellow students and classmates to help me speak out on this issue. But do not worry, it is not hard.

While you are sitting in class waiting for your professor to show up, write down what time they actually arrive and any comments you wish to make. Do this for a week.

A typical entry might be, “Jan. 27 – I am hung over, but with great effort made it to class on time. Professor ‘X’ arrived 20 minutes late.”

At the end of the week e-mail this log to three people.

1) Your parents, they are probably paying at least some of the bill.

2) The Princeton Review, if the professors know that future enrollment will be affected by their performance maybe they will feel a greater urgency to show up on time.

3) President Trachtenberg, let him know how late your professors have been.

Students of GW, you have paid through the nose to come here and learn. Do not let yourselves be robbed of this opportunity by tardy professors.
-The writer is a junior majoring
in international affairs.

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