In a baffling display of bias, a Suffolk University professor condemned a Latina student’s work, accusing her of plagiarizing. His rationale? Her use of the word “hence.”
Tiffany Martínez received a paper back on which her professor circled “hence,” scribbling in the margins that “this is not your word,” underling “not” twice for added effect. Later in the essay, the professor wrote, “Please go back and indicate where you cut and paste.”
Adding insult to injury, the professor announced out loud in front of Martínez’ peers that “this is not your language,” when returning it to the slighted student.
The professors’ remarks were beyond erroneous (there is not a single instance of plagiarism in the paper), they were part of a reductive assumption of the Bronx-born academic’s abilities as a writer and thinker.
Following the incident, Martínez wrote a blog post titled “Academia, Love Me Back.”
Her post, in part, reads:
In this interaction, my undergraduate career was both challenged and critiqued. It is worth repeating how my professor assumed I could not use the word “hence,” a simple transitory word that connected two relating statements. The professor assumed I could not produce quality research. The professor read a few pages that reflected my comprehension of complex sociological theories and terms and invalidated it all. Their blue pen was the catalyst that opened an ocean of self-doubt that I worked so hard to destroy. In front of my peers, I was criticized by a person who had the academic position I aimed to acquire.
Martínez has received an incredible amount of support following the incident, no doubt stemming from her eloquence and courage in raising her voice. Indeed, the one positive outcome from this dreadful interaction between educator and pupil is the strengthening of Martínez’ resolve to rise above and achieve her dreams despite such lazy bigotry.