August 04, 2004

I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!

Maybe it's the lingering effects of the full moon (did I mention it was actually orange-colored the other day? I seem to recall there is some arcane significance to that--more werewolves? good fishing weather?--but can't remember precisely) but I seem to be stuck in a weird place: royally pissed-off and relieved at the same time. You see, the pathetic excuse for human refuse calling itself profdan has refused to grant me an Incomplete:


Sorry,I can't do imcompletes once the class is finished.You should have
contaced me earlier if this was a problem, although typically changes in
work schedule is not allowed for a online class incomplete. It has be
something related to a health issue, accident, etc.

So I will just grade you on what you have done.


All typos and punctuation errors are his, by the way. I copied and pasted the text of his email.

I am very angry. I knew that this class was going to be a complete waste of my time and my money, but I at least had the hope of salvaging a few credit hours for my $1,705.00 plus text books. But without a final paper--worth 50% of my grade--the best I can probably hope for is a "D", and even a "C" would mean I have to take another class to replace this one.

I am also, paradoxically, relieved that I don't have to struggle over 14 pages of bullshit, even though my GPA is now screwed.

Dear profdan,

The $1,705 I paid for your class is 7.3% of my annual salary before taxes. No one is reimbursing me for this, and by the time the loan interest and the $130 for the worst text ever written (which, by the way, it might behoove you to actually read, since the class "lecture" notes you posted all semester were a chapter behind) are added into that, the amount will probably be closer to 10%. Your refusal to allow me an Incomplete constitutes an example of some of the worst customer service I have ever received. By the time I realized that your class was completely pointless and a waste of my time and money, it was too late to withdraw and still get a refund (I know--I checked with the Registrar), so I stuck it out and churned out BS "case studies" for the credit hours. You have now denied me even those. We have "Lemon Laws" here in Indiana, and if you were a car salesman, you would be under investigation by the State Attorney General right now.


So, should I email that to him, or not?

UPDATE: I haven't sent that email (or any other). I think I'll take the good advice offered in the comments and work my way up the chain of command. So far, stunned silence has been my official response to profdan's email, as I did manage to avoid writing to him in the full glory of my anger. Actually, the reply above is about the fourth draft--the others sounded quite a lot like the Emperor, or Mudfish Billie in Harvey's comments....

Posted by Susie at August 4, 2004 10:47 AM

I'd challenge profdan to explain the rationale for his claim that "health issues" and "accidents" would allow for an incomplete but not changes in work schedule. The standard is simply "something beyond your control", and a change in your work schedule would be included (unless you opted to quit your job to complete the stoopid class).

What a jerk.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at August 4, 2004 12:14 PM

I like the letter, too! Seriously consider contacting the Indiana Attorney General's Office. I've done it several times (in CT, of course) in the past few years and have always gotten satisfaction.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at August 4, 2004 12:16 PM

I'd take this to his Dept. Head and see where that gets you first. While I would include everything you said in the letter I MIGHT phrase it a little differently, not sure where your taking this class, if it's a university, college or a junior college so your mileage may vary. Since you’re in Indiana, if it's Ball State, let me know my Cousin is a Prof. there and I could see if she would know the best route to resolving this.

Posted by: Randy K. at August 4, 2004 01:22 PM


You can be upset, but you can't pass the blame. ProfDan has rules to follow (maybe you can get a copy and see if the Spork's advice is helpful). you have the responsibility to inform him prior to the end of class.

But I would have thought that with 14 pages due, you would have some of them, perhaps even most of them. Consider meeting with ProfDan (leaving your childish email behind) and turning in what you have. Explain your case and ask for the best grade he can give, based on the case studies you "churned out".

And next semester, consider committing more of your time to the things you choose to spend your money on (note that you chose to take teh course, not your parents, and certainly not ProfDan).

Good luck and God Bless!

Posted by: Tom_with_a_dream at August 4, 2004 03:11 PM

Tom--it's kind of difficult to meet with the professor since he lives in Hawaii, and I live in Indiana. Furthermore, this class was my eighth class towards my Masters, and thus I think I can judge fairly well by now whether the class was a good use of my time and money. Had I forseen that I would be firing my Assistant Manager and thus working 70+ hours a week, I would not have signed up to take it. But my crystal ball is broken, so I had no idea there would be a time crunch at the very end of the semester....

Posted by: Susie at August 4, 2004 05:17 PM

Sheesh! Tom's comments really frosted my fritos! I have to be back at work by six, and now I'm going to be grumpy with the customers and employees the rest of the night--and on half-price day too!

Posted by: Susie at August 4, 2004 05:34 PM


I've taught lots of labs and classes in college and am currently an adjunct faculty member at XXXXX University. Anyway, I suggest that you go speak to the head of the department first. If you get no satisfaction there, go talk to the dean. Yes, the rules are in place for a reason. However, exceptions are made lots of times. I know, because I've been on the asking and/or receiving end. You might imply that you could take your $1300 to another school as a last resort. Colleges take the loss of revenue pretty seriously. But that's a last ditch ploy to try.

One final thought: do NOT send that email. If you send a deliberately antagonistic email(yes, you were provoked- not an excuse), you will effectivel kill any chance of getting the rules bent for you, both now and in the future.

BTW, if you've already sent it, disregard the previous bit.

Posted by: physics geek at August 4, 2004 06:10 PM

I agree with Physics Geek. I work at a University also, for a graduate program. Contact a department head. Even if the prof is not worried about losing you as a student, the department head and dean are. Also, if the department head is getting alot of complaints about this prof, and he isn't tenured (I doubt if he is, if it's online), it could impact his job.

Posted by: Tink at August 4, 2004 08:43 PM

As a former college grant worker and getting my masters degree from the college i worked at (no, i didn't get it paid for through my job -- it was pay, pay and pay some more), I can tell you the colleges provide general rules, but it is up to each professor as to how they want to apply them. He CAN give you an incomplete or provide time to make it up. Discuss it with him in more detail, then if he still is being difficult. Stay calm, logical and professional and present your case to the department head and work up the chain. Usually if you are professional and present a logical case, the prof will get overruled. Also, your email would make you FEEL better, but would get you a reputation with that prof and the others in the department and then you'll find a lot of "obstacles" in your path to completing the degree. (Yes they are capable of being that petty and childish)

Posted by: revog at August 4, 2004 08:53 PM

Susie, I agree with RandyK, Physics geek and Tink (oh also revog). Much as you'd love to punch him, don't send the email - and work your way up the food chain. You are a paying customer and as such are entitled to have your case heard.

It may end up that you have wasted the semester, but persistence may yet retrieve things! Unfortunately email never dies, so anything you send out electronically should never be anything you wouldn't want upcoming employers to see once you've completed school.

Good Luck! I hope by going over the instructor's head, you can get some satisfaction. *sigh*

Posted by: Teresa at August 4, 2004 09:11 PM


As I said in the email, I apologize for the condescending tone. Seems you are getting much the same advice I intended, from people wiser (and better conveyers of thought) than I.

"Frosted my fritos" - funny.

Take care and God Bless!

Posted by: Tom_with_a_dream at August 4, 2004 10:54 PM

Personally, I say hunt him down and Nancy Kerrigan his kneecap.

But that's just me.

You're probably better off taking some of the more reasonable advice ;-)

Posted by: Harvey at August 4, 2004 11:44 PM


And yeah, I wouldn't send that email, 'cause it would pretty much burn your bridges.

And it would annoy "profdan" more if you went over his head anyway.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at August 5, 2004 02:03 AM

The advice about going through the chain of command is sound. If none of that works, bite the bullet, complete your degree, then post photoshopped pictures of this professor anally molesting a howler monkey all over the internet.

Posted by: Graumagus at August 5, 2004 11:54 AM

Phew! I'm glad you posted that Update. First thing I thought when I read your letter was, "Oh Dear God, Please tell me she did NOT send that letter!"

Advice you have received is the same I would give. Except the Nancy Kerrigan knee cap thing. :)

Posted by: Boudicca at August 5, 2004 02:56 PM

Seems like you got a lot of sensible advice. I have none to add, just my best wishes on your obtaining a happy resolution. I was quietly shocked at the good professor's spelling, by the way.

Posted by: RP at August 6, 2004 01:34 PM

This sounds ridiculous. It is unbelievable to me how certain types of people cling to "the rules." I'm in grad school now and the profs are very accomodating. In fact, one quarter I neglected to "register properly." Actually, I didn't have the money so I just attended the class and midway through informed the prof of my problem of not registering properly. He said, "Don't worry. I'll leave a note for the professor teaching this course next fall and as long as you register properly he can post the grade I give for the clas and you won't have to retake it."

Now THAT is customer service!

Posted by: Patrick at August 8, 2004 05:19 PM

Sorry to read about your financial loss. I don't know every nuance of your situation, but college professors don't often care about them anyway, sadly.
Based on my college's withdraw "policy", college students may withdraw from a class up to about-one-week after midterm time (for a very small, partial refund and a "W"). Anytime after that, the student WILL receive a performance grade (unless he or she is flattened by a truck).

But, as a strict policy supporter yourself, I don't imagine you would refund a movie ticket (after a sold-out showing) because the stub-holder told you that they fell asleep during the last fourth of a movie, even if they did produce a doctors note confirming their narcolepsy.

What a misfortunate occurrence.

Posted by: PK at August 19, 2004 08:30 PM