The Saga of Calculus Class Finally Comes to a Close

  • Mines
The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 19 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

Well, I was finally switched into the other Calc class. However, it wasn’t accomplished without some bravado by the head of the math department. She sent me an email on Friday:

You have been switched from 111F to 111E effective Oct. 22. I would be glad to talk to you about why I did this and I think it would be a good conversation for you to hear. Come to my office on Monday (207 Stratton) between 9 and 1. You will have to live with the lack of discretionary points.

You will have to live with the lack of discretionary points. What the hell are you trying to say? Before I go on any further, I feel obliged to present the whole string of emails:

—–Original Message—–
From: aferguso@Mines.EDU [mailto:aferguso@Mines.EDU]
Sent: Friday, October 22, 2004 9:50 AM
To: Barbara Bath
Subject: RE: MACS class change

I sent you an email a couple weeks ago and I have not heard back. In short, I can understand the fact that it would "not be wise" for me to change
classes because it is so late in the game. However, I believe that failing to change classes could potentially mean that I have to take calc 1 again, something that I wouldn’t look forward to. I’ve been attending Ms. Bailey’s class for about 4 weeks now and I have to say that I’m really enjoying it. Please get back to me ASAP.
-Andrew Ferguson

Quoting Barbara Bath <bbath@Mines.EDU>:

> Andrew, it would not be wise for you to change at this point as there are 40
> people registered in the class you want to change to and you would not have
> any discretionary points. There are a number of actions you can take to
> improve your performance. 1) Go to tutoring 2) Go to the workshops 3) Get
> the solutions out of the library 4) Attend other sections when you want
> further instruction 5) Go to Dr. Abushama’s office hours for additional
> help. Keep me posted on how you are doing. bbb
> Barbara Blake Bath
> Emerita Director of Undergraduate Studies
> Mathematical and Computer Sciences
> Colorado School of Mines
> Golden, CO 80401
> email:
> phone: 303-273-3872
> fax: 303-273-3875
> —–Original Message—–
> From: aferguso@Mines.EDU [mailto:aferguso@Mines.EDU]
> Sent: Sunday, October 10, 2004 7:29 PM
> To:
> Subject: MACS class change
> I am currently in MACS 111-F, which meets on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday,
> and
> Friday at 10am. I am having difficulties understanding the teacher and
> contacted Jennifer Bailey wondering if I might be able to switch into her
> class
> which meets at almost the exact same time. I have talked with my CSM 101
> advisor, Luisa Duley, and she has informed me that it is ok with the
> registrar,
> and I went to registrars office and they gave me a form to change classes.
> I talked with Ms. Bailey and she was hessitant about switching because of
> the
> descretionary points that are given out and that the class was kind of
> I
> went to her class all of last week and there were plenty of empty seats.
> not trying to be a pain or anything, I’m just trying to get the most out
> my
> education and Ms. Bailey’s class is significantly better then my current
> situation. I was talking with Mel Kirk about the situation on Friday and
> refered me to you. I’m wondering what my options are. Please email or give
> me a
> call when you get a chance. I’m usually up until about 11pm.
> -Andrew Ferguson
> 206-948-1701

There was also an email in there after her original response where I stated that I am not paying $30,000 to teach myself calculus in the library. I also noted that I am at Mines Park which is at least a half mile trip to the nearest tutor and that because I was so far away, I would be less inclined to go to tutoring. She never responded back to that email.

So I went to her office on Monday. The first thing she said was something to the effect of "Do you have any idea what would happen if 576 students wanted to change classes?"


"It would cause so much chaos" blah blah blah "Fortunatly, I was able to do you a favor" blah blah blah "your lucky I know someone in the registrar’s office."

I then alerted her to the fact that I had a Learning Disability. She then proceded to say that I should not have brought that up. WHAT THE FUCK? That is a very relavent point and I certainly have the right to bring it up! But it get’s better! She then goes on to say that for her Ph.D. paper, she studied math scores of children with cancer and that they were happy just to be able to learn. Again, WHAT THE FUCK? I don’t have cancer, nor is that an appropriate correlation to the current topic. She then got on my case for requesting a read receipt because it shows that "I don’t trust her." For the record, I request a read receipt for all emails I send out…thanks for asking. Then she said that Abushama’s english is "impecible." I wasn’t going to argue; she can speak english and has a good vocabulary, but her grammer sucks like a black hole and she doesn’t have any intonation. This makes it very hard to understand her. Seeing as I have a hard enough time with ADD and what not, I think I have the right to switch into a class where I can actually understand the teacher, even more so becuase I pay you over $30,000 to go here. She then said that she hopes I don’t do this often because I might get a bad reputation.

All in all, I attribute the entire meeting as a scare tactic. Something designed to let me know she didn’t appreciate me playing by the rules and causing her all sorts of paper work. Glad I could help.