As the son of an eccentric college teacher myself, there are few things I like better than a crazy professor story. In the past, we’ve covered everything from Northwestern’s infamous f*cksaw demonstration to the guy suing James Franco for being a bully. Today, we have a story out of Columbia (me and Franco’s grad school alma mater, in case I haven’t mentioned that 12 thousand times already), where physics teacher Emlyn Hughes “stripped down to his underwear in front of images of 9/11 and Hitler,” during his class for first-year undergrads (with video, below). Your move, Professor Franco.
As first-year students filed into the lecture hall for their Frontiers of Science class, all of the lights were off, except for two spotlights on stage where Hughes was sitting. With Lil Wayne’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” playing in the background, Hughes stripped down to his underwear, then proceeded to change into a black T-shirt and pants. Afterwards, he sat down on the chair, hugging his knees in a fetal position.
Then, as a jumbled video that included footage of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers on 9/11 continued to play on the screen, two figures dressed in black came on stage with long swords. One of them proceeded to chop a stuffed animal in half on a stool.
The video on screen also showed footage of Osama Bin Laden and battles from World War II.
After the episode, students said that Hughes began teaching the rest of the lecture on quantum mechanics as though nothing had happened. He did, however, wear dark sunglasses and keep his hood up for the entire lecture. [ColumbiaSpectator]
I like to imagine that Professor Hughes came up with this lesson plan only after a long soul-searching session in front of the bathroom mirror, in which he repeatedly slammed his palms on the counter, screaming “HOW CAN I REACH THESE KEEDS!”
After the music stopped, Hughes told the students, “In order to learn quantum mechanics, you have to strip to your raw, erase all the garbage from your brain, and start over again.” [HuffPo]
Ooohhh, I get it now. And who better to “erase all the garbage” than Hitler, right? Wait, let me start over…
“Wait, is this real life?”
Hold on, can we get a quote from an outraged student to properly illustrate the depth of this controversy? Quick, find a kid with a hyphen name!
Maura Barry-Garland, CC ’16, said that the incident was all the more disconcerting because Hughes did not provide an explanation for using those images.
“It was very disturbing, and I don’t think anyone in the audience got what he was doing. He didn’t explain it or provide a context, and that’s why it was offensive to me and to other people,” Barry-Garland said.
“This is a school in New York,” Barry-Garland added. “I’m sure lots of people have personal connections to what happened here on 9/11, or have family members who died during World War II.”
It was surprising “that someone would think that was a good idea,” Barry-Garland said. [ColumbiaSpectator]
Waaah, my teacher did something interesting. I swear, you give these milk babies art and all they do is piss their pampers and cry for their Bieber marathons. I don’t care whether it’s physics or English, I would gladly send my kids to a college that began every lesson with at least five solid minutes of Clockwork Orange-ing. We need to figure out how to string them upside down and bleed the Disney Channel out of them.