Isis the Scientist recently wrote about a seriously stupefying incident that occurred at UC Davis Veterinary School. One of the 85% female class had a baby, and the class presidents wrote a letter to the entire class asking them to vote on how to grade her and deal with her maternity leave, or lack thereof.
…Below are listed the options that Dr. Feldman has suggested. Please reserve comment on these options and provide us your opinion on them by voting when the time comes. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.
a) automatic A final grade
b) automatic B final grade
c) automatic C final grade
d) graded the same as everyone else: best 6 quiz scores out of a possible 7 quiz scores (each quiz only given only once in class with no repeats)
e) just take a % of quiz scores (for example: your classmate takes 4 quizzes, averages 9/10 points = 90% = A)
f) give that student a single final exam at the end of the quarter (however this option is only available to this one student, all others are graded on the best 6 quiz scores and the % that results)
I am happy to say a groundswell of WTF *facepalm* reaction from her readers and hopefully members of the class and greater UC Davis community has engendered (pun intended) a response from the chancellor of the school, Linda P.B. Katehi:
…I want to assure you that I take very seriously any allegations that a student’s welfare, dignity or academic rights have in any way been compromised. And as a woman, who has experienced firsthand the challenges of melding academic and family life and has experienced discrimination, I am especially sensitive to this issue. This alleged action, if found to be true, would present a serious deviation from the values and principles that guide our campus and our School of Veterinary Medicine, and I would be profoundly disappointed if the reported events did in fact transpire on this campus.
I have asked Ralph Hexter, UC Davis’ provost and executive vice chancellor, to initiate a thorough review of this matter. He will ensure that all appropriate procedures are followed and that the appropriate campus authorities will make a final determination as to whether any campus policies and procedures were violated and, if so, what steps need to be taken. I expect rapid attention and response from the provost.
Our veterinary school, with an enrollment that is 85 percent female, has a long history of providing accommodations for the health and well being of its students and their families. During a student’s pregnancy, the school customarily works with her to help catch up after being away for childbirth or to arrange for an extended leave after which she can resume her academic program. And for mothers of infants, the school provides a lactation room so that students can continue breastfeeding their babies.
Right on, Chancellor.
I find it extremely hard to believe this is the first time this has come up. Every year in medical school there has been a few students that have had babies. It is not a generous leave policy at our school. You either have weeks or a year. If you are on rotations, you can arrange to take a month off. I know many students who feel pressured to schedule their births, either by cesarean or induction, in order to make it fit in with their rotation schedule or class schedule.
I am looking forward to being in residency with younger women. I am done with the baby making. I will be happy to step up when they need maternity leave, and will be the first to defend them.