THIS SORT OF THING DIDN’T USED TO HAPPEN AT TENNESSEE: Tennessee Student Accused of Sexual Harassment Because He Wrote Instructor’s Name Wrong: Student had no idea ‘Sarah Jackson’ was a pornographic model.
A University of Tennessee student committed sexual harassment, according to his professor, because he wrote his lab instructor’s name incorrectly: he inadvertently wrote the name of a pornographic model instead.
As punishment, the student received a grade of zero on an assignment.
But the student, Keaton Wahlbon, says the mistake was just that: a mistake. He had never even heard of the model in question—he had simply chosen a name at random.
Confused? Let me explain. Wahlbon is enrolled in Professor Bill Deane’s earth science class. Recently, Deane gave the class a quiz, and one of the questions was, “What is your lab instructor’s name? (if you don’t remember, make something good up).” The lab instructor is a kind of teaching assistant, and indeed, Wahlbon couldn’t remember her name. So he wrote in “Sarah Jackson.”
“I picked a random generic name,” said Wahlbon in an interview with Reason.
But “Sarah Jackson” is apparently the name of a pornographic model. When Wahlbon got the quiz back, his answer was marked “inappropriate” and he had received a grade of zero.
“I had no idea it was the name of a nude model,” said Wahlbon.
Wahlbon emailed Deane, asking him to reverse the instructor’s decision. In his email, Wahlbon raised some very good points: specifically, that “Sarah Jackson” is a very common name, and the top Google search results for the name weren’t even inappropriate. (As a reminder, the question had even supplied the clearly-misleading instruction: “make something good up.”)
I’m hoping this will turn out to be some sort of mistaken report.