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I had a  brain injury when i was two days old and have been disabled my whole life. And what a fun life it's been. The latest installment is the ongoing saga of my doctoral mis-education.

I started my doctorate in 2007. A year in the old south was enough so I came up to CUNY. CUNY, like most modern educational establishments, likes tuition and despises students. When I came on, having learned from Dixie, I told everyone under the sun that I had a disability and will need accommodations. No worries. Everything would be sparkly. Come! Bring cash!

So I did. I was 30 years old. As the years ticked away, it became progressively less rewarding to educate me. Whereas early on I got A's, the prospect of actual work soured the faculty on me. A Ph.D. is supposed to be about being mentored but in America, where every human interaction is measured out by the thimble and analyzed for maximum self-benefit, this is not an option. Efficiency is the name of the game, along with conformity. Thinking, accommodating, taking responsibility for one's behavior, giving due consideration to other persons- none of that is efficient. Better to be a good robot.

Accommodations? Forget about it. So after five years of my making progressively louder noises, I was asked to obtain a neurological evaluation. The hope, I suppose, was that I would be unable to get one. That'd be the best outcome really. Student services could shake their heads ever so sadly, sigh a deep sigh and say "I wish I could help you, but unfortunately there is nothing I can do." Too bad, so sad, check please.

But instead, and here's the sucky part, I got the neuro papers. Which led to a super-fun conference. Excerpt:

"Have you published anything?"
"Sure."
"You know, there is a lot of crap out there."

So the letters began. Passive aggressively polite letters seeking accommodations, which duly went ignored. Then someone had the bright idea of dragging one of my papers out of storage (it's been sitting around for a month or so) and failing me on it. This task was carried out among much internal email kibitizing (FOIA is great when taken seriously) dedicated to discussing how to get rid of me in a way that would avoid a lawsuit. Because any serious academic endeavor must begin by girding your loins.

All of which leads us tomorrow to a hearing. I appealed the decision in November, but no hurry. Who knows, I might die before we get around to it, and regrettable as that would be, wouldn't it just be easier?

The reason academia is about to perish (I give this system 15 years, max) is because there is no reason to pay someone four thousand dollars to teach you what you can learn online for three hundred dollars; their contempt for you just doesn't make up the difference.  

Originally posted to Guangho on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:55 PM PDT.

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