Professor Irwin Horowitz at Texas A&M at Galveston just went ahead and failed his entire Strategic Management Class, citing the entire classroom’s behavior as reasoning. In a lengthy email sent to the class, Irwin claimed that “until now, I have never in my capacity as an academic ever encountered a class as completely disgraceful and disrespectful as this. Not even close.”
Surprisingly, and thankfully for those students, Texas A&M is not backing up Professor Irwin.
The full email has been copied here:
I have been a professor in university settings for over 20 years now. I have been taught managerial strategy by Michael Porter himself at Harvard many years ago, and have taught the course and published in tangential areas for my entire career. I have taught this class at many academic institutions, undergrad, graduate, nationally and internationally. This includes addressing the entire body of students and faculty at Annapolis’ Foreign Affairs Conference on C3I research, the University of Maryland (where I taught U.S. Navy maritime undergraduate students from the 7th Fleet in Yokosuka Naval Base in this exact course in Business Strategy), University of Minnesota, University of Texas School of Public Health, Baylor College of Medicine, the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery. Additionally, I served as Executive Directorship and Interim Chair of Business Ethics at the University of St. Thomas to assist them successfully attain AACSB accreditation–which institution that was (and is) run by an ex-General under which the West Point Honor Code was used, and is the same as your own; so it is a code of honor that I am intamitely familiar. All that said, until now, I have never in my capacity as an academic ever encountered a class as completely disgraceful and disrespectful as this. Not even close.
Briefly, but not a complete set of examples, since teaching this course, I have seen cheating, been told by students to “chill out,” “get out of my space,” “go back and teach” refuse to leave the room after being told to do so following inappropriate conduct, called a “fucking moron” several times by a student to my face, had gone through numerous student hearings, had to change exams because students were using the testing center to take photos of make-up exams and share with their friends, have had students subsequently cheat by signing in for another, students not showing up but claiming they did, listened to many hurtful and untrue rumors about myself, my wife and other colleagues in MARA, been caught between fights between students and student groups, felt the need to have police protection in our class and another following it, had grades given with the most careful of analysis first attempted to be rebuked to Dr. Mileski, and when turned down, to Dr. Louchouarn.
Many of you were very proud to flash those new Aggie rings upon reaching the graduation stage. However, Texas A&M holds students to a very high Honor Code. It is the very backbone and represents the principles that bond Aggies for a lifetime and make your degree so special. Unfortunately, I have seen no such “honor” in my class. Just the opposite. Backstabbing, game playing, cheating, lying, fighting. In my 20 years of teaching I have never seen nor taught a class with less honor than this. This class is an embarrassment in general, and fully out of line with the Honor Code purported by Texas A&M. The work in the class has been sub-par, and students set to graduate cannot even demonstrate the competence of being able to figure out how many apples are needed to break-even from a driveway operation. I have given a surprise quiz in class, and no one passed, not one, due to a lack of study. When asked, it is clear that no one has read the assigned readings as required. The stress from this class has further damaged my back injury to the point of needing to begin regular therapy again.
None of you, in my opinion, given the behavior in this class deserve to pass, or graduate to become an “Aggie” as you do not in any way embody the honor that the University holds graduates should have within their personal character. It is thus for these reasons why I am officially walking away from this course. I am frankly and completely disgusted. You all lack the honor and maturity to live up to the standards that Texas A&M holds, and the competence and/or desire to do the quality work necessary to pass the course just on a grade level. I am still receiving emails for me to allocate my time to “help” as there are many who have realized that with a week left they may not receive a passing grade on class merit. Therefore, I refuse to take any more abuse from this class whatsoever. It is my professional opinion based on experience that there is no one in this course that deserves to pass. This is most unfortunate because I prided my entire career in seeing how my students went on to succeed, and help them along the way, as my own legacy as a teacher–far beyond any publications or academic honors that to me were always secondary to my students.
For the above reasons I will no longer be teaching the course, and all are being awarded a failing grade. I’m sure many of you will line up to appeal, and claim the above “unjust” “unfair” and the other such terms in your victim lexicons, just as you do when you receive grades you do not like (“didn’t deserve.”) And from what I’ve seen, the school pays but lip service to their honor code, so it’s likely many of you will attempt such appeals. I don’t care as I am completely removing myself from the circus that you all in tandem made for yourselves. It is beyond my imagination that any single one of you can look back at this class and take pride in your work–it’s all about the instrumentality of receiving your degree not the intrinsic meaning of it as a real measure of esteem and accomplishment; but to that end, I refuse to play a part. This is a complete disgrace to your school, the A&M Honor Code, those honorably holding A&M degrees, to your families who supported you, and ultimately to yourselves.