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Sara Ackerman Emails: “An Open Letter to John Sexton regarding Professor Caitlin Zaloom”

Sara Ackerman Emails: “An Open Letter to John Sexton regarding Professor Caitlin Zaloom”

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Published by Zoë Schlanger

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Published by: Zoë Schlanger on Jan 05, 2012
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 Sara Ackerman Emails: “An Open Letter to John Sexton regardingProfessor Caitlin Zaloom”
From:
Sara E Ackerman <sea271@nyu.edu>
Date:
January 4, 2012 3:17:57 AM EST
To:
"Undergraduate students minoring, majoring or interested in SCA" <fas-sca-ug-students@lists.nyu.edu>
Cc:
"Undergraduate students minoring, majoring or interested in SCA" <fas-sca-ug-students@lists.nyu.edu>
Subject:
 
An Open Letter to John Sexton regarding Professor Caitlin ZaloomReply-To:
Sara E Ackerman <sea271@nyu.edu>Dear President Sexton,Tonight, I showed up to Bobst Library at around 6:30 pm in a last-ditch effort toconvince you to deal with Professor Zaloom via forcing her to resign, or firing her, andinstead of coming to meet with me----I admit, I came unannounced, but you seem tohave made yourself scarce these last few months, and I deemed the situation urgent---Joanna from the Mental Health exchange called me.I had told Sergeant Weitzman---the NYU officer who filled out my report, and the manwhom I asked to help to get me in touch with you---that if NYU tried to pull 'the mentalhealth card' again, I would go very public.
I would like to remind you that since Professor Zaloom alleged that I 'threatenedher safety'
(all by emailing her, challenging her in class, and meeting with her duringoffice hours---how dangerous!!!) (note: I am 5'1 and 105 pounds),
and she ordered aPNG to be put on my head a few weeks ago,
(by the way, I have confirmedeyewitness reports from certain SCA administrators that people begged Zaloom not tofile the security report, as it was right before finals, and I had never threatened her but she did it anyway),
I was immediately cleared by a social worker at the NYUWellness Exchange after I was evaluated.
 
I have the social worker's card, and sherecommended that I call her if NYU ever tries to pull that again.
Furthermore, I have no history of mental health issues, I have never been written up by an NYU security guard, I have no criminal record, I have an above average GPA,impressive extracurricular activities, an amazing resume with great recommendations/references, 3 post-graduation job offers, and I have sustained wonderful relationships with many of my previous employers, and NYU professors, over the years.
Alas, it seems you still are not taking me seriously.
 
This is unfortunate.
Now, here is a very open, and very public letter to you, regarding what has beengoing on since October.
***To those of you who are new to the situation***:
----Feel free to disregard this email, or feel free to read on if you'd like to formulateyour own opinion about the unappealing underbelly of NYU bureaucracy.-----
****Luckily, Professor Caitlin Zaloom's misconduct/unethical behavior can be easilymapped out, and organized in list form...
Oh wait, one other thing:
For starters, here is
 Associate
Professor Caitlin Zaloom's ratemyprofessors page: http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=960217Here is her husband, Professor Eric Klinenberg:http://as.nyu.edu/object/ericklinenberg.html~~~~~
Now, here is that list, in no particular order 
~~~~~~:1.
Professor Caitlin Zaloom forced myself, and my classmates to doan ethnographic assignment on Occupy Wall Street a few months ago.
*No alternatives were offered,
and we were instructed to interview only those peoplewho were participating in the OWS movement-- that means anyone, including criminals,drug addicts, mentally ill people, and of course, the few competent, mentally stablepeople that stationed themselves at Zuccotti Park(**
note: I did not meet any of the supposedly mentally sound, non-delusional  people at Zucotti Park. All of the interviews that I conducted are on video, and clearly show that each person I interviewed---and believe me, for my own safety, I tried to interview the most seemingly normal people there---was either mentally disturbed or dangerous, scary or masked, or misogynistic and rude. I was cat- called at, gawked at, ogled, and called derogatory names.)
2.
Before I actually went to OWS, I begged Professor Zaloom for an alternative,via her private office hours, in-class requests (by raising my hand, and makingthese requests in a polite, respectful, and productive way), and emails to her NYUemail account.
 
*I have all of these emails printed out. I have also forwarded them to every member of my family, friends that I trust, and other 'people'.Professor Zaloom ignored many of my emails, or just told me that I have to do theassignment no matter what.
In one particularly notable email, Professor Zaloom told me that my personal stance onOWS was making 'conceptual progress in the class difficult to sustain.'  
The way I interpret this statement is that Professor Zaloom asked me to stop expressingmy views in class--
by the way
,
according to the American Constitution, and manyacademic policies, this is both my legal and academic right
,
but whatever, I guessthat doesn't matter when you're Caitlin Zaloom
---because she realized I was right, or because she could not argue with me without recognizing that the assignment wascompletely illegitimate and a farce?If you have any thoughts on this, please feel free to reach out! 
ismy mobile phone number and it will be on all night, as I will be waiting up until 9 am rollsaround...3.
Although it went against my core values, moral beliefs, and also made me feelunsafe, I ultimately did go to Occupy Wall Street with my class group-----two other young girls, who are quite attractive and thin, and don't look particularlyphysically fit enough to take on a potential predator, rapist, paranoidschizophrenic, etc.----just to see if I was being as melodramatic as Professor Zaloom made me feel I was.***I won't go into detail here, but let me just tell you that if anything, I hadpreviously underestimated how awful Occupy Wall Street was, and I left the parkfeeling as though I had escaped an extremely dangerous---and even, life-threatening---situation.***
4.
After sending various emails to Professor Zaloom's account, in which Iexpressed my discomfort with the assignment for legal, academic, ethical, moral,and safety reasons, and also mentioned these things in class, she finally agreedto meet with me one last time.
During this meeting, I offered to do an alternative in one of two ways:
a. I offered to do a different ethnography, on any topic Professor Zaloom finds to beparticularly compelling.b. I offered to write an essay on Occupy Wall Street, but not an ethnography, as I hadno interest in going to, and was also genuinely afraid to go to, Occupy Wall Street.
Not only did Professor Zaloom refuse to give me an alternative, but she

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