Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dear Armen

An anonymous 1L writes:
Dear Armen,

I am a 1L at Boalt. Recently my mod has started talking about all chipping in money to purchase gifts for our professors, ASP tutors, and LRW TAs (About $5 per mod member, total).

The pro-gift folks claim it is a tradition (how did they find this out?).

The anti-gift folks say it is odd, and potentially a boundary issue.

Who is right? Did your mod do this? Do most people do this? Will our professors and fellow students think we are douchesbags?


To Give Or Not To Give
Easy. Bunch of douchbags. I'm not so sure about the boundary issue, but it's just ass kissing to the extreme that's more common maybe at Haas. Over there it's customary to give 15-20% of your student fees for services rendered. If you want to give them something, go to their office hours and thank them for the time they are putting in on your behalf. It is not a tradition that I am aware of, and if some mods did buy gifts last year, they shouldn't have. It's tacky. Let firms do the gifting.

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Blogger Disco Stu said...

Au contraire, Armen mon frere. Disco Stu's mod gave a gift to our mod-professor and more deserving this professor could not have been.

He/She was amazing and I feel that it was a most unanimous decision amongst my mod-mates.

That said, it's not a tradition. If you don't like your professor or don't feel he/she is worthy of a gift, you should not feel obligated to get them anything. If you like them, by all means let them know it in any way you see fit.

As for the TAs, ASP tutors and others, I'm sure Tom Fletcher will disagree, but they must reach a must higher standard to be gift-worthy - although perhaps some have reached that threshold.

11/22/2005 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Caliboy said...

I don't think it's ass-kissing if it's from the mod, and especially if everyone is involved in chipping in. We still have blind grading, and the prof still has to give the same number HH's, H's, and P's.

Our mod bought a small gift last year and donated a little money to one of the prof's favorite charities. Everyone chipped in $1.50.

11/22/2005 8:59 AM  
Blogger Mad.J.D. said...

I agree with Stu here. My mod bought gifts for a few profs last year, and I can say for sure that at least one of them was very touched. It does take someone in the mod with enough organization and initiative to collect the money and make the purchase, but all mods probably have one such person. So...technically not a tradition, but a nice idea. What's five dollars to you when compared with something that may make a nice difference in someone's life who made a difference in yours?

11/22/2005 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's a mistake. This became a big issue in my mod last year, because not everyone wanted to do it. On top of that, the gift-givers wanted to do it for two professors, but not the others. So it just became a big mess.

Maybe a thank you note signed by the whole mod would be appropriate, but why put people in the uncomfortable position of having to decide whether or not to chip in money, when they many not want to, or not be able to?

11/22/2005 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gifts to professors are a great idea, if you can think of something fun/relevant/amusing to give them!

11/22/2005 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm with armen on this one. it's tacky and reeks of ass kissing.

11/22/2005 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gifts = tacky tacky tacky. and unnecessary. and awkward. i think signing a card for your LRW TAs and/or ASP tutor is nice, and maybe for your mod prof. but your big section profs???

11/23/2005 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Caliboy said...

Did my comment get black-listed? Mods really do give gifts!

11/25/2005 12:12 AM  
Blogger Lex Fori said...

I'm an '05 grad. We never, ever did any shit like that. The closest we came was a bottle of wine when our small-group professor invited us for dinner.

My feeling is - if there is no outside personal interaction - you have already paid for your in-class Good Times. Paid big.

11/25/2005 9:40 AM  
Blogger Lex Fori said...

Definitely not a tradition.

I am an '05 grad, and the closest we came was getting our small group professor some flowers when she invited us over for dinner.

Other than that, you are already paying an arm and a leg for the time you spend with your professors. There is no need to take out another cittiassist because bullshit-gifting sank you.

The finals are anonymous. Print out a card and write something nice.

11/28/2005 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The professors should be buying US gifts, for sitting through their lectures all semester and paying their salary.

12/13/2005 2:52 PM  

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