Unfair grading practices at WKU

[email protected]

Following is a copy of a letter I sent to Dr. Howard Bailey on May 11, 2004.

Dear Dr. Bailey:

I am sorry, but I am very upset at the moment. Please don’t tell me this is a privacy

issue because I have my son’s permission to deal with this problem, and trust me,

this is a BIG problem. I also pay his tuition so I have a vested interest in WKU’s


I need to know the procedure for appealing an unfair grade given to my son, Jeffrey

Tetreault, for Spring 2004 in Poetry Writing.

Jeff was only absent twice, out of an allowed six absences, from his poetry class

with Dr. Thomas Hunley this last term. He completed all the assignments for the

course and the lowest grade he received in the class the entire semester was a

B-. His final grade, which was posted after everyone else in the class received

a grade, was an F. Yes, an F!!! I would like for someone to explain how Bs can be

turned into Fs to me, please. Is this a way WKU makes money by flunking students

and making them retake the courses? Inquiring minds want to know.

My son tells me he may have received the F because another professor he did not

know complained about a poem he read at a coffee house. That poem received a B+

from Dr. Hunley and I understand that you met with Jeff about the coffee house reading

and put it in Jeff’s permanent file. My son read two poems at this reading, Good-Looking

Midget and Fat Stripper. He is nothing more than the Diane Arbus of poetry. As you

may or may not be aware, Arbus was considered a genius for photographing midgets,

giants, fat people, mentally retarded people, and more. As a writer and published

author myself, I did not see anything wrong with either of Jeff’s poems beyond the

fact that some people may think he is being insensitive or politically incorrect.

I did not think Good-Looking Midget was his best work, but tthe Fat Stripper was

an inspired piece of work using food analogies to describe the woman. He even made

sure to glaze her in sweat like a Krispy Kreme doughnut would be glazed with sugar.

The last line was very good, I thought, “Glazed in sweat she spins around the

pole like the last rotisserie nobody wants.” Never mind that a woman read a

poem at this same reading where she simulated orgasm onstage and did not receive

an F. Is that because men don’t take offense to such things? Never mind that another

male student read a poem in which every other word was the F word, and he did not

receive an F.

I am really frustrated with WKU’s close-mindedness. I am sending copies of this

letter to Jeff, his father, Dr. Gene Tice, Dr. Hunley, and to Michael Cass who is

the higher-education reporter and Ellen Margulies who is the education team leader

at The Tennessean in Nashville (where I work as an editor). I don’t expect that

The Tennessean will write about my son because I work there, but this is not the

first time this has happened and I think the media needs to be aware of it. I also

plan to alert the student newspaper at WKU and the Bowling Green paper.

Please call me immediately concerning this matter because we will be appealing this

grade. Please do not call me before 9 a.m. because I work nights and am not in

a very good mood until I have my morning coffee.

Thank you for your prompt reply.

Eileen Sisk

Title: Author and Irate Mother

P.O. Box 22177

Nashville, TN 37202

Home: 615/441-6001

Cell phone: 615/496-8061

Work: 615/726-8901