Sunday, October 16, 2011

Character assassination: Professor Defends Treatment of Stutterer

Calling herself “the victim of a character assassination,” the college professor who asked a student with a severe stutter not to pose questions in class said that her actions were misinterpreted, and that she did not mean to silence him. 

In an interview, the professor, Elizabeth Snyder, said Thursday that since the dispute was first reported this week in The New York Times, “I’ve gotten the most hateful, vile, vicious e-mails,” making her fear for her safety. 

The student, Philip Garber Jr., is a 10th grader taking courses at the County College of Morris, in Randolph, N.J., but talking for him is slow and difficult. He was enrolled in a history course taught by Ms. Snyder, an adjunct professor. After a few classes, she sent him an e-mail asking that he pose questions after class, “so we do not infringe on other students’ time,” and that he write answers to her questions rather than try to reply out loud.


  1. Just wondering what your intent was in posting this...

  2. Raffi: Probably to point out that media stories often are slander.

  3. Rabbi E. is a student of the human condition and his posts reflect that keen interest. Is there a problem with him doing so?

  4. This professor was probably uncomfortable watching the boy struggle, and she may have thought she was doing him a favor. Apparently, he was offended. The question is, what should she have done? It really isn't so simple. How many of you have been in a shiur and had that person who always asked annoying questions, too many questions, or took every opportunity to share their opinion? If this child who stutters, also likes to participate a lot, it could be time consuming. Personally, I think it is an opportunity for the whole class to learn patience, on one hand, but also requires the professor to incorporate some boundaries. She could limit all questions to the end of class so as to allow those students without patience, a chance to leave.


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