Mike Adams

The difficult part will be applying this policy retroactively. In order to be completely fair, I will have to go back and adjust the grades of everyone who has presented me with a life difficulty claim over the last 23 semesters. I have provided a few examples of the cases I can recall, hoping that the enumeration of these cases will give you an idea of the kinds of benefits to which you might be entitled.

  • In 1993, one of my students experienced the death of two of his maternal grandmothers within the course of a month. Accordingly, students will be given one letter grade for each family death, whether it occurs in the nuclear or extended family.
  • In 1996, a student asked to be exempt from the class attendance policy because her recent absences were caused by the unexpected outbreak of a venereal disease. Accordingly, students with herpes, gonorrhea, crabs, AIDS, or syphilis will be given one letter grade for each STD contracted during the semester.
  • In 1999, a student missed a month of class after getting pregnant and then having an abortion between the second and third exam. She wanted special consideration because the ?father? of the child had not been sufficiently supportive. Accordingly, students getting pregnant out of wedlock will be given one letter grade for each unexpected pregnancy. An additional letter grade will be given for actually aborting the unborn child.
  • In 2001, a black student told me that she needed to spend time at the African American Center every day in order to ?get the support she needs to make it through the day.? Not wanting to be accused of racism, I declined to suggest that she spend the time in the library studying to improve her grades. In the future, students will be awarded one letter grade for taking classes while being black.
  • In 2002, a lesbian student came by the office to let me know that, after a rough semester, she was switching back to heterosexuality. Being gay or lesbian on a college campus is tough enough to earn a one letter grade adjustment. Being unsure of your sexual orientation (or your gender) will earn you a two letter grade bonus.

Students reading the above cases should not be led to believe that they have read an exhaustive list. As a conservative white male protestant heterosexual, I am careful not to impose my own reality upon those who do not share my privilege. Thus, you may feel free to argue other circumstances I have not have previously considered. As always, the focus should be upon your feelings.

As controversial as it may seem, my new life difficulty grading scale will help us to achieve a goal that should make all of us feel comfortable. That goal is nothing less than the destruction of the antiquated notion that people should work to overcome life?s difficulties with no advanced guarantee of the outcome they desire.

Some will call my new system revolutionary. Others will call it an extension of affirmative action.


Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.