Students who took Lauren Duca’s NYU journalism course over the summer filed a complaint against the prominent feminist and journalist for acting unprofesionally, as reported by BuzzFeed News.
The complaint alleges that during the six-week course offered by NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute called “The Feminist Journalist,” Duca took breaks to meditate, talked extensively about her personal life, had no clear course objective and bullied one exchange student because she did not speak English well. Even before the class started, Duca — known for calling conservative Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson “a sexist pig” in 2016 — was criticized for her syllabus, which was tweeted out. Much of the criticism came about the fact that tweeting would be worth 20% of students’ grades.
According to the five students who spoke to BuzzFeed News, Duca didn’t stick to the syllabus regardless. This was one of many complaints of the mix of high school and college students.
“There was a consistent lack of professionalism that persisted throughout every aspect of the course,” the complaint reads, according to BuzzFeed News. “We are disappointed at the department and NYU as an institution for hiring a professor without a syllabus and classroom management skills. We are disappointed at the department and NYU for hiring a professor without a clear course objective.”
More serious, however, was Duca’s alleged behavior against an exchange student who took the course and spoke English as a second language. According to BuzzFeed News, Duca would snap at the individual more than others, did not accept some of her assignments and criticized her work to the point where she cried.
Duca did not respond to WSN’s request for comment by time of publication. In the BuzzFeed article, her response to the complaint was:
“I created a dynamic, experimental, ever-evolving course structure that pulled from my syllabus, added things in based on our conversation and allowed each of them to individually craft their pieces, and I watched the pieces evolve over the course of the semester. I think that they, on some level, internalized some of the objectives, whether they know that explicitly or not.”
In a statement to WSN, Journalism Institute Director Ted Conover said he received the complaint late last week and reached out to the student who sent it — the only one he has directly heard from regarding the class.
“The quality of the classroom experience is something we take very seriously, and we place a high priority on ensuring that instruction given in our classes helps prepare students for their careers,” Conover said. “[I] am eager to understand more about the problems [the student] has cited.”
Conover said the institute has not taken action as of yet, but said “if there were problems, we don’t want our students experiencing them again.”
Email Victor Porcelli at [email protected].