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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Unfit for teaching position

Published: March 9, 2012
Section: Editorials

Pippin Ross was never fit to take a teaching position at Brandeis.

Four DUIs and chronic alcoholism were just the start. Ross escaped from jail and broke a friend out of jail in her past. And how does anyone know? She wrote about it on a blog, easily available from a quick Google search.

No one took the time to ask basic questions. Who was this new hire? What was her history?

Now, students in Writing for Broadcast Journalism have lost a professor and any semblance of a cohesive curriculum. We call on administrators to consider refunding the tuition these students paid for a class that no longer represents the fundamental Brandeis commitment to excellence.

While Maura Farrelly (JOUR), who will assume the class’ teaching responsibilities, will be an apt replacement, this does not erase the first half of the semester, during which an unfit teacher ran this sham of a class. Students reported that Ross, before her arrest and subsequent firing, was an unreliable teacher with extremely unorthodox teaching methods.

This was to the students’ detriment and they should not be forced to pay for this disgrace. The university failed them and needs to own up to that.

The university failed all its students when it hired a professor who clearly had no place in a classroom. Had the university spent even a few moments Googling Ross, they would have discovered her long list of past felonies.

Not only did the school hire a woman who had a past run-in with law enforcement, they hired a woman who had a long rap sheet with serious offenses. Ross did not just break the law; she displayed a clear disregard for the law and those who serve to enforce it. Ross is writing a book bragging about these escapades.

Brandeis seriously needs to reconsider its hiring practices when it allows such a clearly unacceptable teaching candidate past the resume-submission phase, let alone lets her become a professor at our university.