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No Tolerance Policy

Texting and cell phone use keeps you from learning, so it is rude to your parents but also rude to the taxpayers. You and your parents pay for only a portion of your education, even if you are not on financial aid. At this institution, taxpayers pay for more than 80% of your education, and — understandably — they do not want to be cheated.

Cell phone and computer use is also unforgivably rude to those who attend class with you. Texting, talking, buzzing, and talking all distract the teacher and annoy your fellow students.

Therefore, I cannot allow you to use of cell phones, laptops, and other electronic devices in class. It may be a great sacrifice, but creative writing is about creating fictions. For the 75 minutes you are in class every day, pretend you were born during the era when people spoke to each other in person, spent hours reading without clicking on anything, and only sent letters through the U.S. mail. Those people had an advantage of you; they weren't smarter, but they could listen longer and concentrate better. They could give themselves over more easily to the magic of language.

  • Laptops. Due to frequent abuse of laptops, I must forbid their use unless you have a documented disability that requires the use of a laptop. This policy also applies to blackberries and other handheld devices.
  • Cell phones: Please turn them all the way off. Do not place them on your desk as if you are expecting a message at any moment or are prepared to race out of the room with them in case of a fire. Do not set them on "vibrate" or "silent." Turn them off.
  • Few students would be so rude as to send text messages in class. Such students are so insensitive that they only respond to overt public humiliation. Keep that in mind.
  • MP3 players, Ipods, and other gadgets: Don't be ridiculous! I can't think of anything more rude than sitting in a class with your headphones on.
  • Penalties for the abuse of my policy:
    • If I see that your phone is on, even if it is set on vibrate or silent mode, I will ask you to turn it off. The second time that happens, I will ask you to leave.
    • I will warn the first student whose cell phone rings in class. Subsequent abuses by any student will result in an absence.
    • If I see you texting in class, I will ask you to leave and will mark you absent.
    • For second abuses of my laptop, cell phone, or headphone policy, I will give you the choice of withdrawing from the course or failing it.
  • This penalty also applies when you are attending any other event, such as a play or lecture, that I assigned as part of this course.
 
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