An anonymous professor at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga is offering bonus points and a free absence to the student who can help him get blocked on Twitter by President Trump.
The assignment, which gained public attention after one of the professor’s students tweeted about it, should be rethought or retracted immediately.
By telling his students “I’ll post them from my Twitter account,” the professor tacitly endorses plagiarism. If he were going to credit the winning tweet, he would let the student send out the tweet from the student’s account. He wouldn’t tolerate an obvious flouting of intellectual property if it occurred in his class, so why would he suggest it?
This whole charade is opportunism and grandstanding. The professor has a clear anti-Trump bias, so why would he even care to get blocked by a person he clearly doesn’t respect? After Twitter’s bot purge earlier this week, why would he reduce his account to trolling?
Colleges are are supposed to encourage dialogue and expression, not stifle them. If one of his students were to get a rare chance to engage the president, why would they squander it in hopes of getting blocked?
Given Trump’s penchant for beefing with his critics, a block from Trump isn’t exactly a rarity. In fact, the professor should give bonus points to the student who successfully engages Trump, who is acutely attuned to his critics.
Twitter has enough trolls and spam accounts. We hardly need someone from academia wading in those waters.