News About Non News

At this point, I’m absolutely over the phrase “Having It All.” It’s been beaten to death, taken out of context, used as link bait, etc… and I’m over it. I’m mostly over it because it’s a convoluted concept. Having it all doesn’t have one universal definition, and it is something we only lord over the heads of women. It’s problematic on many levels, yet that doesn’t stop folks from hammering the point over and over and over again. And because the concept of  having it all is so entrenched in our society, when an accomplished professor (of a feminist anthropology course, no less) ends up bringing her sick baby to the first day of class, and at one point nurses her, it becomes fodder for an investigative story.

That’s what happened to Adrienne Pine, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at American University. Pine’s young daughter woke up with a fever, unable to attend daycare. It was the first day of her “Sex, Gender and Culture” class, and the professor did not want to cancel or saddle her TA with the responsibility of overseeing the first class.

But desperately weighing the situation, it seemed that I had little choice. I could not bring her to daycare with a fever, and I did not feel like it was an option to cancel class.

The class went as smoothly as possible according to Pine:

I sped through the lecture and syllabus review with Lee, dressed in her comfiest blue onesie, alternately strapped to my back and crawling on the floor by my feet. The flow of my lecture was interrupted once by “Professor, your son has a paper-clip in his mouth” (I promptly extracted it without correcting my students’ gendered assumptions) and again when she crawled a little too close to an electrical outlet. Although I specifically instructed my teaching assistant, Laura, that helping me with my child was outside her job description, she insisted on holding and rocking Lee, allowing me to finish class without any major disruptions. When Lee grew restless, I briefly fed her without stopping lecture, and much to my relief, she fell asleep.

And that should have been that. Was it the most ideal situation for a first day of class? No. Did Professor Pine handle it to the best of her ability? I think so. In her piece at Counterpunch, Pine makes it clear that her role as a mother does not define her, so she found a way – in this particular instance – to do her best to ensure that was does define her: “anthropologist, writer, professor, and solidarity worker” stayed on track. It should have ended there.

However, Pine quickly found herself being hounded by student Heather Mongilio, a writer for American University’s official student newspaper, the Eagle, who felt that there was a story here. And maybe there was a story about bring a sick kid to work as a single parent – I could possibly see that, especially if it dug further and looked at the realities most families face when it comes to things like paid sick leave, etc… But no, that was not the case. Apparently, budding journalist Mongilio felt that the real story was that Professor Pine breastfed her daughter in front of her feminist anthropology class.

Pine did her best to make it clear that she didn’t think there was any story here. Yet, Mongilio persisted, bringing an agenda to the questions she thrusted upon Pine.

Heather continued hounding me, as my voice became increasingly hoarse and pained. I, unfortunately, was in professor mode, too polite to tell her to go to hell. So when she asked me “do I consider the classroom a private or public space,” presumably trying to bust me for doing something “private” somewhere public, I told her it was both. AU is so expensive and exclusionary, in addition to formally being a private university, that the classroom could be argued to be private; however, the ideal of the University is to be a forum where ideas can be exchanged and debated publicly, and I hoped my classroom corresponded to that model of open inquiry. But, I added, coughing, “whether it is private or public has no bearing on whether I would choose to feed a hungry child.”

“When the incident occurred…” she began.

“I didn’t think of it as an ‘incident’,” I responded, with what I’d hoped would be visible annoyance. “But obviously one of my students told you, so I guess you think it was.”

She continued, “When the incident occurred, were you worried about what your students would think? Did they seem uncomfortable, did they say anything?”

I slapped my palm on my forehead in frustration. What I wanted to say was “Who cares? Do university students really need to be so mollycoddled that they should not see something I do on public transportation nearly every day?” But I believe my answer was more along the lines of “I’m the professor. I’m in a position of authority in the classroom. How likely is it that they will out themselves as being afraid of a partially-exposed breast on the first day of a course on feminist anthropology?”

Pine ended up emailing Mongilio after their encounter, requesting she not publish the story, which is completely understandable. Since really, there was no story. There was a professor, who also happened to be a mother, in a sticky situation making the best of it.  Had Pine bottle fed her baby, there would have been no eager student pestering Pine with her barrage of questions. Eventually the editors of the Eagle stepped in and decided they would run the story, despite Pine’s continuous requests to the contrary.

And this is what it comes down to. How can we even begin to discuss the concept of having it all when a non story becomes investigative journalism? Why focus on the one non-issue in the entire event? Because somebody might have been uncomfortable with a grown woman discreetly nursing her baby? Sorry, I don’t buy it. And the more we focus on stories like this, the more we miss the larger picture. Making it into a breastfeeding “expose” for all intents and purposes only furthers the forced debate of whether a professional woman can have it all. It slices Professor Pine into a sum of her parts rather than looking at her as a whole. While it saddens me that this was a story worth reporting in the first place, I applaud Professor Pine for speaking her mind about it, and not allowing this non-newsowrthy event that turned into a story to publish without comment.


59 thoughts on “News About Non News

    • she didn’t tell her to go to hell, she refrained from it if you read it again. ‘I unfortunately, was in professor mode, too polite to tell her to go to hell’.

  1. The Feminist Breeder posted this and I wanted to read the story because more times than I can remember I have and my friends have had to handle the dilemma of working with a child becuase daycare wasnt an option.

    My husband has never had to breastfeed while working so I do indeed see this as a feminist issue.

    In fact, my husband’s work has been awesome about understanding family comes before work and they held off his first day of accepting his job so he could be my birth partner. I wish that were the case for my own experiences and the many other parents. Even more, I wish breastfeeding was finally seen as a WONDERFUL way to feed your child, promote health, and prep our children for the world by allowing them to experience pure nurturing. Thanks for highlighting the non-news

    • As a professor, parent, and AU alumn, I have to say I see no problem with this. It didn’t say the baby was contagious, and “speeding through the syllabus” is no big deal. College students should know how to read a syllabus and the first day is usually just “here’s the course material, here are some of the basics.” Additionally, I’ve had adult parents try to contact me in regards to their adult children and I think that just creates a culture of delayed-adulthood that is more anti-responsibility than anti-feminism. If the students were concerned, of course they should have said something: that is their right. But it’s not the right or responsibility of parents to get involved. I don’t know this professor, but I probably would have been a little shocked at first (as a student) but ultimately who cares? I’d have learned a valuable lesson in life about parenting, responsibility, and getting over the fact that real life is complicated.

  2. If my child went to college and on the first day of class (any class), the teacher brought her sick, contagious baby with her to the classroom, *and* had the temerity to breastfeed the baby right during her lecture, there is little doubt I would be on the phone with the dean to complain as soon as I heard about it. It’s a shame how much self-proclaimed “feminists” set us back when they take this teacher’s side on issues like this, just as the thoughtless venom with which this comment will surely be met does.

    Face it, this professor was faced with a very difficult situation that most working moms have faced at some point in their lives, and she made the clearly wrong choice. Several, in fact. Lord knows, if my husband brought his sick baby into work all day, he would hear about it from someone, and his is not even a job with a room full of healthy people for the baby to infect like a professor is.

    And let’s not even mention how the professor “sped through the syllabus” because she was there with her sick kid. Amazing no one has mentioned that angle among the comments so far. Again, feminism set back 20 years as I read.

    • If a workplace CAN accommodate a baby, why shouldn’t it? Perhaps your husband’s job is not a place for a baby. A lecture hall doesn’t strike me as being a bad place for a baby to be — around other humans who are merely sitting and listening and writing. If my philosophy professor can bring his massive golden retriever to class to drool on everyone’s feet, a baby isn’t a big deal. And babies eat. Also not a big deal.

      Perhaps you should read this article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” in The Atlantic, by Anne-Marie Slaughter. “It’s time to stop fooling ourselves, says a woman who left a position of power: the women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich, or self-employed. If we truly believe in equal opportunity for all women, here’s what has to change.”

      • I so agree with all you have said, vesseleternal, and was nearly jumping out of my chair to say the same to Josie. I worked at an institute as a professor of ESL where the CEO and head instructor was a single mother with a baby and sometimes ended up in this situation despite all her best precautions… None of the students minded –in fact they praised her to me! ( And this was the 80’s!) I also thought of Anne Marie Slaughter. Thank you so for bringing that in! Why would an intelligent female think that this was not relevant to feminist anthropology? Or feminism? Or anthropology? Onward thinking ladies!

    • with all due respect, the story never said the baby was CONTAGIOUS. it just said she was spiking a fever. that could be for any reason at all, even totally-non-contagious teething. I didn’t get the sense that the baby had something dangerous and catching.

      I think it sets feminism back 20 years to think that babies (contagious or not) are incompatible with feminism. I had a great job when my son was born, that allowed me to bring him along when he was an infant. business got done, profits were made, and babies were nursed all at the same time. I could stock shelves nursing, ring the register nursing, smile and help a customer nursing…and yet you think that diminishes Feminism?

      I am curious to know why you think that. I thought it was quite progressive, myself.

      • In the story she says she caught the baby’s cold. Perhaps you view that as my jumping to conclusions but I infer from that that the baby was contagious.

        Btw if this wasn’t clear from my earlier comment, I think bringing a sick baby into work is much more the story than the breastfeeding. I breastfed at my job with my first child so I get that breastfeeding in the workplace is fine and in fact a great option to have. But in this case the breastfeeding definitely makes it worse. There is a big difference imo between me breastfeeding in my office and me breastfeeding while giving a lecture in front of a room full of college kids. I am sorry if you choose not see the distinction, but the distinction exists nonetheless. I guess Meredith Viera should be breastfeeding during the live taping of Millionaire too in front of 20 million viewers? Or Michelle Obama right in the middle of her convention speech? Come on.

        Also, sorry if you choose not to see how this sets back the very feminism that I have fought so hard to foster, but alas that it still does as well in my view. Fighting for workplaces to make accomodations for women to breastfeed is one thing, but doing so right in the middle of teaching a live class (perhaps one other than a class on breastfeeding) just seems like an extension of a wonderful idea to a ridiculous conclusion. And again, taken in the context of a professor who had already brought her sick, contagious child to her classroom full of students is when the breastfeeding piece really starts to stand out to me.

        Also, someone needs to learn the meaning of “helicopter parenting”. Whether the student complained, or the parent who pays the bill for a teacher to come in and infect her students while breastfeeding in front of them because she did not make better contingency childcare plans, is so obviously not the point that it pains me to even have to write that sentence explaining it.

      • Josie inn the story, it was never mentioned that the baby was contagious OR that she caught they babies “cold” The child did not have a cold, she had a fever. There is a big difference between the two! And breastfeeding in front of 20 students would be the same as breastfeeding on the bus home, or at a restaurant. If these kids aren’t adult enough the handle seeing a half exposed boob they probably shouldn’t be in college. For Christs’ sake there are girls and college students who walk around with there boobs up to their chins! Or these students go to college frat parties and see people having sex in a room when they walk by to go to the bathroom, but a professor who is breastfeeding her child; doesn’t even have her nipples showing, gets hounded for being a parent? Seriously? People need to wake up and smell the coffee, not everyone has another option!

    • I see helicopter parents as way more of a ‘set-back’ than feminists. If your adult offspring cannot handle themselves for even their first day of university without having you phone the principal’s office then, wow. There are bigger problems afoot than how and when someone feeds their infant.

    • Wow, Josie, you talk about venom that you’ll receive as a response to your reply, but you’re ignoring the venom you’re spewing all over this. Please, get a hold of yourself and try to see the bigger picture here.

      • “I guess Meredith Viera should be breastfeeding during the live taping of Millionaire too in front of 20 million viewers? Or Michelle Obama right in the middle of her convention speech?”

        um, yeah, if they have babies that are hungry. I think that would be awesome!

        you’re right, I missed that she caught the baby’s cold. fair enough.

        even so – feminism is about (among other things) a woman’s right to move about in this world without limits. so, yes, I absolutely feel like it’s part of my feminism to support nursing moms anywhere and everywhere, and I challenge the assumption that breastfeeding is some sort of essentialist shackle that should limit a woman’s freedom of movement. in my experience (and in the experience of others) it is exactly the opposite.

      • I think I posted this somewhere else, but I hit the wrong button somewhere, so if this is a duplicate, sorry!

        Babies can’t really share their illness with you unless you’re in close contact with them. No surprise that the mother caught the baby’s cold – she’s in way close contact with her!

        I’ll also bet there was more than one not-fully-healthy student in that room. Sick people! They’re EVERYWHERE

    • I absolutely agree with you Josie. I have no problem with women breastfeeding babies in most places but during a lecture is ridiculous. I am a graduate student and TA and believe that during teaching hours as the undergraduate students pay our wages through their extortionate fees they deserve our undivided attention. The lecturer highlights two occasions where students were forced to interrupt the teaching to draw attention to the actions of the child, and through breastfeeding in class it is clear that teaching the students was not the sole focus of the lecturer.

      Undergraduate degrees, particularly in the social sciences involve minimal lecturer-student contact, often only eight-ten hours a week. Considering the thousands of dollars undergraduates pay for that time it is not unreasonable that the students can expect to have the full attention of their lecturer without the added distraction of a baby crawling around eating paperclips. In my (biology) department many staff members bring their children to work when they are unable to find childcare solutions and everyone in the department enjoys having the children around offices and popping in to see different experiments in progress where possible. None of these staff members would dream of taking their children to a lecture theatre when they are required to teach an undergraduate class, particularly if the child is ill and young enough to require breastfeeding. This lecturer should have found someone to watch her child for the time she was expected to teach rather than short-change the students (and their parents) who have paid thousands for her time.

      • Okay, so you think students should have their lecturer’s undivided attention because of the cost of our education, but would your response have been the same if the story were about a man who needed to answer his cellphone in the middle of class because his house had just been robbed? Even if it was during ONE class period on the first day in which very few people do anything other than read the syllabus?

        Be honest with yourself, because I think you know the answer to this one, even if you won’t admit it.

      • I agree with you. A baby is distracting. It was the first class and the professor (ooops, I meant solidarity worker. LOL) had a TA. The TA could have made apologies for the professor, distributed the syllabus and sent the students on their merry way.

      • Mary Bee your response is offensive and presumptive. Please do not ascribe some ill-founded sexism to my opinions where there is none, and I can assure you it’s not that I’m “just not admitting it”. Please. In response to your hypothetical situation no lecturer I know would have their phone on while teaching a class. If they did and it rang in the middle of class while teaching they would not answer it as it is unprofessional, as is bringing a sick infant to class.

    • How “contagious” can a baby be, unless the baby is coughing or sneezing or drooling on you? For crying out loud. FEMINISM IS OVER BECAUSE A BABY THAT WAS NOWHERE NEAR ANY STUDENTS WAS SICK!

      By the way, I’ll bet the room was not full of “healthy people.” Guarantee you there were at least one or two sick students there. It’s LIFE, you know?

    • “If my child went to college…I would be on the phone with the dean”. Really? How about this? You let your adult child call the dean if he/she was offended and voice his or her OWN concerns. I find the fact that you need to do your ADULT child’s complaining for them much more appalling than than a woman doing something protected by law in room full of adults.

    • “Feminism set back 20 years”??? That is ridiculous. Surely, part of being a feminist is embracing the things that make you a woman, that separate you from being man, not just the ways that you’re the same.

    • You obviously have never been in a situation like this or you wouldn’t be so cold as to reply in such a degrading manner. Have some compassion for your fellow mothers, not everyone is so lucky to have a husband to help them out like you do.

  3. This is amazing. I cannot support Dr. Pine enough. We’ll know the world is egalitarian when this is not an issue. I am an academic too and in my institution, it would have gone FAR worse. She is doing great work, in a society that is anti-child and anti-mother.

  4. I see this situation completely differently. There is an important story here. I read the professor’s article and reject her offended attitude. If as women we are not willing to embrace THESE teachable moments, the story of women will continue to be told by others. Her statement that Heather’s questions were \”sophmoric\” was plain arrogant. Was she not a young woman once, too? I\’m sure at one time she was just like us: more influenced by male culture and ignorant of women\’s natural abilities as mothers. She should have praised this young woman for your journalistic balance, curiousity and willingness to teach others in her OWN words–from the very beginning, not when she was defeated into it as women often are. To reject this opportunity speaks volumes to me. Pine seems more willing to read about women\’s history than shape our women\’s future. I understand her desire for privacy but why keep teaching women not to care about something as important as your sick kid? Women need to be willing to embrace controversy like the Sandra Flukes of the world. We should boldly and proudly answer young women\’s questions about everything! Especially since men usually do not even care to ask. We need more openness, not less. But…sometimes it is OK to stay home with your sick kid! That is important too.

    • However, from what we’ve seen in Pine’s post, it doesn’t seem like the student was investigating any of that. The story she was writing *wasn’t* about bringing a sick child to work (which I noted above would perhaps have been a story of merit to investigate), and instead was about a “breastfeeding incident.” There’s no story there other than one the paper seems to have concocted. It is also not Professor Pine’s job to school this young woman, especially if her precious “end of story” comments and unwillingness to be interviewed didn’t clue the student in to the fact that this wasn’t a story worth pursuing. Women need to be “willing to embrace controversy” – yes, but I fail to see the controversial nature to this non-story.

      • Women are not taught to care unless women like Pine approach the topics like breastfeeding or care of sick kids with assuredness and confidence. She sounds like she met the offensive attack with…being offended herself. Even if a breastfeeding “incident” leads to bigger discussions, I think we must accept and acknowledge where society is on this first. Then change it. This is controversial in America and could be a bridge to bigger discussions. Unfortunately it takes controversy, whether real or made up, to create change in our country. There is no such thing as bad press…as they say. Pine may be accostommed to teaching from syllabus only but her life experience is offering a lesson. She should embrace the opportunity, not resent it.

  5. This makes me more sad than angry. That people are really so offended by breastfeeding that they can’t even attend a feminist course at a prestigious university without it becoming an issue. The saddest thing: I am fairly certain if she’d have shown a slide of an African woman breastfeeding, or something like that, there would very likely have been zero uproar. Why is it so “uncivilized” or even “unamerican” to breastfeed a hungry baby? I really just can’t get my brain around this one.

  6. “Pine makes it clear that her role as a mother does not define her, so she found a way…to ensure that was does define her: “anthropologist, writer, professor, and solidarity worker” stayed on track.”

    Not to hijack this into a whole different direction, but this is both sad and baffling to me. Why is it ok for those 4 tasks/activities to define a person, but not the task of motherhood? And more importantly, why do we still think our personhood can or should be defined by a short list of our daily (usually paid) activities?

  7. I’m always baffled by how breastfeeding just seems to push some people’s buttons. People can be funny. I consider myself a lifelong feminist, and becoming a mother only amplified my feminist beliefs (which kind of surprised me a little). Sometimes I feel like certain people would prefer not to acknowledge that “mother” side of me, but it’s always there, it’s part of who I am now. I don’t try and deny it. Even if it makes some people nervous. It makes me sad that the student reporter in question was a female. Perhaps she could’ve written an article about the challenges of working parents; lack of flex time options, high costs of daycare, etc. Anyway, great post! I’m new to your site, but I’ll be back!

  8. Pine made an absolutely wise decision in bringing her child to her lecture and breastfeeding her baby. It was the best option and seemed completely logical. What better place than an anthropology class in a place of learning. An opportunity to open minds. Why separate life from learning? Certainly not controversial, but perhaps worthy of note. Obviously she is dedicated to both her work and her child. Perhaps a good role model. Those students will also need to face the realities of balancing family and work. To me teaching and nurturing go hand in hand.

  9. I believe the Professor chose wrong here. I’d feel the same way if the baby was well. Moms want to believe that they have the right to bring their kids and babies everywhere. That isn’t true. They are YOUR kids – not mine and everyone else’s.

    I’m supposed to sit in class and pay attention to the lecture while a baby is crawling around? No, that isn’t right. “Sped through..” Speed through anything in a class that I’m paying for? Nope, not right again.

    Working parents should have support. That support does NOT include pushing your kids on others. Same goes for working dads. If your work environment is conducive to having kids around, fine. If it’s not, then keep your kids away. A college classroom is NOT conducive to having kids around as students need to concentrate. The students deserve the professor’s total attention for the time period of the class.

    Breastfeeding – Moms should be able to feed their kids however and whenever they want. However, I think its inappropriate to do it while teaching a class. Not because of nudity or anything like that. The students will not be getting 100% of the Professor’s attention. That isn’t fair to the students.

    I don’t know what the answer is because breastfeeding on demand means just that. The Professor needs to work and the baby needs to eat. I don’t know how to reconcile that. Whatever the resolution, the students paying for a class should be a priority, just as feeding the kid should be.

    • I see it the same way I do when you have more than one kid or responsibility, you share time for tasks. I’ve tutored while breastfeeding and that person *was* paying to have more of my attention and I felt it worked. In this case I still feel for the teacher who obviously felt like it wasn’t ideal, as you all clued into some of the details. Reality is ideal isn’t always an option, just is what it is and to me seemed like they got through it just fine.

    • honestly, after the first week or so, nursing is normally not that big a deal. I’ve been more distracted by an itch somewhere I can’t reach than by the baby doing his/her thing.

      for what it’s worth, I’d love to know if the students were giving 100% of their attention to the professor, or, you know, not…

      also, as an older toddler (maybe 3 years old?) my dad took me into his classes with a pile of books and said “shhh!” so I read or drew pictures or whatever and didn’t make a peep. as far as I am aware, no student asked for their money back or missed some key detail of my dad’s (I’m sure) brilliant lecture on the phrygian minor mode in baroque music or whatever he was on about. it entirely depends on the kid. of course, this was in 1971, things were different then…

    • I don’t see it as a breastfeeding issue. I’d say the same thing if the baby was drinking from a bottle, baby food or solid foods. It’s too much of a distraction for a room full of students.

      • Why? Why is it a distraction? Are you assuming the baby is making a lot of noise, or it will be a big distraction in the same way it would be if there were an elephant in the room even if the elephant were not making any noise? Because I just don’t see how you can survive college if a baby feeding while you’re at a lecture is “too much of a distraction.” People constantly on their iPhones would be more of a distraction.

  10. Oh. My. God. Grow. Up. Please dont say one more time about the kids “paying for the time”. Grow. Up. They paid for and got a first day class wherein she reviewed the syllabus and briefly reviewed what to expect during the semester. I have breastfed and I have paid for myriad college classes so Im on both sides here but seriously, neither is rocket science. She can easily do both. At the same time. This ALL and ONLY boils down to the fact a few students were offended by the sight of a breast and breastfeeding. Lame. The bottom line is she considered all factors and chose the least worst option. End. Use it as a teaching moment maybe but it is not the greatest injustice in the history of the world. And if parents actually called about this Im going to cry for our future.

      • I think Kay was clear that she has paid for college classes.

        I also paid for my education and if it was one class where the baby wasn’t able to go to daycare, I wouldn’t care. It’s less distracting than students talking during a lecture, cell phones etc. Especially the first class where the prof usually goes over the syllabus and talks about what to expect. If it was everyday and the child was fussy, I might get frustrated. It just depends on whether or not it was interfering with the prof being able to do her job to the best of her ability.

        On an unrelated note, I’ve never been taken to a lecture, but I did go to some study/office hours with my dad when he was teaching electronics. I would draw on the whiteboard and hang out with the students who were waiting to speak with my dad. The assistant professors would spin me in the computer chairs and it was pretty fun for most people. I’m sure there were some people who didn’t like having kids around, but I think back then fewer people believed that children weren’t actually people and didn’t deserve to be in public spaces.

  11. I need to clarify something here. I think women should be able to feed their babies whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, whenever the baby wants or needs to be fed. I don’t think breastfeeding and nudity are at all related.

    Saying this, that baby shouldn’t have been in the class room with the Professor to begin with.

    The student reporter chose the wrong issue. The story should have been bringing a baby into a classroom, not the breastfeeding. If the baby is there, I expect breastfeeding or bottle feeding.

    • Wwhy is a college lecture hall somehow sacred space? I’ve been a college student fairy recently, and I don’t recall anyone giving the lecturer 100% attention. They were talking, texting, coughing…all of which were more distracting to me than a lady talking while nursing. I guess your mileage may vary.

      • If a student chooses to pay for classes and not listen that’s their lookout. Distractions should not come from the person teaching the class.

  12. Pingback: The hostility towards breastfeeding « blue milk

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  15. I went to AU. I can just imagine the over-priviliged, entitled snit the undergrad journalist got into. I bet she thought she was being a genius investigative reporter, just like she was back home in +insert name of fancy suburb here+.

    The professor handled it all wrong (esp. at AU. She should have know how kids are at AU and how this wold go down. She shouldn’t have engaged the student reporter until her voice was “horse and pained” (lol at that expression. How long does it take to get horse and pained? Was the girl interrogated her for hours?).

    I see this whole article as a nonissue. Nothing ever came out of. The administration clearly didn’t think ths was a big deal (no disciplinary action), nor did the students in attendence give a rat’s ass about what was going on. The only reason why this is an issue is bc some student journalist made it so.

  16. I went to a private college and paid a ton of money for classes. Professors bring their kids to class. Students bring their kids to class. Students bring cell phones, foods, flirting, etc to class.

    What is really sad is that people care so much. College is where you start to meet the “real world.” A part of that is realizing not everything is perfect and cheery. Things happen that are beyond your control, beyond your professor’s control. The best thing to do is get over and focus on your education. If you are going to call your mommy everytime a professor does something you don’t like, you will be calling her every single day. Take the high road and get over it. No one lost important information or missed out on a chance of a lifetime due to this. There are bigger things to worry about.

  17. Why didn’t she t ell her to just go to hell. One day god willing the reporter will be in the exact same situation.

    There are way to many hungry childrn in this worl to worry about. partically exposing ones body part that is the only food for that child.

  18. The Skeptical OB wrote an excellent post about this

    “The point is that students had to watch your baby to make sure that she did not harm herself, not your “daring” move in dressing her in blue.

    Would a judge hearing a criminal trial would be able to focus on her professional responsibilities if her baby were crawling around the courtroom? Doesn’t she owe the plaintiff, the defendant, the jury and the lawyers her full attention?

    Would a surgeon removing a cancerous tumor be able to focus on her professional responsibilities if her baby were crawling around the operating room? Doesn’t she owe the patient her full attention?

    Their children get sick, too, Professor Pine, and somehow they manage to fulfill their professional responsibilities without bringing their children into the workplace.

    Let me make this very clear: the fact that you breastfed your child in class is not the problem, as much as you wish it were. The problem is that you brought your child to class in the first place, instead of having emergency childcare backup plans and putting them into effect.”

  19. I would have loved to have had a professor like her. A professor at a university that cared enough about her students to show up when her child needed her and for nourishing her child the best way possible. Breastfeeding needs to be normalized.

  20. The instructor showed phenomenally poor judgment. She displays a stunning lack of self awareness regarding how her article displays her disregard for the institution who pays her apparently paltry salary to support her little family. Why would she continue to work for an institution that caters to the privileged class (to which she belongs) when UDC is just a bus ride away.

    That a deciding factor in Pine’s rationale to teach with a sick child in tow was a concern about her tenure & student evaluations seem quite inconsistent with her disregard for her employer.

    The language to describe the actions of the student reporter, while subtle, displayed the demeaning view held of not only the student personally but also of anyone who questioned Pine’s authority and judgment. It is perhaps better that the student doing so in this case is female, especially since Pine chose to draw a comparison to a discussion of date rape. I cannot imagine the diatribe if the questioning student had been male. In any event, it was a bewildering detour of logic, but if that is the only arrow in your intellectual quiver, then your options are limited.

    I find it striking that Pine graciously accepted anonymity but then chose to direct her vitriol at an individual student rather than taking issue with The Eagle. Her choice to make the issue one about the reporter personally as well as the publication displays a concerning bullying behavior. Should we surmise from this some level of acknowledgement that she cannot prevail by engaging in conversations with the faculty advisor so instead chooses to level her weapon against a young student? Pine could have worked the issue with much greater finesse and professionalism. Pine wielded a blunt object when a much finer tool could have resolved this.

    Finally, lactation opportunities are the least of Pine’s issues. This had less to do with her breasts than her astounding level of self righteous myopia. Talk about “exposeing” one’s limitations as an educator.

    I hope this young student reporter “chirps” on and does not allow Pine, or others, to have a chilling effect on her aspiration.

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