I have a professor who constantly makes sexist comments and drops right-wing political commentary into a class where it's totally irrelevant, and I'm not the only one in class who notices. I am documenting instances of these behaviors to report to school higher-ups. What's the best way to frame my complaints, make sure they're seen by the right person, and maybe get some classmates on board with me? Examples and snowflakes below.
The class is the first semester of human anatomy, at a big urban community college. I'm especially pissed about the inclusion of politics in a class like this, because anatomy by my estimation is about as apolitical as it gets. Here are some of the instances I've documented so far. (I write down exact quotes in my class notes when I catch something that seems egregious, and have a running e-mail draft ready to send to someone, whenever):
-A lecture about DNA transcription and translation totally went off the rails, with an extended analogy about the process of transcribing print writing to cursive. During that side conversation, the subject of signatures on birth certificates came up, somehow. (Don't ask me.) Professor took the opportunity to comment "what kind of person doesn't have a birth certificate?" in clear reference to Obama. (This at a school where lots of students come from circumstances which make them less likely to have birth certificates.)
-When talking about fatty tissue distribution in bodies, professor said that fat distributes itself more in women's breasts, hips, thighs, etc "and that makes them more attractive to me" with this gross smirk. That set off some kind of Gift-of-Fear subconscious response in me; I'm really not inclined to go to office hours now. He also uses tons of irrelevant sexual examples and role-plays women in a high mocking voice, similar to the behavior described in this askme
-In a discussion about the blood-brain barrier, prof mentioned that pathogens that cross that barrier are often deadly, so if you get that kind of disease "your days are numbered...especially under Obamacare."
-In a discussion about the part of the brain that controls impulses, "most people, if they see an attractive person don't jump on them, rip their clothes off, and have their way with them...but they do in the Middle East."
My gut says to report this behavior to someone at semester's end, beyond a negative class evaluation, but I get periodic pangs of 'would I really be this offended if the guy agreed with me politically?' Also, I don't really know how to go about reporting, so procedural questions below:
-My first instinct would be to send the things I've documented on to the department chair. Is that likely the right person? If not, who is? My roommate (a professor at a different institution) suggested that I also run any e-mail by the totally awesome prof from the same department who taught my class last semester. My instinct says that he's probably fully aware of current prof's jackassery and can't do anything about it, but maybe I'm wrong?
- Should I just send whatever I send by myself? Try to quietly see if people would sign on to a letter I wrote? See if other people would also feel comfortable sending their own accounts? (I know no one is satisfied with the class, for a number of reasons, but I'm shy and don't really have class friends, and don't see myself as an organizer type.)
-I know I can frame the sexist comments as "unprofessional" and "hostile classroom environment," but what about the political stuff? Same? I'm afraid that I'm letting my way-the-hell-left-of-center views cloud my judgment here.
-My roommate also suggested mentioning somewhere that I am passing this class by a good margin and on the honor roll, as a way of deflecting suspicions that I'm only complaining because I have low grades. Is that really necessary?
If it makes any difference, the department is quite large, and I can arrange things such that I never take one of this guy's classes again or need his recommendation.
Suggestions, experiences, and assurances that I am not just a pissed-off surly lefty looking to make trouble all welcome.