Gilbert Kirton exemplified professionalism in the classroom

Last week’s article, entitled ‘Student Charged for Child Porn,” strongly implied that CAS 105 instructor and English graduate student Gilbert Kirton infused his lessons with aspects of his personal life. As a former student of Kirton’s, I know this to be false.

Within the classroom, there was never any semblance of Kirton’s personal life choices. Kirton created two CAS 105 courses on the topic of exposing hidden sexual references in American culture, which he knew would interest a crowd of undergraduate students. His courses were popular and filled quickly.

The names of the courses, ‘Provocative Solicitations: The Art of Seduction in Advertising” and ‘Fairies, Hos, and Mistletoe,” along with their official course descriptions, both candidly depicted the sometimes unorthodox content of the courses. Most of the students who thought they might be offended by the content of the courses simply did not take them; therefore, the students who found themselves uncomfortable amidst in-class discussion were always few to no one.

Unfortunately, however, last week’s article reported on the opinions of this miniscule minority as if they were in fact the opinions of the majority, a detail that could result in a dangerous public misconception.

The article spoke of Kirton’s in-class ‘sexually charged interpretations” as if it was supposed to be shocking that the professor of a writing course on analyzing subliminal sexuality in American culture would dare disclose aspects of subliminal sexuality in American culture.

For as long as I sat in his classroom, Kirton never once stepped outside the contents of the official course description. Despite the regrettable realities of his personal life, as our teacher, Gilbert Kirton was always professional and respectful toward his students, as well as knowledgeable and enthusiastic. For these reasons, he was well-liked by the vast majority of his students.

Julia Winer
Class of 2010

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