Written by Zach Siddiqui, Humour Editor
BURNABY, BC — An English professor at SFU has opted out of his office hours, telling students that the only man who can help them succeed is Jesus Christ.
Cliff Westwood, chair of the university’s English department, welcomed hundreds of students last Tuesday to ENGL 477: Typical Literary Analysis in all its Florid Outdated Eurocentrism. Explaining that he had found his office hours “not very fruitful” in the past, Westwood declared that he would schedule no office hours at all this semester.
Instead, he urged students to attend church with their families on Sundays, should they start to struggle in his class.
“The students of this century are lost,” Westwood told The Peak. “They love hard work, meticulous notes, and review sessions with their professors. But they’ve forgotten the most important elements of success: family values, thoughts, and prayers.”
ENGL 477 is renowned for its extreme difficulty. But Marnie Sword, a fourth year English major formerly enrolled in 477, explained to The Peak that the challenge comes mostly from Westwood’s rules about which reading editions students use. Reportedly, he insists that the class study works by the likes of Mark Manson, Dale Carnegie, and Logan Paul, only translated into fifth-century Anglo-Saxon.
“If he finds out you watched the YouTube video instead of reading his favourite edition . . .” Sword began, before trailing off. “Well, expect some bitchy comments on your essays, is all I’m saying. Last year, he wrote on my term paper that my citations were messier than J.K. Rowling’s Twitter activity.”
“It was the first time he’d ever interacted with me.”
Another bottleneck for the students is the course’s unique grade curve. Last spring, not only was 70% of the class curved down to a failing grade, but the top 10% of students’ marks were curved below the next 20%. Many found the distribution impossible to read, even with the diagram Westwood drew up for the class.
While speaking to The Peak, Westwood produced a photocopy of this drawing. He explained that his grading curve is shaped like the fruit from the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil, and not, as some students theorized, Adam’s supple, God-given cheeks.
Though Westwood acknowledged that not every student had a church to attend or a family to attend it with, he felt there was “minimal cause for concern.”
“They might miss out on the full experience,” he shrugged. “But Jesus is always watching. Yes, even when you’re in the washroom, angry about your low marks and drawing hurtful cartoons on the stalls of me being intimate with McFogg the Dog.”
Ultimately, Westwood defended his choice, saying that anything that got even a single student closer to God and graduation was worth the ire he faced.
“What if the cure for academic probation is trapped inside a mind that doesn’t have access to Christianity?”
Westwood concluded the interview by condemning the “salacious sin” he considers inherent to ordinary, office-hour-accommodating academic culture.
“Staying up all night to write essays for your TAs? Revolting,” he declared. “Look, at your age, there’s only one person you should be up all night for, with, or in any type of ‘course’ with: your lawfully wedded, God-fearing, equally sexually repressed spouse.”