February 2006 (v8 i4)
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Professor just wants to be your friend
Delicate student-teacher relationship penetrated by indecency
by Jen Goldstein, Staff Writer

“So, have you ever seen the inside
of a ’93 Miata?”
CAMPUS — Professor Walter Humphrey has been teaching history at the University for nearly two decades and has enjoyed every second of it.

“Teaching is what keeps me young,” Humphrey claims. “The atmosphere I create for my students is more that of a lounge than a classroom environment. It’s a stomping ground, if you will, for my 312L peeps and me.”

Professor Humphrey considers himself an innovator in academia. During his tenure at the University, he has made significant advances in breaking down the stereotypes of traditional professor-student relationships.

“Walt is the man,” boasted Brian Marshall, one of Humphrey’s students. “A few weeks ago, he exempted me from a test after I jokingly invited him to a party at my house. I was really surprised when he actually showed up that night, but I guess it ended up okay.”

“He and I cleaned up in beer pong, and he even offered to have his son make me a fake ID,” chuckled Marshall.

Humphrey explained the incident later.

“I would have let Brian borrow my ID,” said Humphrey. “I just didn’t think the Bri-Man was pimp enough to pull me off.”

Humphrey’s reputation among students for being “down” is not a consensus, however.

“One time after class he overheard me telling a friend about how I wasn’t sure if I was ready to go all the way with my boyfriend,” said Marsha Wang. “He walked over and gave me a condescending pat-on-the-head, then said, ‘Sweetie, when it comes down to it, you really only have two choices: Put out, or get out.’”

Although Humphrey believes he maintains a professional relationship with his class, some students feel his behavior is inappropriate.

“It makes me so uncomfortable when he singles me out in class,” complained Andy Patterson. “He told us some lame story a couple of days ago about making a ‘tobacco-smoking device.’ He winked at me and said something stupid like, ‘Andy knows what I’m talking about,’ and then he just sat there for a few seconds nodding and staring at me.”

Shaking his head, Patterson added, “Yes, Professor Humphrey — we all know what you’re talking about.”

According to students, Humphrey’s openness regarding personal issues is not restricted to drug use.

“He tells us these ridiculous stories about what he did with his ‘crew’ like 40 years ago,” bemoaned Lindy Pumar. “He even talked about affairs he had with much younger women. He calls this over-sharing ‘story time,’ thinking he’s all suave and clever.”

Continued Pumar: “I mean, it was cool at first that a professor was trying to relate to us personally, but once he dropped the term ‘finger blasting,’ well, that’s when I dropped the class.”

While not all of his students may appreciate his friendly way of teaching, TA Amanda Miller defends Humphrey’s conduct.

“Professor Humphrey always gives students one hell of a semester,” Miller said. “And if they ever need anything else, he knows a guy who can get it.”

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