Recently I agreed to allow a high school senior who is coming to SMG next fall to sit in on a class. The visit was arranged through our Undergraduate Program Office as part of our recruitment of admitted students. I’ve hosted many such students eager, or mildly curious, to experience a college class. This student asked if his friend, visiting CAS on a similar trip, could attend as well. I said of course. I greeted him by name before class, introduced myself to her, and directed them to seats in the back row. They sat, and then they cuddled. Inappropriate, but not serious, and they separated as class began. Five minutes later I looked in their direction. She was bent over her phone, thumbs flying on the keyboard. I directed to the boy what I intended to be a meaningful look–it’s meaning was “tell your girlfriend to put down the damn phone!”–but my message didn’t register. I continued with class, asking questions to generate discussion, shooting more looks his way. No response. A few minutes later I again looked their way. Now he was bent over his phone, thumbs flying on the keyboard. I stopped talking. I stared at them. Silence. I said “the two of you–stop playing with your phones!” All eyes turned in their direction. They looked up, stored their phones, but did not apologize. They say woodenly for another 15 minutes, then got up and left.
Breathtakingly rude. If only I had the power to revoke admission.