The epidemic that’s causing a student-professor rift
Text messaging has exploded in popularity over the last several years. According to the Pew Research Center in Washington DC, 72 percent of adults eighteen and older with cell phones send and receive text messages, up from 58 percent three years ago. On average, adults send and receive about ten texts a day.
If CCNY is any indication, ten texts is nowhere near the daily texting average among students. College students are probably closer to the top ten percent of adults who send 50 to 200 texts a day, according to Pew statistics.
On campuses across the country, the texting epidemic has caused a widening rift between students and faculty. While many students use their phones to take notes or look up information online during lectures, others are passing notes or saying hey to friends. Second nature to students, most professors find this annoying or even intolerable.
When asked about her sociology professor’s cell phone policy, Melissa Gutierrez, an 18-year-old freshman, replied, “Every time she catches us texting, she takes half a point off the grade. I don’t see what the deal is, it’s not bothering anyone.”
Many students agree.
“It doesn’t really bother me as long as the phone’s on silent,” says Darrel Mitchner. Even though he doesn’t mind texting, he doesn’t do it. He draws the line at texting during a test. “It might affect the curve.”
Swar Usu, a senior English major says he’s been caught texting in class, along with many of his classmates. “It happens all the time,” he says. “It’s a silent form of communication.”
Most professors don’t see it that way. “I don’t permit cell phones to be turned on in my lecture,” says Daniel DiSalvo, an assistant professor of political science. “ Like Gutierrez’s sociology professor, he sees it as “nothing but disrespect.”
Texting is here to stay, insist many students, even if professors don’t like it. They’ll just do it on the sneak. Says Mitchner: “There’s nothing we can do about it.”