Last night I had dinner with several of my graduate students, and they spent a lot of time ranting about my colleague, Professor Troll. Some of their stories and impersonations of his more annoying characteristics were very funny, in a you-might-as-well-laugh-even-though-it’s-not-really-funny kind of way, and we laughed together a lot.
At one point, when one of the students made a remark about how patronizing and rude the Troll is to students, I said “Not just to students. He’s like that to everyone”. I wanted them to know at least that. I don’t know if that was any comfort to them, but they should know that I will most certainly not insist that he be on their committees, even though his field of expertise is relevant in some cases. On the contrary, I will make sure that he is not on their committees. It’s fine if they discuss their research with him, but I don’t want any of them to be in a position where he has power over their graduate program/future/career.
I was quite restrained in my level of participation of the anti-Troll rant. My students had enough stories of their own, and they are under no illusions about what I think of my colleague. They are also well aware that he thinks I am an intellectually defective, non-rigorous poser of a science professor. Perhaps the conversation was unprofessional, but mostly it was good to laugh about it together.
7 years ago