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Any drunken professors?

  1. Jul 21, 2005 #1

    GCT

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    Have any of you, during anytime of your experience in a college/university, had a professor whom you thought repeatedly came to lecture, a bit "buzzed" up (not completely drunk of course).

    During my first few years in college, I have come across several professors whom I thought came to lecture, more or less intoxicated. Now, I don't really mind that he/she take a sip to calm some nerves perhaps....make the lecture a bit more exciting, but you begin to become suspicious when a phD harvard graduate has problems performing simple arithmetic (probably because he/she had done it chronically), speaking coherently, and with a few short term memory lapses here and there (this was actually for a higher level biology course I took when I was back in Iowa). You know, they just have what appears to be a "I don't give a ****" attitude, and the whole course is simply a mess; there's no organiziation to the course whatsoever. From what I remember, I had later found that this professor had great credentials and experience (with a huge grant from NIH).
     
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  3. Jul 22, 2005 #2
    I've never had a professor come to a lecture drunk but I took a friend of mine to a hospital once and the doctor was wasted. He had cut his throat with a surfboard and was coughing up blood and having trouble breathing. The doctor said "I don't know what to do," then stumbled out. He was the only doctor on the island so we had to drive 2 hours to the mainland to a proper hospital.
     
  4. Jul 22, 2005 #3
    There was a German professor at my college who got totally soused every evening after dinner. She was my Dorm Faculty Supervisor, and it was useless to knock on her door with any questions during this time: her responses were incoherent German-accented mumbles.

    Reports were, she mumbled while teaching as well, but if you were close enough to hear, it wasn't incoherent.

    They say Niels Bohr was quite a mumbler. I don't know if he drank, though.
     
  5. Jul 22, 2005 #4

    FredGarvin

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    I had two profs who were drinking buddies. Both in their mid-late 50's and, if you saw them on the street, you'd have thought they were teamsters or something. Not exactly run of the mill professor types. One was for mechanics of materials, the other was for one of my EE labs. Neither one showed up slobberingly drunk, but they did show up 'happy' from time to time. Everyone could tell and smell.
     
  6. Jul 22, 2005 #5
    I had a music professor who was so drunk, he would stumble and fall. One time he took out the entire percussion section in the act of falling and then trying to regain himself.
    Several times I went to class only to find he was sleeping it off in his back room. I'm sure hundreds of complaints were filed against him.
     
  7. Jul 22, 2005 #6

    brewnog

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    We had a manufacturing lecturer at uni who often hit the bottle at lunchtime. At first we thought it was disgraceful, but when we discovered that his lectures were a waste of time, we used to turn up just to see what happened.

    He'd go off on these massive tangents, and forget the proper names for things and call them "the doodah" or "the thingamajig" instead. It was rather funny, he'd tell us these big long stories instead of the course matter. We liked it in the end.


    Also had a physics teacher at school who was partial to the odd glass of whisky at lunchtime. He got very loud, angry, and slurred; and stank of drink. We told the head of department, and he 'had a word' with him. I think he stayed sober after that.
     
  8. Jul 22, 2005 #7

    Moonbear

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    Unfortunately, alcoholism is not entirely uncommon among university professors, especially those older professors who are tasked with maintaining top research labs, juggling administrative responsibilities, and still get stuck picking up some of the teaching load. They come from a generation that always kept a scotch bottle in the office, and a sip of scotch at the end of a long day was an acceptable way of handling the day-to-day stress of a faculty position.

    Even when I started in grad school, the joke still existed when you went to a conference that you better be sure you can give your talk while hung-over because of all the partying going on. The partying at conferences still happens, but we're a little more aware of the prevalence of alcoholism, and now the advice is to avoid the party if your presentation is the next day and get a good night's sleep.

    I'm aware of several senior faculty who have a problem with alcoholism. Generally, it is restricted to evenings, where they can't help but stop for a drink after work, but they are not as sharp as they could be if they hadn't had all those years of drinking. The generations come up the ranks are more cautious than our predecessors.

    Of course, you can't always blame alcohol for bad lectures. There are faculty who really should be kept in a lab because they are terrible teachers, or just don't care enough about teaching to bother preparing an organized lecture.
     
  9. Jul 22, 2005 #8
    From what I'm hearing, I'm gleening that some profs feel justified in thier drinking because of having a " high pressure job". Now I'm not an educator, so I confess I don't know exactly how demanding it can be. However What about all the professors that do exactly what those drunk ones do without downing a scotch and whiskey before lecture? They manage somehow. alcoholism is a problem, and it's not caused by stress. It's caused by the person who chooses to use alcohol to relieve stress.

    Anyhow, as someone who enjoys a beer here and there, I'm not trying to preach. Just pointing out that you can't blame being a raging alchy on stress.
     
  10. Jul 22, 2005 #9

    russ_watters

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    Yeah, I don't buy the stressful-job thing either: if you can't take the heat, get out of the toaster.

    Anyway, I had a physics prof in high school who was drunk a couple of days a week. Always entertaining when we had labs...

    I also had an elementary school music teacher who I later found out was a pedophile. [shudder]
     
  11. Jul 22, 2005 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    I once caught a prof doing something in the storeroom... I'm not sure what but I have a guess. :yuck:
     
  12. Jul 22, 2005 #11
    Nooo....:redface: did you watch on him till he finished ?
     
  13. Jul 22, 2005 #12

    Tom Mattson

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    When I was a grad student we had this posdoc who was under suspicion. According to all of his students his office "smelled like a frat party". :eek:
     
  14. Jul 22, 2005 #13

    brewnog

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    Oooh scotch and whiskey?

    I'm gonna try that sometime! :smile:
     
  15. Jul 22, 2005 #14
    sounds like one fine cocktail to me.
     
  16. Jul 22, 2005 #15

    Tom Mattson

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    LOL, which one's supposed to be the chaser?

    *hic*
     
  17. Jul 22, 2005 #16
    I order melon juice with a little cheese cake and butter apple pie, and leave me no cocktail :biggrin:
     
  18. Jul 22, 2005 #17

    matthyaouw

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    I remember at my old school, there was a teacher (you know the kind. 50 or 60, very strict, very loud, feared by most/all younger students) who seemed to go missing one day. He didn't turn up to a lesson, and no one knew where he had gone. he was eventually found alone in a store room, singing extemely loudly and holding a bottle of whisky.
     
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