Last semester, NYU undergraduate Sara Ackerman was given an assignment by to visit Occupy Wall Street and turn in an ethnography of what was going on down in Zuccotti Park. This did not sit right with Sara. Mingle with "criminals, drug addicts, mentally ill people, rapist, and paranoid schizophrenics"? The fuck she would, and Ackerman told her professor, Caitlin Zaloom, as much, expressing serious "discomfort with the assignment for legal, academic, ethical, moral, and safety reasons" and asking for "an alternative via her private office hours, in-class requests and emails to her NYU email account." When Zaloom denied the request, Ackerman had no choice but to head down to OWS, not just because it was required for the class, but to prove a point. She went, she says, with "two other young girls, who are quite attractive and don't look particularly fit enough to take on a potential predator, rapist, paranoid schizophrenic, etc, just to see if I was being as melodramtic as Professor Zaloom made me feel I was." She wasn't.
In fact, she left the park "feeling as though I had escaped an extremely dangerous-- and even, life-threatening, situation." Ackerman never ended up turning in the assignment, she was, she claims, treated poorly by a graduate assistant and Professor Zaloom for the rest of the semester and earlier this week, she decided people needed to be held accountable.
On Wednesday, she waited at the library in "a last-ditch effort to convince [NYU President John Sexton] to deal with Professor Zaloom via forcing her to resign, or firing her" and instead of coming to meet her, Sexton had mental health services deal with Sara, via a forced psych evaluation. Wrong move, NYU. Like Ackerman "told Sergeant Weitzman-- the NYU officer who filled out [her] report-- if NYU tried to pull the mental health card again, [she] would go very public." Nobody calls Sara Ackerman crazy, ya hear? Just so everyone knew she meant business, later that night, Ackerman tapped out a series of tremendous emails, 90 percent of which she underlined and bolded, blasting them out to Sexton, Zaloom, her peers at NYU. She also CC'ed the rude graduate student, but lest there be any confusion, doesn't give a shit what that bitch thinks. They should be read in full, but some of our favorite parts include:
"(note: I am 5'1 and 105 pounds)"
"I was immediately cleared by a social worker at NYU Wellness Exchange after I was evaluated. I have the social worker's card and she recommended that I call her if NYU ever tries to pull that again."
"I have an above average GPA, impressive extracurricular activities, an amazing resume with great recommendations/references, and 3 post-graduation offers."
"Alas, it seems you are not taking me seriously."
"Other times, I kept my hand up for about 75 seconds-- a long time to keep one's arm raised, by the way."
"I would like to remind you that I have 2 classmates who are willing to testify...please think carefully...as this may very well go to court."
And the pièce de résistance: