Some lecture slides are impossible to decipher, some contain poor puns, and then there are those which are simply tone deaf.

This Tuesday in a lecture given to the Masters cohort studying Human Geography, Dr Hitchings is alleged to have warned his class before he put up his next slide: “We tried this last year and it didn’t go very well, but we’ll try it again”.

Dr Hitchings and Dr Latham, sharing teaching responsibilities on a lecture about the significance of surveys in research, then put up the controversial slide in question:

Are you being serious?

Some students gasped whereas others (in the largely male class) laughed. The slide was meant to illustrate the biases we can bring to lines of questioning.

One student in the class asked “what exactly do you want us to measure?” The professor is then alleged to have said “Don’t go there. This is exactly what happened last year.” Subtle, the joke is not.

The female student who told us this story and does not want to be named at this point left the room, though she was not the first to walk out.

Earlier in the lecture, when discussing surveys about violence against women, the topic strayed into a tangent when one male student asked whether any survey would genuinely ask whether someone enjoyed beating women. In response, another male student joked to the class that “there are some really annoying women in our society”.

Another female student questioned the legitimacy of such jokes in an academic environment, and promptly walked out of the room. To which Dr Hitching is alleged to have commented that “everyone is allowed to voice their opinion” as it should be an open discussion.

A Geography department spokesman told The Cheese Grater that “We’re very sorry that part of Tuesday’s lecture caused offence to students. It was not the lecturer’s intention to cause offence, and this part will not be repeated in the future”.

Jason Murugesu