Professor accusing me of abuse through email !!!

Nurses General Nursing


Hello Nursing Community,

I didn't know where to place this comment, but I'm mad as dkk'adoiuthabhh;ae! I have been accused by my upper division writing Professor that I have been abusive to her in my emails. Here is the story, I was suppose to take my midterm on the 21st of May. I usually plan my week according to my school, work, court and family life. I am a single mom of eight (not all eight live @ home anymore only five). I am in my last quarter @ a University and will be applying to Nursing school this Winter. Well, I am taking my last writing class of my entire life. I have been doing great in the class. Anyways, on the 21st when the Professor was suppose to have the midterm available online for a 24 hour period, I woke up @ 5:00 in the morning to take the exam. The exam was not posted. I went to the disscusion board to post something to the other students to find out what happen to the midterm, many of the students didn't see the posting either. I look from 5-8 o'clock am and nothing was posted, don't you think if the professor gave us a 24 hour period to complete this, she would have posted this midterm @ 12am in the morning:specs:. Well, let me continue, I went on the compter again at nine and she posted an announcement saying that she posted it again and reset the exam, and she would have to talk to the computer techs at the school. I was so upset:angryfire, since I knew the next day I had to be up @ 7:30am for lab and I had a chemistry midterm. I was in no condition to take her midterm on Friday the 22nd. Anyways, I called to talk to the Dept. Chair about this situation, instead I talked with the secretary about it, she said that my professor was in her office. I talk to my professor and she said that she would give me an extended time on my midterm, 6:00pm, so after my midterm in chem I went to the learning center on campus and logged in at the front desk to take the exam. The exam was only two hours, so I set my ipod touch and made sure I had enough to send it over. The professor wanted us to send the midterm through her email, that was different, because most of our assignment are sent over to her in a word document, but this time we had to send it over using her edu address. I thought this was weird since I never use this feature sending any documents over. Well, I finished at the right amount of time and send it over. I sent her and email telling her that I sent it over and to please let me know when she received it. She wrote me back Saturday morning tell me she didn't receive anything, so I tried to resend, this time she got the attachment. She told me I sent it to her @ 11:00pm 3 times. I didn't send the email over @ 11:00pm. I sent it over @ 8:00am . I guess since it was my first time doing this I didn't send the attachement in the right way at the first attempt. I was on a time restriction so I was so nervous. She said that my midterm was 9 hours late. I was angry!! I wrote her back and told her that I will resolve this with the Dept Chair. Many times throughout the quarter she displayed inconsitency,one time I wanted to see her @ her office hours, she posted on her announcements that she would have office hours for students needing help. I went to the office hours, she wasn't even in her office. Well in her email she stated that she feels abused by me. i am so upset I can't believe this is happening. I have been doing well all quarter. The professor is making it seems that I am lying. I am to old now to be playing games. I just don't know what to do. I have been getting 90's and 80's in this class. I have to do something I only have 3 wks left in the quarter. :cry:


366 Posts

Specializes in Ambulatory Case Management, Clinic, Psychiatry.

I'm so sorry! I think you're doing the right thing by taking it to the next step of management. Make sure you document everything (times, etc) and save/print out all of your emails. Hopefully this gets resolved smoothly. Just make sure to act professional in your interactions with the Dept Chair--stay calm and in control (as much as possible). You will seem the most credible this way. Good luck!


111 Posts

Thank you for that. I worked a 12shift yesterday. All I can do is think about this situation. I am going to the college first thing in the morning. I will be printing up everything. I will also visit the Learning Center to find out if I can get a print out of the time I logged in. I am so upset by this. I can even take care of my family. I hate Professor that think everyone is a liar. I am an older student I don't have a lot of time to be playing games.


38,333 Posts

Instructors are threatened when students go to the department chair and they often will act in a hostile manner. You are upsetting her comfort zone. As previously recommended, make certain to act professionally and hopefully this will be worked out in a satisfactory manner. Too bad that the professor was not open to your explanation in the beginning. I would be hardpressed to send someone an email with an attachment so I know how you must feel about the process. Good luck with this.


961 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU, Education.

The best thing you can do when sending such assignments is to do the following: send it also to yourself, so you will have proof, and also use the send and read receipts so that you have additional backup that your assignment reached it's intended recipient. This is just as important as nursing documentation will be to you in the future. If you don't have proof it's sent, this is what can happen.

It sounds as if there may have been technical problems causing the exam to be posted at 9am. It would have been best for her to clarify at what time the exam would be posted. It isn't your professor's responsibility to stay up until 12 am to post an exam just because that is the time you would like her to post it. It also isn't very realistic to expect the professor to wait by the computer to acknowledge each submission that comes in. Again, that is what a send and read receipt is for. It does seem that the professor was kind in allowing extra time. Honestly, 24 hours is 24 hours, and as long as she kept the exam open for 24 hours, she has met her obligation. It is the student's responsibility to make sure that work is turned in using the correct format specified by the instructor by the deadline. If the exam was left open until 6pm the following day, then that would have given you an extra 9 hours to submit. This already seems generous.

Of course, you are obviously very angry and probably stressed due to your other finals. Perhaps some of this tone came across in your email and that is why the instructor feels abused. The comment about the office hours is really irrelevant unless this happened all the time. You don't know what goes on behind closed doors. Your professor may have been called to a last minute meeting, or been interacting with a student who also really needed the time. I had a student come in with a crisis one year and needed to meet with this student and the dean to help the student find the needed assistance during office hours. If it's a one-time thing, this is certainly understandable. If it's a pattern, that should be handled as a separate issue.

One thing you might try is to see if someone from information technology can help you. If you saved your work, for example, on a jump drive, they may be able to show when the last time the document was modified, and it's possible your instructor may be willing to accept this. But I would calmly discuss what happened with her before immediately trying to circumvent her authority and go above her head. If you need to appeal this, you will need to show that you were calm and professional and followed the chain of command. Good luck in sorting this out.

PS- there is unfortunately a reason why many of us are suspicious of occurrences like this. I personally have seen two students who lied about funerals. Things got really interesting when I offered the family my condolences the next week after the supposed funeral, only to find out that both grandmothers are alive and well. It's shocking to me that someone would find that acceptable, but it happens. And it's never the ones you would suspect of behaving in that manner.


961 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU, Education.

Oh, forgot to case you aren't familiar with the delivery receipt and read receipt, after you compose your email and attach your attachment, if you're using microsoft outlook, you can click "options" at the top of the email, and select importance (ex- normal, high, etc) and for a read and delivery receipt. In the bcc portion of the email, type your own email address.

Not trying to patronize if you already know all this, but I know some students who weren't previously aware this existed.

I love my cat!

630 Posts

Specializes in ER, PACU, Med-Surg, Hospice, LTC.

Ugh, modern technology can be such a hinderance and so confusing at times. Like the above poster stated..stay calm! I know it is hard, but stick to the facts.

Explain the situation is a concise manner. Do you have a record of the e-mail that you sent? Even if e-mails do not go through, there is still a record of it (as long as you don't delete sent e-mails). Pull this 'sent' e-mail up and it will have the time. She should see that you did have the exam done and the time that it was finished.

PS I would leave all personal tid-bits out of the conversation though (do not mention you are single, have kids, work, etc...) This has absolutely nothing to do with the current situation. Do not mention your exam the next day either. That is all part of University. I lost count of how many times I had 2 exams in the same day and then had to get up for another final at 8am the next day! :sniff:

Finally, do not mention the Instructors inconsistencies. It will only add fuel to the fire. GOOD LUCK!!

allnurses Guide

ghillbert, MSN, NP

3,796 Posts

Specializes in CTICU.

This should be easily resolved - either you sent the email with the midterm attached, or you didn't. If you did, there will be email logs showing the sent email and the time. If you didn't, then you did turn it in late.


1,078 Posts

Specializes in ER.

To clarify for the poster that thought it's not convenient for the professor to stay up until midnight:

The system they are using probably allows the professor to automatically "release" an assignment at any time and to close it at any time. Thus, the professor probably didn't need to be awake.

Its common courtesy when teaching online to list which 24 hour period you refer to. Every student who will be completing this assignment has a specific reason they are doing it at that specific time.

The professor sounds like she is playing the victim to cover her rear end. Try not to make it worse by attacking her (or him?) just remain calm and press your case without being aggressive.

Good luck!


111 Posts

Yes, I think so too!! My professor has been teaching the class for over four years, she stated in her email, she does everything by her syallbus. Okay, if she stands by her syallbus she should of had that midterm posted. She know that I am a Senior and she is trying to mess with me. I can't graduate without this class.

ImMrBill3, RN

116 Posts

Specializes in ICU, Home Health Care, End of Life, LTC.

This whole thread irks me because it reminds me of the double standard. The professor can make a mistake that effects all the students and this simply to be accepted and accommodated. Something scheduled in advance is not done properly and is rescheduled on the spot with no consultation or consideration beforehand, individuals must personally ask for adjustments as a favor. On the other hand any difficulty a student has they are held accountable. OOOO this makes me mad, particularly in nursing school where we are supposed to be learning accountability as nurses from nurses. Fortunately in most instances I have found things handled with some humility and courtesy get worked out OK where I go to school.

BTW this may serve as a good lesson in Chain of Command. Attempt resolution at the initial level before moving up the chain. I think some more work with the professor would have been the right idea before going to the dept head. Teachers like nurses have a lot of autonomy and it is threatened when management is involved.

Good luck on working this out. As others said stay professional, calm, cool and goal focused. It's your goal to get this resolved not to correct your unjust treatment right?


111 Posts

You are sure right about that. I just look @ my grades this afternoon. Guess what? She gave me a 60% for that assignment the lowest grade I have ever got through this quarter. I also was waiting for two other grades and the other two were 70 and 60. I bet she talked to her Dept. Chair. I am so mad right now. I can believe this. She put my % average as 51.6% overall and I calcutated all the grades myself and I should have about an 81% with the grades that she recently posted. I am so mad.

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