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Posted at 02:14 PM ET, 09/11/2012

Did prof go too far by breast-feeding sick baby while lecturing?

An assistant anthropology professor at American University in the nation’s capital is saying that students who criticized her for breast-feeding her sick child while she was lecturing created a “hostile work environment” for her.

Did they really?

My colleague Nick Anderson details what happened in this article about Adrienne Pine and what happened one day when she was teaching a course called “Sex, Gender & Culture.”

(You couldn’t have picked a more perfect class for this issue, right?)

Pine became incensed when student journalists from the university’s newspaper, the Eagle, asked her about the incident, and she wrote a scathing piece on counterpunch.com, which you can read here. She titled it, “The Dialectics of Breastfeeding on Campus: Exposéing my Breasts on the Internet,” and blasted the journalists for even questioning her about it.

She said she was a single mother with a sick child and no place to leave the child, so she opted to bring the baby to school.

She ordinarily took the child to daycare but wasn’t allowed to because the child was sick and there was fear other children would get sick too. This, of course, begs the question about why the professor thought it was okay to bring a sick baby to her classroom and let the child crawl on the ground.

She could have, of course, canceled the class, but she didn’t.

Why don’t students have a right to be unhappy about a professor bringing to class a sick baby?

Is it fair to ask why the professor didn’t turn over her class to her assistant — who spent time holding the baby — while she breast-fed, so she could give her full attention to lecturing?

Seems like it to me.

What do you think?

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By  |  02:14 PM ET, 09/11/2012

 
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