Change of Grade

From: Colin Drake [colin.drake@tilton.edu]
To: Victor Worsley. [vworsley@tilton.edu]
Re: My Grade

Professor Worsley,

I am very concerned about my final grade in your class. You did not give me a passing grade, even though I turned in my assignments. I have gotten top grades in all of my classes, this is the first class where I didn’t get an A. I hope you will consider my hard work and that i did turn in my assignments and change my grade.

Colin Drake

 

From: Victor Worsley [vworsley@tilton.edu]
To: Colin Drake [colin.drake@tilton.edu]
Re: RE: My Grade

Dear Colin,

Thanks for your note. I can understand your concern about your grade. You did turn in your assignments; however, as I mentioned in the feedback, most of them were not complete. Incomplete assignments do not receive full credit. If you have questions about what was expected for each assignment, you may wish to review the rubrics that I provided at the beginning of the course. Please let me know if you have other questions.

Regards,

Victor Worsley
 

From: Colin Drake [colin.drake@tilton.edu]
To: Victor Worsley [vworsley@tilton.edu]
Re: RE: My Grade

Professor Worsley,

I did read the rubrics. But i turned in my assignments and i worked very hard in class. I think my hard work should be worth points and i should not be docked just because I missed some things on the assignments. Please change my grade.

Colin Drake

 

From: Victor Worsley [vworsley@tilton.edu]
To: Colin Drake [colin.drake@tilton.edu]
Re: RE: My Grade

Dear Colin,

Thanks for your note. School policy does not allow changes of grade except for very specific situations, such as work being submitted, but not receiving a grade. That didn’t happen in your case, so your grade cannot be changed. You’re welcome to consult the Tilton catalogue if you have questions about grade change policies.

Regards,

Victor Worsley

 

From: Colin Drake [colin.drake@tilton.edu]
To: Victor Worsley [vworsley@tilton.edu]
Re: RE: My Grade

So can I turn in the other parts of my assignments now and get points?

 

From: Victor Worsley [vworsley@tilton.edu]
To: Colin Drake [colin.drake@tilton.edu]
Re: RE: My Grade

Dear Colin,

Thanks for your note. Our course has ended, and final grades have been submitted. So, at this point, no new work can be turned in. Please let me know if you have other questions.

Regards,

Victor Worsley

 

From: Colin Drake [colin.drake@tilton.edu]
To: Victor Worsley [vworsley@tilton.edu]
Re: RE: My Grade

This isn’t fair, I need an A. If I fail this course i could lose my student loan and then what am i supposed to do? I’ll be on academic probation, too, i don’t want that to happen. There has to be something you can do.

 

From: Victor Worsley [vworsley@tilton.edu]
To: Colin Drake [colin.drake@tilton.edu]
Re: RE: My Grade

Dear Colin,

Thanks for your note. I’m sorry to hear of your situation, but there isn’t anything I can do at this point. The class will be offered again in the fall term, and you can re-take it then. My understanding is that if you do, your grade in that class will replace the grade you got in this one. I hope this is helpful.

Regards,

Victor Worsley

 

From: Colin Drake [colin.drake@tilton.edu]
To: Victor Worsley [vworsley@tilton.edu]
Re: RE: My Grade

Its not helpful at all. I’ll still be on academic probation. If you don’t do something to fix this i can make big trouble for you.

 

From: Victor Worsley [vworsley@tilton.edu]
To: Andrew Coughlin [acoughlin@tilton.edu]
Fwd: Re: RE: My Grade

Hi, Andy,

I’ve got a situation with a student that I think could be a problem. Could you read the email string and see what you think would be the best choice? I’d be glad of your input.

Thanks,

Vic
 

From: Andrew Coughlin [acoughlin@tilton.edu]
To: Victor Worsley [vworsley@tilton.edu]
RE:  Fwd: Re: RE: My Grade

Hi, Vic,

I can see why you’re concerned. Why not set up a meeting with the student? I can mediate, and maybe we can figure something out. If we can’t, we can at least connect him with Student Services or something.

Take care,

Andy

 

From: Victor Worsley [vworsley@tilton.edu]
To: Andrew Coughlin [acoughlin@tilton.edu]
RE:  Fwd: Re: RE: My Grade

Thanks, Andy! I’ll set it up.

Vic

 

Three o’clock. Right on time, Victor thought as he heard the footsteps. He wasn’t sure exactly how he could help Colin Drake, but at least with Andy’s help, he might be able to de-escalate the situation. And it wasn’t as though he wanted the kid to lose student loan money. His hands were tied, that was all.

The footsteps in the hall got closer. It was taking a long time for Colin to find his office door. The back of Victor’s neck prickled a bit as he listened. He was being ridiculous, he knew. But Colin had been pretty angry, and you heard those stories about students losing it. He shook his head, annoyed with himself for feeling uneasy. Then came the soft knock on the door.

‘Come in,’ Victor called. The door creaked open.
‘I’m glad you could make it,’ Victor said without looking up.
‘No problem,’ came the answer. Then Victor did look up.

Seven minutes later, Colin Drake rushed frantically past the department secretary as he headed towards the building’s exit.
‘What was that?’ she asked.
‘Who knows?’ Andy Coughlin answered. He smiled to himself just a little as he got the rest of the memos, reminders and advertisements out of his department post box. It had been easy. He’d gotten to the meeting just before that kid did. There was no way that goddamned Victor Worsley was going to edge him out for Department Chair. And that stupid kid was the perfect patsy. Andy’d seen the emails. Colin was pissed off, right at the scene, and who’d be able to be sure those weren’t his hands around Vic’s neck?

50 Comments

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50 responses to “Change of Grade

  1. Nice twist. Academia can be vicious.

  2. Christine Hammar

    Wow 😳

  3. I love stories made up of emails (or letters or journal entries). And I would not have guessed the ending.

  4. I was really gripped, Margot! And the first few emails were all too familiar from my own time as an academic. Luckily no-one attempted to murder me . . .

    • I’m very glad, too, Christine! And thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you found the story engaging. I think anyone who’s worked with uni students could tell stories about emails like some of these…

  5. Spade & Dagger

    A sneaky twist indeed 🙂

  6. You remind me of why I quit teaching. I would have become homicidal if I remained for another semester in academia. There were so many candidates for homicide!
    BTW, the fictional student would get a failing grade from me because of his inability to write sentences without grammar and punctuation errors.

    • I have to agree with you, Tim, that that student’s notes were certainly unprofessional, including the grammar and so on. And there is a lot of pressure from students when it comes to grades. It’s a tough thing for today’s faculty.

  7. mudpuddle

    creepy… “who knows what evil lurks…”

  8. Great twist, Margot – loved this! Haha – I am deeply concerned about your work environment though. Are you sure you’ve chosen the right career path? Maybe we could set up a meeting to discuss it… 😉

    • Noooo! Not a meeting, FictionFan!! 😉 – And yes, academia can be a very – erm – stressful environment. Thanks very much for the kind words – I’m glad you liked the story.

  9. Margot: I enjoyed reading the story. When I was done I wondered if the evil Andy will be undone by a clever police officer asking who benefits from Victor’s death not merely who was visibly upset with Victor. Might there be a student or administrative assistant lurking who observed Andy’s entrance to Victor’s office?

    • Thanks, Bill. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. As it happens, Tilton has several competent police detectives. Whoever is assigned to look into this case will definitely seek out who benefits from Victor’s death. And I’ll bet that detective would talk to the department secretary (who saw Andy in the area), and anyone else who might have been around. Andy’d better hope he’s a lot luckier than he’s likely to be…

  10. Col

    Enjoyed it Margot. You just can’t trust those academic types!

  11. NIce! Great twist at the end 😀

  12. Very nice twist, Margot! Loved it.

  13. Yikes, Margot, that could have been ripped right from the news headlines. So close to home you can imagine it happening. Well done, that was quite chilling.

  14. Love the twist ending! Climbing the Academia ladder can be killer. 😉

  15. Well, I just commented on an earlier post of yours, saying I would love to read a string of emails that led to murder! Did you read my mind and foretell the future 😉 ? We can only hope that Tilton College might just contain an academic who is an expert on criminology who might get to investigate this crime and see justice done. Can you think of anyone like that?

    • Hmm…..I may know of someone who could take a look at the case and offer a suggestion or two, Moira… And, no, I didn’t really foretell the future – or at least not that I’m willing to admit 😉 . There is just something about an email string, isn’t there? There are lots of possibilities when it comes to plot and character development, and it has the immediacy that, perhaps, a set of letters might not.

  16. Great one, Margot. I didn’t see that coming. You get an A! 🙂
    –Michael

  17. Reblogged this on MotiveMeansOpportunity and commented:
    Short-short story by Mystery Writer/Blogger Margot Kinberg:

  18. Success at any price. The ugly side of ambition. Great twist. Very creative and an evil little read 🙂

    • Thanks very much, MJ. I’m so glad you liked this. And trust you to know that evil is a compliment to a crime writer… 😉 You’re right, too; ambition can have a very ugly side…

      • Gotta question: Let’s say I am a level 1 (newbie) author of crime fiction, and professor Kinberg is a level 20 author of crime fiction; Is there a table or list of ‘averages by level’ concerning the number of careers ruined & lives wracked? ;->

        • I think crime writers, regardless of their experience, do ruin a lot of fictional lives, Andrè.

        • A.M. Pietroschek

          I was a bit brain-wiped due watching the ‘Castle’ TV series about the ‘unholy alliance aka romance’ between Richard Castle & Catherine Beckett. I did not mean to imply criminal insanity in crime writers, more that we actually learn a certain kinda ‘killer instinct’ to become good, convincing, and entertaining in crime fiction. Thank you once again.

        • Crime writers definitely need to understand how a person who kills (for whatever reason) might think, Andrè.

        • A.M. Pietroschek

          Yes, but i had an overdose of morons who worship slasher & splatter in a mindless, drunk & drugged kinda way. One reason I enjoy vacation from rednecks, ruffians, and street criminals (they form my normalcy often enough).

        • You have a solid point, Andrè, that those sorts of plots are not engaging the way thoughtful plots are.

        • A.M. Pietroschek

          Yes, that and the audience it attracts or thwarts. Some cultivation & education DO belong to society, and the immaturity of younger authors is a prayer answered by real criminals, not some ephemeral figure in a supposed hell glorified by Dante. I meant it, on envying you, for I long learned to cherish the existing without condemning the new.

  19. I like it, though I must pick careful words for feedback here, having been run-thru like that did make me another university-dropout, in real life, after all. Most costly failure of income options so far… *lol*

    ‘victoria est mortis’ for Victor. A skilled way of making transparent how the cowardice not to tell people straight: “I don’t want to help you.” could backfire.

    My real life research on crime scene investigation is not yet far enough, but Andy could be nailed, even by the law (string: Who profits from the murder?). Though I stick with it: Real criminals must fear aka safeguard against the competition ten times more than worrying about police.

    Colin Drake is a classic by himself, too. So burdened with problems unresolved that anything outside the own focus was overlooked, leaving him unaware of the fact that caution needs clear senses.

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