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Illustration by Liene Magdalēna

Without STEM students for tech support, Humanities Professor cancels lecture

STEM students need to start enrolling in humanities classes to support their professors and peers.

Mar 16, 2019

Last Tuesday, Cultural Exploration and Analysis Core Professor Lex Luddite canceled the midterm review lecture 15 minutes into class because no STEM student was available to set up the projector. Given that only Engineering and Computer Science students are capable of using digital technology, the hapless professor gave up on his humanities students and walked out the door, presumably to read a book transcribed by hand in a monastery.
Trouble began as soon as Luddite entered the classroom. Despite the fact that he lectures with powerpoint slides eight times a week, he struggled to find the right adapter cord to fit his computer. After several minutes of suffering, he finally matched the cable and port only to discover that the projector wasn’t turned on.
“Alright,” he announced with an air of contempt, “any engineers here who can fix this?”
No answer.
“You’re right, what I need is a computer scientist!” 16 sets of eyes continued to stare blankly at their laptops.
“Fine.” proclaimed Luddite, “I’ll take anyone in STEM!” He began looking intently at Math student Taylor Ceres.
“Oh, I only do things that are abstract.” replied Ceres. “This is practical application. Quite beneath me if I say so myself.”
Frustrated by the charade, film student Damien Gazelle stood up and approached the lectern.
Flattered, but disappointed, Luddite politely declined Gazelle’s help, saying “You spend all your time handling thousands of dollars of recording equipment and editing software, what could you possibly know about technical troubleshooting? Also, while we’re at it, can anybody tell me how to print?”
Given that none of the students had studied computer engineering, all of them were completely unqualified to play around with the control pad until things worked. His frustration piqued, Luddite canceled the lecture, telling everyone he’d fax them the slides before the exam.
Several previous students confirm this behavior is not new. Recalling an incident last semester, Civil Engineering student Jeff Bridges said, “Luddite asked me to fix his phone with no context of what the problem was. I just turned if off and on again, then doubled the text size for good measure. He thanked me for my sorcery and bumped my grade up ten points. After I told him what I actually study he invited me over to his apartment to assemble some IKEA furniture.”
Computer Science student Ayusta Koverflo was similarly conscripted for her technical knowledge. “Thank goodness Intro to Computer Science is just us reading a bunch of user manuals” exclaimed Koverflo, “how else could we give such invaluable tech support to all our family, friends and faculty? Forget a career in cyber security, this is why I wanted to get my degree!”
Indeed, we all should be very grateful that in a day and age when every member of the student body has grown up with an intuitive understanding of user-interfaces and technical troubleshooting that STEM majors can save us with their superior digital prowess.
As we all know, unless you have taken Engineering Ethics, Foundations of Science, and spent all your spare time in the Engineering Design Studio, you're of no use trying to figure out which port the HDMI cable plugs into. The only reason we even have an IT department is because too many people drop FoS to keep up with demand.
Such STEM shortages, especially in the arts and humanities have grave consequences for the student experience. An unnamed associate professor confirmed that, “Class discussions serve no real pedagogical purpose. We just don’t know how to project lecture slides and our students are useless with technology. Discussion is all that’s left.”
It appears that Luddite is not alone. Dozens of professors are completely dependant on STEM students to change the thermostat or to get the lights to stay dim for more than thirty seconds when watching a video.
It is therefore the responsibility of all STEM students to play another octave and enroll in arts and humanities courses. It is their duty to rescue NYU Abu Dhabi’s future baristas and their professors from technological backwater. When selecting classes for next semester, STEM majors must think of the greater good.
Ian Hoyt is a satire columnist. Email him at
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