Red Flag? This Syllabus Includes Assignments

The Haystack received a tip this morning with some troubling information about the class syllabus for History 355. According to Connor Fernandez ‘22, a student in the class, the syllabus mentions that at multiple points during the semester, students will be expected to complete work and turn it in for a grade.

Professor Amelia Collins claims this is not the first semester she has used assignments as part of her course. She told us she was open to rethinking and altering some of her assignments if students had concerns, but implied that didn’t mean she would eliminate all assignments completely, saying “No, why the fuck would I mean that?” She then asked our reporter if they had ever taken a class before.

Perhaps the most troubling revelation from our interview with Professor Collins is that she admitted to being aware that most students don’t want to do assignments. It seems she assigns work against students’ wishes in some sort of sadistic ritual, which she described as “Sort of just the way classes work, right? I’m not really sure what you guys are asking me about right now.”

Worse yet, none of the assignments for the class are optional. You literally have to do them, even if you’re tired, or sad, or high. And based on the brief look we got at the syllabus, you’re not going to want to do any of them. Most of them are writing and the only one where you get to do a skit in front of the class is only worth five percent of your grade and the instructions say “THESE ARE NOT COMEDY SKETCHES. YOUR TASK IS TO ACCURATELY PORTRAY THE PRACTICE OF WITCH BURNING. ANY STUDENTS WHO INCLUDE JOKES IN THEIR SKETCH WILL RECEIVE A ZERO.”

Our clever reporters also noticed something suspicious in the specific details of the course’s assignments. On some days students are expected to read things, while on other days they are expected to write things. Naturally, we asked Collins whether this was supposed to be a reading class or a writing class.

“The papers are about the readings,” Collins told our reporter very quietly, holding her head in her hands. “Please just get out of my house. I can trim down some of the readings if that will make you stop. Are you even in the class?”

The Haystack Editorial Board implores any students currently enrolled in HIST 355 to drop the course immediately. Based on our interviews with students in the class and on the copy of the syllabus that we read, we are over 50% certain that this course includes as many as four mandatory, graded, non-comedy assignments. It’s just not worth it. Show yourself some love and just enroll in PE badminton instead. You deserve it.


Lucy Walker     Noah Cohen-Greenberg     Sam Mermin