Memories of Awe Episode 10

Liz was curious about two phrases that Professor McKown had used to describe himself. First, he thought of himself as an awe enabler, but he also commented, rather proudly, that he was compliance challenged. She wanted to ask him more about these two phrases.

LJ: Can you describe what you mean by compliance challenged and how it connects to being an awe enabler?

KMcK:  Certainly, as I was entering the building today I picked up the latest edition of our college’s quarterly magazine. That brought back the memory of Antoine.

I first met Antoine when he was a freshman. He had gotten himself into serious trouble by selling marijuana from his dorm room. He had been arrested and was facing suspension from the University.

LJ: What did he want from you?

KMcK: Mostly advice. This was a tough call for me. I hate the drug culture on campus, so I didn’t have much sympathy for Antoine. I did agree to talk with his parents, who were as upset as I was about what Antoine had done. His parents were good people, and Antoine was well supported. Neither his parents nor I could understand why Antoine would do what he did. One thing that I came to believe was that Antoine was genuinely resourceful and this was a crucible moment in his life.

I helped connect Antoine and his parents with a local attorney who helped students in this kind of situation. The University was not happy with me. They would rather cower students who had no support.

LJ: What happened?

KMcK: Antoine went before a University Judicial Board. The local Magistrate had already given Antoine a sentence of community service and probation. He would be able to remain in school if the Judicial Board so ruled. I wrote him a supportive letter and agreed to meet with him weekly to help him.

He was suspended for a year. The Judicial Board, in its ruling, said that Antoine had no right to my time. I guess they felt they were the best judge of how I should spend my time.


KMcK: I think you will find that other than the U.S. Congress there are no greater hypocrites than those who have chosen to be administrators in our universities. They are class conscious but individual blind.

LJI’m curious, what happened to Antoine?

KMcK:  He spent his year on suspension and returned to get his degree. At the beginning of his senior year he was featured in our college magazine for the outstanding work he had done on his internship. Nowhere in the article was there any mention of the barrier that the University had put in front of him as a freshman.

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“If you’re white and you’re wrong, then you’re wrong; if you’re black and you’re wrong, you’re wrong. People are people. Black, blue, pink, green – God make no rules about color; only society make rules where my people suffer, and that why we must have redemption and redemption now.” – Bob Marley (singer)

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