By Ishitaa Chopra
Undergraduate economics students at Ryerson University have gone on a strike as of Wednesday morning after reports that a tenured professor has been ghosting her students.
Economics professor Stella Parker has faced severe student discontent in recent weeks. Students have complained about late replies to emails, specifically on urgent matters like extensions and exam deadlines. Some said her coyly ambiguous responses can take over two weeks to receive.
“[Parker’s] conduct is absolutely unprofessional. She’s gatekeeping me from girlbossing my way through this class with her gaslighting,” said third-year student Vanessa Stark.
As part of their strike methods, students have been writing reviews of Parker on the website Rate My Professors.
One particularly striking review says that Parker responded to a question about her office hours on D2L, writing “i would LOVE to meet up but thursdays aren’t great for me. chat soon though xoxo.”
“i would love to meet up but thursdays aren’t great for me. chat soon though xoxo”
Second-year student George Grey said if there’s one thing Gen Z knows how to do, it’s wage war online.
“What are they going to do? Keep badly rated professors in their university?” they said.
It is still unclear when the students plan to stop their strike against the economics department. Professors claim the strike has had an immense impact on class hours and attendance. Students have not been showing up to classes on time and some haven’t been coming to them at all.
“It has been a barren ground; yesterday, there were no more than ten students in my class,” economics professor Meredith Rogers said. “When the semester started, there were no more than eleven students.” At this time, it’s unclear whether these absences are related to the strike.
Many students have also reported passive-aggressive behaviour from Parker. Grey compares the professor to a walking red flag—apparently, worse than their ex.
“It’s the type of stuff that makes you want to scream,” Grey said. “I asked her for an extension for my take-home midterm because I was sick, and she responded two weeks after the deadline, writing, ‘Don’t you think you’re overreacting?’”
Since this morning students have compiled a list of Parker’s emailed replies and posted them on TikTok with the trending song abcdefu by Gayle. Hashtags in the captions include #MoreToxicThanYourEx, #E-ConArtist, #Economizer and #RyersonsCostofInflation.
Some of the featured replies shown in the video included: “Why would you think that? What does that say about you?”; “I think you’re being a little too emotional right now. I guess I’ll have to repeat myself since you can’t remember…”. Approximately 50 compilation videos have been posted of Parker’s replies.
More than 20 per cent of students have dropped Parker’s class since the start of the semester, and many students are still trying to drop the course, despite it being a requirement for the program.
“I just want to leave his class. I am tired of microaggressions in microeconomics,” Stark said.
Parker did not respond to multiple interview requests in time for publication. The Eyeopener anticipates this article will be updated with her comments in about two weeks.