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Guy Complains To College Lecturer After Female Classmate Shuts Down His ‘Irrelevant’ Questions

A young man stares in shock and points behind him to the left
Aaron Amat/Getty Images

School presentations are not everyone’s cup of tea.

Standing up in a room full of peers -many still strangers- having to be fully knowledgeable about a particular topic can be frightening.

People have anxiety and lifelong nightmares about it.

That’s why it can be daunting when someone decides to make it more difficult.

Case in point…

Redditor Huge-Still-5737 wanted to discuss her experience and get some feedback. So naturally, she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

She asked:

“AITA for embarrassing a guy in my lecture by telling him I’m not going to answer his questions?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I (20 F[emale]) had to do a group presentation as part of my end-of-year assignment and I think it mostly went great.”

“The presentation was 15 minutes minimum with a 15-minute question session afterward.”

“There’s one guy in my course (John- 21 M[ale]) who many people in the course dislike.”

“He’s the epitome of a ‘well actually guy’ who likes to be the devil’s advocate for things that shouldn’t have a devil’s advocate.”

“He’s embarrassed himself more than once by asking ridiculous and pointless questions to our professors that have no relevance and he’s very full of himself.”

“I’m aware that this all may seem harsh, but this has been consistent behavior for the past 2 years and his smarminess has isolated himself from many people in our course who don’t want to deal with him.”

“After our presentation, he says he has ‘several questions’ and proceeds to ask some of the most irrelevant questions.”

“For example, in the presentation, I mentioned that one of my inspirations for the project was a trend in 2020 where grown men (usually 30-40-year-olds) would duet teenage girls (13-17) TikToks mocking them.”

“From how they liked their coffee to their prom dresses.”

“John’s question was ‘Don’t you think they should get criticism for posting online?'”

“Not only was this not relevant to the project, but you could sense the tension in the room.”

“So many people rolled their eyes and even his friend gave him a ‘shut up’ nudge.”

“After a few more questions which were all directed at me, not the other 3 people in the group, I admittedly got annoyed and said ‘Listen, mate. I’m not going to answer any more questions from you. You’re clearly trying to grasp at straws here.'”

“The rest of the questions from our other peers were great and actually of substance.”

“And overall, I feel the whole thing went well other than that one hiccup.”

“As we were leaving the hall, I hear John complaining to some of his friends and then I saw him going to talk to our lecturer.”

“I got an email from our professor asking me to join a TEAMs meeting where I was expected to apologize for ‘embarrassing’ John and something about how we were supposed to create a ‘safe space’ for our fellow peers.”

“And by being rude I didn’t do that.”

“He said if we can sort it out before Thursday (tomorrow) by ourselves, then great.”

“So I sent John a quick message saying I didn’t mean to be short with him but he was clearly asking pointless questions.”

“He just replied ‘You didn’t have to be a b**ch about it’ and then blocked me.”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“NTA. Write down the questions John was asking, as exactly as possible.”

“Get help from others present, if you can – ask them how they felt about John’s questions.”

“Take this to the TEAMS meeting.”

“Say you responded to several of them, though they had no direct relevance to the project, there WERE only 15 minutes for questions and you felt that John was not creating a safe space for the others in the room by asking these kinds of questions.”

“Read out your approach to him and his reply.”

“Ask how much time John SHOULD have got for those questions, how you SHOULD have replied in answer to them.”

“Ask how you could have created a safe space for the WHOLE group.”

“Oh, and please update. Please.”  ~ Enough-Process9773

“DING DING DING! This is the angle right here.”

“They insisted on making her communicate with him, and he called her a b**ch.”

“They need to hear about this sh*t and rethink how much condoning of the sh**heads of the world they want to do.”

“The professors do not understand that THEY work at the university and the OP does NOT.”

“THEY are supposed to be creating a safe space for her at least as much as they are for John, and they want to blame her for their being idiots.”  ~ ManaFrmHeaven

“I have been a corporate trainer and adjunct professor for the past 30 years.”

“I’m here to tell you there’s at least one John in every class.”

“Your prof should know this, and in addition to mentoring you on your presentation content, they should also be mentoring you on presentation style.”

“As John continued to get wound up, they should have seen you getting into the weeds and stepped in to stop it.”

“The end.”

“The demand for you to apologize and have a STEP meeting about it is totally unnecessary and allowed John to call you a b**ch (I hope you saved that email for the meeting) and offered him yet another opportunity to gain attention.”

“NTA. You did the best you could, and that prof made the situation worse.”

“The way I handle my ‘Johns’ in class is after they’ve hit the two question/comment mark, I’ll say something like ‘OK John, I’ll take one more question, but then we really need to move on so we can get to some of the others in the class.'”

“‘But, I appreciate your feedback.’” ~ hugosmommy

“The whole quote is ‘It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex.'”

“‘Harassment can include ‘sexual harassment’ or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.”

“Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex.”

“For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.'”

“And I’m not trying to be difficult, but I think it’s worded weirdly – they change from the term sexual harassment in the first paragraph to just the word harassment in the second.'”

“‘So I’m a bit confused as to if it’s still counted under S[exual] H[arrassment] and feel free to clarify.'”

“If this is the legal definition of sexual harassment, I’m happy for this a-hole to be slapped with that label, and I think he should face harsh consequences.”

“And the professor should face some as well and take some sort of anti-discrimination seminar because it screams lazy and complicit never to have addressed the frequent interruptions of class that clearly is sexist in nature.”

“The OP should absolutely be reporting this series of events to someone higher up the food chain at this school.” ~ Glad-Talk

“Tip for now and the future: CYA. Cover Your A**.”

“When something is happening you don’t agree with, document everything to protect yourself from fallout.”

“Someone in class is purposely trying to discredit and invalidate people?”

“Make records of their actions to show your complaint is the tip of the problem.”

“Something at work seems dodgy?”

“Make sure you have records of you sharing your concerns with higher-ups, so when sh*t hits the fan, you’ve got proof you did all you could to avoid it and were ignored.”

“Good luck.” ~ Turbojelly

“NTA. Under those circumstances, experienced lecturers have fob-off phrases that are politer than yours.”

“‘That is beyond the scope of this presentation’ or ‘I’d love to take more of your questions, but I’d like to get questions from other students too,’ then look at the other students for help.”

“‘Or’ that’s an interesting question, but discussion on that would take up more time than we have here.'”

“You get the idea. He’s a pain, but there is one in every group.”

“You need a polite but firm shutdown phrase, see how your lecturers handle similar situations, and make a mental note.” ~ anemoschaos

“I was thinking what a ridiculous thing for you to get in trouble for until I saw that he called you a b**ch, and I realized you’re a woman.”

“If a man had shut him down there would be no further action from anyone. NTA.” ~ attabe123

“Soooo… that TEAM meeting, no one pointed out that that question was…”

“1- Unrelated to the discussion at hand, and…”

“2 (and more important) essentially virtue shaming those girls?”

“HE NEEDS A SAFE SPACE, MY A**!!” NTA.”  ~ palabradot

“NTA. You were creating a safe space by preventing all the eyeballs in the classroom from being permanently stuck in the reverse position.”  ~ HIOP-Sartre

OP came back with an update…

“There were 3 guys and 1 girl (me) in the group, and the professor is a guy also.”

“To everyone asking why I didn’t handle this ‘professionally’…”

“This is the first time I’ve done something like this, and I was already nervous because of the grade/assignment aspect, and I get major stage anxiety.”

“This was the first time in my whole life that I’ve had to do an academic presentation.”

Well, OP, it sounds like Reddit is with you.

You did the best you could.

You weren’t rude, just to the point.

Hopefully, this will all be resolved peacefully.