The Backdoor is a work of fiction and humor.
YOU SEE THEM every semester. They exchange knowing glances in your 9:10. They hang out at the door after class to chat, making plans to meet up and discuss that upcoming paper. And you’re pretty sure you saw them getting a beer together at Shift Drinks last weekend.
But these aren’t freshmen in the throes of spring puppy love or old senior pals enjoying their last class together — it’s just your average student-professor friendship at Lewis & Clark College. With the college’s small classes that cater specifically to the skills of each instructor, it should come as no surprise that many undergraduates develop impactful relationships with their favorite teachers. But there’s a thin line between respectful reverence and frenzied idolatry. And as students begin to fully immerse themselves in their studies to prepare for finals, they may find themselves slipping into fanaticism for their favorite professors.
We reached out to that annoying kid in your French class, Theo Witclyffe ’22, to discuss his friendship with Professor Jessamine Moreau. Though she’s been at LC for 15 years, Moreau is best known for the wide array of award-winning literature she’s published in English, French and Russian — which doesn’t seem to have had any effect on Witclyffe’s decision to greet her with “Yo, Teach!” every morning.
“God, she’s so cool,” Witclyffe said. “She’s, like, a mad famous author or something. And she gave me an A- on my last quiz, so that means I’m pretty much a mad famous author too.”
Witclyffe re-adjusted the polyester beret he got on Amazon for five dollars before proceeding.
“You could say we’re pretty tight, y’know?” Witclyffe said.
Professor Moreau expressed a similar fondness for Witclyffe, even if her admiration was a bit more muted.
“Did you say Leo Witclyffe?” Moreau said. “Which class is he in?”
Moreau then attempted to find him on WebAdvisor. The acclaimed author commended Witclyffe’s dedication to perfecting the participe passé verb tense once his picture appeared on her screen, with some exceptions.
“He would do well to complete at least some of the required MyFrenchLab exercises,” Moreau said.
Witclyffe seemed unconcerned when asked about his unfinished homework, stating it was “chill” if he didn’t turn in his assignments.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure Jess’ll be fine with it if I just go into her office hours,” Witclyffe said. He shrugged when reminded of Moreau’s strict deadline policy, reminding the Backdoor reporter that they were “pretty tight.”
“I was gonna get around to it last night, but then I started watching her old TEDx videos,” Witclyffe said. “She has this really good one about the timeless subversiveness of the cigarette, so naturally I had to go out and buy a pack of Newports.”
This decision did not go unnoticed by Witclyffe’s fellow students, who claim that he “smelled pretty fuckin’ bad” throughout the last week.
“I saw him chainsmoking by the gazebo right before class on Wednesday,” Gabbie Michaelson ’21 said. “It’s like he wants us to know he’s a smoker or something.”
Whether this tactic was successful, however, is questionable — when the Backdoor reporter attempted to follow up with Professor Moreau on this story, she seemed to have forgotten who Witclyffe was again.