Introduction to American Politics - Discussion

Aug 2020

I genuinely don't understand how so many people could have such positive experiences with this professor, to be perfectly honest. I do think it's likely because he's a liberal centrist that feeds into the messed up narrative that white liberals love to cling to that the American government will be able to save us from itself, and that the real issue that exists today in the world is not, in fact, colonization, imperialism, and racial capitalism, but rather the fact that us leftists don't "reach across the aisle enough" to a political party which actively seeks to oppress and kill oppressed people and marginalized groups. Yes, the issue is that I am not tolerant enough of racist homophobes, not that racist homophobes are given respect, a platform, and wreak havoc on the world by upholding white supremacy through violent actions and microaggressions. I have some very complicated feelings about this man. At a point, due to my depression, it was very hard to make it to this 8:40 lecture, while I knew that I would be gaslit into thinking that racism in government isn't the issue, but rather our unwillingness to respect different ideas. In one of our discussion sections, he genuinely had us speak with a local Republican party member from Wisconsin (no hate for Wisconsin, of course, just want to indicate this person isn't from NYC) who didn't believe in climate change, and even at the end of that conversation, he still told us we "needed to reach accross the aisle". He sought out favorites who aligned with his beliefs,and it was at times interesting but also very draining to hear this man's take on politics that genuinely posessed zero nuance or respect for people of marginalized identities. I learned very little about how the government worked in the United States because the whole time I was in this class, I was fielding subtly or explicitly bigoted blanket statements made by this man, or defending basic human rights for all people in my discussion section. My TA wasn't great, but that really isn't that big of a deal to me honestly, PhD students are criminally overworked and underpaid and so if this required TA position isn't the top of your priority list, so what. I wasn't in class for this, but multiple people gave accounts of him saying things like, "If you haven't gotten arrested yet, you should try it sometime" and also, when he was talking about marginalized groups and social movements and their push for rights, he imitated being handcuffed and like pressed his head against the desk in the lecture hall like he was leaning against a cop car, and screamed, "Help, I'm being oppressed", or something similarly problematic and racist. It was very easy to feel gaslit by the course material and his attitude towards things such as social justice, and the way he spoke about Bernie Sanders (this was before all hell broke loose in this election that I took this, btw) ws like he truly didn't respect him or respect people's desire for a president that actually gave a crap about their citizens. This is just some of the microaggressions that made me dread coming to class, and going to my discussion section. All in all, he's a very problematic guy, and I don't know why everyone keeps recommending him to each other. This class GENUINELY made me stop pursuing the Political Science and pre-law track, because of how much I couldn't stand how problematic he was, and my fear of poli sci being that cold and far removed from any concept of compassion for other human beings. 0/10 recommend. Do not take this class.

Jan 2020

Gustavo is a really good TA! Super chill, laid back and he tries to grade fairly on exams. Going to office hours will really help because he answers all of your questions. In discussions he gives everyone space to speak and lets the students decide what they want to focus on. Has great knowledge on the classes he's taking and is very nice. He also spends lots of class time going over the exam questions (for Professor Miller Intro to American Politics class) Would very much recommend.

Dec 2014

Best TA I've ever had. Super smart guy (joint PhD-JD student, what even) who really wants us to learn the material. He knows the ins and outs of how professor Phillips teaches, and has an uncanny ability for predicting the material on the tests. Interesting discussions in class, really flexible and kind. Would recommend if he's TAing again.

Jan 2010

David is a fantastic TA. First of all he is truly passionate in his field and has a great deal of knowledge in the subject. He is very down to earth, approachable, and kind. It is clear that he is a TA because he is looking to work with students and goes to great lengths to stress how available he is to meet with them. Having met with him a few times I can say he is extremely helpful and invested in ensuring that every student is given the opportunity to do their best work. He prepares students well for the test and is a far grader. He literally makes himself available till midnight the night before major assignments. He also brings food to discussion, which is not particularly painful at all (at times it is good), which is rare given the shenanigans that often occur in huge lecture sections. He is one of the best TAs I have had in three years in the university and I cannot say enough good things.

Jan 2009

David is an incredible TA and if you have the chance to get into his section, do it. For a student who does most of the work, is cordial and can get down to incessant pop culture references, David will do anything in his power to help you out. He will meet with his students anytime and respond to e-mails and questions promptly. Also, his review sections the night before the midterms and the final were godsends. He is dedicated, knowledgeable, personable and a great teacher.