MORSE AUDITORIUM—Last Thursday, Professor Murray’s Oceanography course was taught by guest lecturer Dr. Benjamin Dennis, Ph.D., who was reportedly having a hard time up there.
“Hello, class. And students. Well, those are one and the same,” said Dr. Dennis, who holds a doctorate in oceanography from Florida Institute of Technology, but is unable to master basic tasks such as speaking to people. “Um, so yeah. Oceanography. Um…yeah. I’m here, um, today to teach you. Um, about oceanography, which is the study of [sic],” said Dr. Dennis before sneezing.
Throughout the lecture, students observed Dr. Dennis standing very still while making dramatic hand gestures, incorrectly pronouncing the phrase “Marianas Trench,” and interrupting his lesson on climate change in the oceans to check attendance on two separate occasions. “Yes, you in the back?” Dr. Dennis asked after no one in the back had raised their hand.
After answering the student’s question, eyewitnesses say Dr. Dennis began fumbling with the settings on his Macbook Pro to show a Powerpoint Presentation on tectonic plates. After five silent minutes of errant attempts to insert his VGA adapter into the Ethernet jack, Dr. Dennis called BU Media Group for classroom tech support.
“Wow. Jeez. Sorry about this. Um, yeah. Wowsers!” Dr. Dennis remarked as students in the back row observed a considerable amount of sweat collect on his brow. “Um, so yeah, what are all of your, um, majors?” Dr. Dennis asked the room full of Marine Science majors before sneezing once more.
After five minutes, sources say that Media Group work study employee Erin Barton (CAS ’14) arrived to help Dr. Dennis, who referred to her as “Terry” on numerous occasions.
“Um, yeah, thanks Terry. Yeah, please fix it. Um, yeah, I don’t know what happened,” Dr. Dennis articulated, struggling to get through a sentence that wasn’t about the Great Barrier Reef. After setting up his presentation on the projector, Ms. Barton left the classroom as Dr. Dennis silently stared at the clock on the wall.
“Okay. Um, wow. Wasn’t expecting that,” Dr. Dennis stated. The guest lecturer seemed to finally be getting his bearings just before his phone began playing a ringtone of Journey’s hit song from 1981 “Don’t Stop Believing” from the leather holster attached to his belt.
“Excuse me, I have to take this.” Dr. Dennis said, stepping outside of the classroom to speak loudly on the phone with an unidentified person. The oceanography expert spoke on the phone until approximately 11:50 AM, the end of the lecture, when sources say the class’s four students got out of their seats and left.