Student's claim that professor charges for letters of recommendation goes viral

Elena Sheppard
Wellness Editor
A student tweeted that his professor was charging $20 for letters of recommendation. (Cultura RM Exclusive/Peter Muller)

A student tweeted that his professor asked for a fee to write a letter of recommendation, and the claim has gone viral.

My professor really has the audacity to charge me to buy both his textbook and rec letter from him these people have no shame,” tweeted the student who goes by the handle @FaisalQasim_ . He also included an image of an e-mail from the professor, which seems to be a response to the student’s request for a letter of recommendation. 

“I’m happy to write you a letter of recommendation,” the e-mail begins, but then the professor goes on: “Writing recommendation letters does take my time and sometimes my office supplies (printer ink, envelopes, pen ink, wear/tear on my computer(s)), I currently am charging $20 per recommendation letter.”

The tweet, which was posted on Thursday, has since gone viral, with over 700 retweets and some very high profile replies, including a response from writer Roxane Gay:

Many others responded to the tweet, and a few questioned whether or not the tweet was even truthful. “I really hope this is fake,” one Twitter user replied. But the bulk of the replies, were recommending that the student report his professor to the dean for violation of ethics.

On Sunday afternoon, the student sent a follow up tweet to the hundreds of social media users who had since become invested in this story.

He wrote: “For all those who have replied with support thank you I will be reporting my professor, however I don’t want to make this a public execution this matter should and will be resolved in private out of respect thank you everyone for the words of encouragement.”

While it seems this situation will now be resolved offline, the student’s tweet did bring a lot of ethical questions to the foreground—including what is really in a professor’s job description.

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