A popular website for students to post reviews of their professors has removed a criteria for "hotness" after professors criticized the website on social media and threatened to boycott it.
Those who criticized RateMyProfessors.com's use of "hotness" in evaluating the quality of a professor — with the "hot" professors earning a chili pepper logo near their names — said the "hotness" criteria could drag down their ratings for otherwise good teaching.
A professor's numeric score is based on voluntary, unofficial surveys from students who grade professors on their overall performance, how difficult the class was, whether the student would take the class again and more.
BethAnn McLaughlin, a neurology professor at Vanderbilt University, whose tweet started the social media firestorm, told Buzzfeed she believed the rating system was "blatantly sexist."
The website responded on Twitter, saying "hotness" wasn't a reference to attractiveness, but rather a "dynamic/exciting teaching style," but agreed to remove the criteria anyway.
Rate My Professors, which is owned by Viacom's MTV, claims to be the largest website where students can evaluate their professors, with "more than 19 million student-generated comments & ratings of over 1.7 million professors at over 7,500 schools."
The website used to publish an annual list of "hottest professors" based on user reviews, but has since removed the lists from its website.