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A bittersweet site

We’ve all been there.

You’re in class listening to Ben Stein’s long-lost twin babble in the most mind-numbingly monotone voice you could imagine, praying that he would do you the tiny favor of shutting up so you could go home.

Of course, the university has a built-in system that’s supposed to combat this problem: student evaluations of professors.

But some students have an alternative evaluation on

The site which recently had its first anniversary, was founded by University of Nebraska graduate student Kasey Kerber and acts as a forum for college students across the country to post evaluations of any professor he or she chooses.

The site attracted nearly a quarter million visitors last year who left more than 8,500 evaluations of more than 4,000 professorsKerber said he started the site – its symbol is a bright yellow lemon – with the help of some computer-savvy friends and a couple thousand dollars in 2001 after he had a particularly bad experience with an instructor.

“I had an absolutely awful professor for a night class,” Kerber said. “You didn’t take anything from the class and didn’t enjoy being there.”

Kerber said the professor would do things like sit cross-legged on his desk or let his son run rampant around the room.

Despite the negative experience that prompted the site’s creation, Kerber said it’s not intended to be a forum for students to rail against professors. He cites the fact that 2,000 professors, out of 8,500 evaluated, have been given the site’s highest rating of an A+, including two USF professors.

James Strange, a religious studies professor at USF and a member of the site’s A+ club, said while he doesn’t like the site’s name, he doesn’t object to its existence.

“I certainly don’t have a problem with it,” Strange said. “It’s a free country, and people can do what they like.”

Along with Strange, four other USF professors have been evaluated on the site including religious studies professor Dell deChant, who is also a member of the site’s A+ club.

“It goes to show that there are a lot of great professors out there,” Kerber said. “We’re really trying to keep an unbiased site.”

However, Kerber said that the site’s name could be offensive.He said that when the site first went up, “We donned our hardhats and crash helmets because we thought we were going to get a shell shocking from professors.”

But, Kerber claims that he has not received one negative comment from a professor.

“I think a lot of professors understand that criticism is a part of their job,” Kerber said.

In addition to professor evaluations, the site features contests and funny quotes by or about famous people.

Ultimately, however, Kerber said he wants the site to be about the evaluations.

“If (students) come to the site and look at it, I want them to look at it like they had a friend telling them the same exact thing.”