Phillip McCollum rocks!

There are times when I am so proud of our students at NDSU.  Last evening was one of those times.  It started when I happened upon a Facebook post on a student-run unofficial NDSU Facebook page called Overheard at NDSUOverheard is primarily used as a capture point for odd, funny, or annoying things that are said or happen at NDSU.  All types of things are posted on that page – even random professor comments sometimes end up on the page.  Unfortunately, on some days the items posted on Overheard can be downright mean.   And that is really where this story begins.

It appears that an individual posted an unkind picture on Overheard of Phillip McCollum.  In typical Overheard form, random folks who frequent the page commented on the picture – some in a mean-spirited way.  Phillip McCollum caught wind of it and made a post of his own on Overheard.  Today I am sharing Phillip’s post and the comments from students and others on that post.

As I write this blog on Thursday evening, 615 folks have liked Phillips’ post.  I find this so very heartening.  It took a tremendous amount of fortitude to Phillip to stand up for himself the way he did.  He is clearly a rock star. ;-)

The icing on this cake is the support shown to Phillip both through the likes and the comments to his post.  Apparently, it isn’t such an unfriendly universe after all. In this case, Phillip and those who stepped up to support him spread a much bigger message of acceptance, understanding, and inclusiveness.  Way to be heard Bison. ;-)

  • The creepy/weird guy in Sociology/Psych and Physics. I overheard that there was a pic of me on here the other day, and saw some of the comments. The picture I rather not mention what I was doing because it’s apparently “creepy”, and I wish no one will repeat it. Just wanted to say this: I have a highly functioning form of Autism called Aspergers. To cut it short, basically I don’t understand things socially as most do. Things that people think are “social common sense” I don’t get. I’ve been called creepy and weird all throughout high school, and rather not get that moniker here. Only people who may understand this is people who’ve dealt with Aspergers. The things most people find “weird” and “creepy”, I don’t know any better. Calling someone with Aspergers a “creep” or “weirdo” is like calling someone with Down Syndrome “stupid” and an “idiot”. Stigmatizing them for something they cannot help
    Unlike · · Unfollow Post · Yesterday at 9:59am

    • Andy  Now they feel like a jerk! Ha!
    • Hannah Good for you for standing up for yourself and saying something! Some people are so inconsiderate.
    • Andy  There are varying degrees of it, so I wouldn’t say that.
    • Chris Barnick Like I said in the other post, it was absurdly disrespectful to post that picture on here. I would say that people will do anything for karma, but this isn’t Reddit. I guess some people just get off on making life miserable for others (and getting a few likes on Facebook). I have a massive amount of respect for you for addressing this. Don’t let it get to you.
    • Phillip W McCollum Not everyone with Aspergers act the same. I have a horrid memory. (and again, I rather ppl didn’t write what I did). Because I’m guessin he’s never cashed checks written out to him from someone else for someone else. Or have troubles telling if someone is serious or joking. There’s different levels of Aspergers.
    • Andy Most “normal” people can’t even tell that I’m joking ever. Don’t be so hard on yourself!
      • Benjamin  one of my good friends who was the manager of my baseball and basketball team throughout all of high school had Aspergers. He was accused of doing the same thing in high school and girls hated it. But realistically like Phillip said, social skills and the understanding of whats “creepy” or not doesn’t really make sense. So Jake, I’m not sure where you find it okay to tell a kid with Aspergers that he doesn’t have a excuse for not understanding. For someone with a brother that has Aspergers you think out of anyone you would be the understanding one to help this kid. really dont understand kids like you.
    • Benjamin and jake decides to delete his comment….surprising.
    • Jake  I was asked to
    • Benjamin  fair enough, should have never been posted
    • Girish  Never wise to judge a book with its cover because we don’t know what is inside. I’m sorry you had to go through this.
    • Danielle  Hey, I have known many people with Aspergers, and they’re some of the most amazing people I know, and I don’t doubt that you would be as well. Also, they’re the least judgmental people, and I highly commend you for that. Some people in this world are just fricken jerks, and I should hope that our campus could show enough RESPECT to let you know how awesome you are.
    • Megan My heart and love goes out to you Phillip. I am so against bullying no matter who it is! The people who do it are immature and usually have a low self esteem themselves so they have to bring down someone else. Having a brother who is fully disabled, I will always 100% be on your side, even when I don’t know you. If I ever see or hear stuff like this happening I stand up for the person. I hope every single one of you will start to do the same thing. Keep your head up Phillip! You are one strong man that my own brother can look up to. Thank you.
    • Phillip W McCollum don’t hate on jake. i asked him if he could remove it due to it revealed details and he did, so I respect him for that. you know how hard it is personally to remove a comment about your opinion? he removed it to avoid being involved with drama, so we should keep him out of it. no offense to anyone)
    • Cody  I’m glad you stood up for yourself too, because in so doing, you’re also standing up for other people on the autism spectrum.
      • Cody  I guess this situation arose because of our culture of fear, right? We jump to conclusions when explaining behavior that is different, and use the most convenient and dramatic stereotypes to explain it away so we can keep our complacent little frames for the world. But, often, behavior that differs from our expectations is just that, “different, not less.” Nor weird or creepy. So those of us on the autism spectrum would appreciate it if people would not automatically jump to such horrible conclusions.
      • Melinda  Thank you for your post. My daughter has Aspergers so I am continually educating people on what exactly it is, especially when people don’t believe me because she looks “normal”. Your post explained it beautifully. Keep your chin up and stay proud.
      • Carol  Right on Phillip McCollum – you rock!!!
      • Callie  As a younger sister to one of the coolest brothers on earth, that also has Aspergers, I just want you to know how much it hurts not only them when they’re made fun of when they don’t follow or understand social norms, but it also hurts the people closest to them to have to watch them go through ridicule. I know this doesn’t really pertain completely to the post, but this just reminds me of anytime in his life that he has been bullied and hurt. Just for being different? That’s super lame folks, and unnecessary. Just think before you judge, peeps. Or don’t even judge at all. We all know that, or we should by now. My brother is literally the coolest, sweetest kid I’ve ever met. He is my inspiration and my role model. Oh, and he has Aspergers too.
      • Cassi - Phillip W McCollum, you are a brave pioneer of human rights. Thank you, not only for standing up for yourself, but on behalf of everyone who suffers from conditions like Aspergers, Autism, or any other form of social anxiety.
      • Jeff  Just to clarify (at the risk of some level of vilification from other students) you’re capable of explaining and defending your actions, yet you were somehow unaware that what you were doing is a little odd?
      • Rachel  Yeah, Jeff. That’s exactly the case actually…
      • Melinda  That is actually a very good question, Jeff. I will be happy to attempt to explain it. My daughter knows she has Asperger’s. She attends a social skills class everyday. She knows that she has problems with her social skills and it a constant process of learning. Many people with Aspergers need to be explicitly told what is socially appropriate and what is not. I am sure my daughter wouldn’t know social etiquette on the internet and I will need to explain it to her. My daughter is constantly asking me if what she did is ok with her friends.
      • Jeff  I don’t mean to be malicious, I have no experience with Aspergers at all, hence why I find his claim somewhat difficult to believe. Again, sorry if this comes off as insensitive
      • Melinda I understand it is difficult to understand if you don’t have any contact with someone with Aspergers, but for those of us who do have contact, it is not hard to believe.
        • Cody I wish more neurotypicals (neurotypicals are to autistic people what muggles are to magic folk) would just respectfully and honestly ask about issues that confuse them, like Jeff did. Bravo, sir. As someone on the autism spectrum (I don’t have as “severe” of symptoms as Asperger’s but pretty close) I find social reality very, very messy. And it is for everyone: people make messes of everything, especially socialization. So virtually everything social to someone on the spectrum is messy. We feel the messiness; we’re ultrasensitive to the chaos of social situations because we’re just not wired to process them off the cuff like you neurotypicals. But the thing to remember is that we differ from you in degree, not kind. For example, you remember your first day of high school: awkward, scary, unpredictable. But you got used to it, and eventually it wasn’t a big deal. People on the spectrum are not neurologically wired to absorb social data–we have to actively process it. So what you think of as normal social interaction is for a person on the autism spectrum the first day of high school–all the effing time. We can adapt and learn though–I have–but it takes A LOT of work, a lot more than neurotypicals. Look at John Elder Robison, for one. None of us would say that socialization is easy: it takes work for everyone, but I reiterate that it takes an extraordinary amount of effort for someone on the spectrum. Hope that helps.
        • Marina  I’m sorry
          1. Everyone is creepy, its human nature! That’s why people join social networking sites! IS TO CREEP!!!
          Andddd
          2.Being “creepy” and “weird” are a good things!!!! Much better then being a bore! If you are admiring someone and you’re pegged as creepy for doing it maybe instead of the person being rude you should say THANK YOU! We’re just curious!!! Not creepy! Mannnn people these days!!!!

        Day one thousand three hundred and eighty of the new forty – obla di obla da

        Ms. C

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About Ms. C

I teach at NDSU...but I remain a student of life with all the enthusiasm that entails. My favorite saying is, "Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down." In the new forty that is what I am doing...building my wings.
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3 Responses to Phillip McCollum rocks!

  1. B-dubya says:

    Many thanks for sharing this dialogue! Philip rocks for sure–very articulate and kind besides.

  2. tim haering says:

    Phillip’s ride is like being stuffed in a barrel and rolled down a hill, then finding you can recite Hamlet’s soliloquy perfectly, while managing not to barf.

    Ms. C, hope your posting isn’t like putting that barrel back atop the hill. Odds don’t favor splitting and doubling down on a pair of nines, when it would have been wiser not to have sat down at the table to begin with.

    God bless you, Mr. McCollum.

  3. Mary says:

    Kudos to Phillip for the strength and courage to interact and trying to EDUCATE people!

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