Cornell Student Yawns in Class, Professor Loses His Mind

A month ago today, Mark Talbert, a senior lecturer in Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, wigged out at a phantom yawner in his 11:40 am HADM 1174: Business Computing lecture. Someone yawned. He was all like “RAWR WHO YAWNED BLAAHGHGGHGHGHHGHG!” and everyone was a little taken aback and confused. And that should have been that.

Unfortunately for Talbert, the Hotel school was recording the lecture for posterity and posted it online. It was only a short step from the Cornell Web site to YouTube.

And here we go:

After the jump: A blow-by-blow recap of the tirade

Well, at first Mr. Talbert is clearly miffed, but mostly keeps his composure. Somebody has been yawning. REALLY LOUDLY. And he was going to find out who dun it, or we’re all going to just stay put, and you’re going to miss recess.

“We’re going to sit here until either that person admits who it is, or the person sitting around them tells me who it is. Who was it?”

(It’s sort of like the Prisoner’s Dilemma! Except ridiculous.)

So the lecturer walks back into the crowd, and everyone is looking around, like “Wuuuh?” — probably half-tired or terrified that the guy is going to glance at their computer screens and see they’re playing Sporcle. Then the girl in the back —who it appears was sitting behind some sort of draping or screen even though everyone else was sitting in front of said obstruction (and let’s be honest, she was probably the yawner) — the girl points back into the hall and claims that the noise came from outside. But the distinguished Mr. Talbert is just not having it. This has been happening regularly. REGULARLY.

“Let me tell you something, guys: My bad side is as bad as my pleasant side is pleasant. Don’t push me. I like to keep things informal in here —” (Please note that everyone in the class is in business wear) “— But understand what the difference between informal and impolite is. And I won’t tolerate impolite.”

Now, before we go any further, I think it behooves us to step back and take an objective look at all this. We at IvyGate tend to have an institutional bias against people like Mark Talbert. (That is, people who wildly embarrass themselves on video.) So let’s just talk this over real quick: Someone was yawning. Really loudly. And, judging from the esteemed professor’s reaction, this wasn’t the first time it had happened. That actually is kind of rude, and a stern, sober-faced rebuke probably was called for.

Unfortunately, around the 1:38 mark, the dear professor busts a nutty.

“If I hear one more of these overly loud yawns — GET UP AND WALK THE HELL OUT.  STAY OUT OF CLASS.” And he goes on and on. “Ask yourself, ‘Why am I the one loser who has to do that when 220 other people know better?!’”

(Photo courtesy of Cornell Insider)

Finally, Talbert regains his composure and resumes his lecture, but not before lamenting that the phantom yawner ruined the tone of the lesson for the rest of the class. RUINED!

Seriously though. Imagine if somebody’s ring tone had gone off? Poor guy probably would’ve had an aneurysm.

We’ll keep the comment to a minimum and just leave you with this Auto-tuned version of the good professor’s freak-out (UPDATE: which, we should mention, was graciously provided by an anonymous tipster):

35 Responses to “Cornell Student Yawns in Class, Professor Loses His Mind”

  1. bigred0000 Says:


  2. BTS Says:

    that cornell insider article is considerably better than this one.

  3. BTS Says:

    that cornell insider article is considerably better than this one.

  4. redrose Says:

    LOL at the end: “a kilobyte”…

  5. guest Says:

    actually, Talbert isn’t a professor he’s a lecturer. and they’re all in business suits for a following class.

  6. Charles Bronson Says:

    Wow. The Auto-tuned version has me in such spams of laughter. You. Win. Internet.

  7. Ricky Ricardo Says:

    Only problem: no Auto-tune.

  8. Matt Lyons Says:

    It’s there, just not used properly – I’m not saying autotuning is hard, but I don’t imagine it’s a one click process.

  9. Matt Lyons Says:

    It’s there, just not used properly – I’m not saying autotuning is hard, but I don’t imagine it’s a one click process.

  10. HABOW Says:


    ^this, the autotune. its on the cusp of going viral.

  11. tressie mc Says:

    Maybe it’s just me but I suspect a bit of ego lust here. He is a lecturer, not a professor, at an Ivy school. Perhaps he feels out of his element. By his own admission visual and auditory feedback suggests he is either boring or the content is not engaging. Rather than deal with those more difficult issues through some critical reflection he lashes out.

    And, he’s short. LOL

    All told a perfect storm for this kind of overreaction. The yawn was significantly less disruptive than his behavior.

  12. The Fisherman Says:

    I was actually the Lead Teaching Assistant for this class for 2 years and I can tell you that Talbert isn’t short. Also the distinction that he is a lecturer and not a professor is essentially meaningless. The Hotel School at Cornell employs only about 5 actual full professors out of over 200 people in a teaching capacity.

  13. Laufry Says:


  14. Anon Says:

    “He’s a lecturer, not a professor” Does anyone really give a shit? Its not like he was a TA

  15. Asdfasdf Says:

    There is a large difference. A lecturer doesn’t necessarily have a doctorate. A lecturer is generally someone who hasn’t earned the title of “professor”.

    And yes, people really do give a shit. Go up to a professor and call them a lecturer. See if your grades do anything odd in the next few weeks.

  16. Anon Says:

    It only matters to the guy himself not students which is what i’m talking about. I’m a student here and believe me the majority of students dont care if the guy teaching them is a lecturer or professor.

  17. Asdas Says:

    What is that room they are in and what are they doing?

  18. The Fisherman Says:

    They are in the Statler Auditorium for a lecture that is part of a Freshman required class at Cornell’s School for Hotel Administration.

  19. The Fisherman Says:

    They are in the Statler Auditorium for a lecture that is part of a Freshman required class at Cornell’s School for Hotel Administration.

  20. The Fisherman Says:

    Whoever wrote this article for this blog has absolutely no idea what is going on. The girl in the back that the author refers to is a Teaching Assistant that is taking attendance and preforming other administrative duties. Also the students are in business attire because that is a requirement fort the next lecture that will start 45 minutes after Talbert’s ends.

    Who ever wrote this article is a dumbass that is clearly trying to blow things out of proportion. Next time try to do at least a basic level of research before you try to appear as an expert on any type of subject matter. Honestly you just came across as a retard.

  21. Tom T. Says:

    The article is supposed to present the news in a humorous rather than serious fashion. Because of this, the author attempts to “blow things out of proportion.” He is not attempting to sensationalize the story. Rather, he is trying to provide you with a comedic interpretation of a unusual situation.

    The Fisherman, how many hotels does you Daddy own? I only ask because you clearly did not get into The Hotel School on your own accord (I say this judging you merely on your sub-par intelligence and lack of cognitive ability).

  22. kids! Says:

    Oh Mr. Talbert, is that you? ;)

  23. O.o Says:

    Please do not associate the hard working scholars of Cornell with the anomalous Hotel School, they call it Statler High for a reason

  24. Cu12 Says:

    thats nothing more than a passing joke the majority of students here know that hard work is required in the hotel school to do exceptional. im in the engineering school and have respect for any hard working hotelie.

  25. midnight Says:

    I have no respect for your grammar.

  26. jfklsa;jfd; Says:

    Clearly this person is not in a school at Cornell with distinguished professors and scholars ranked #1 in the world. Or, maybe he/she doesn’t go to Cornell. Either way, sucks…

  27. Marble Services Says:

    Somebody has been yawning. REALLY LOUDLY

  28. matt Says:

    sounds like a dick head professor who can not keep his cool in front of a class. He should not be teaching, and if he would have yelled at me I would have yelled right back. He should have taken the high road and been a classy person, instead of acting like a 3 year old. Having a degree does not give you the excuse to treat other people poorly, and a lack a a mature reaction shows a LACK of MATURITY! What a looser…

  29. Quirzkatz Says:

    Did you know this is considered “yelling” on the internet? Apparently not, as you have just made yourself the immature one. *sigh* What fools we are training… A new generation of “ugly Americans.”

  30. Artos/guest Says:

    When did Professors or Lecturers in Universities or Colleges, get the notion that they were Dictators, who rule the world. Do these people not realize that they are teaching adults and that they aren’t teaching Public school. These students pay them for their education. The Instructors are employees, not Gods. They need to get a grip and understand this.

  31. Midnightalpha2001 Says:

    What are you kidding? American Professors are the easiest in the world. In most universities throughout the world you don’t even have the ability to speak to your professors let alone get cursed out by one. American Professors are the most accessible and nicest save maybe Holland.

    And, Cornell is a quasi – public university not wholly private. Also, you claim they are adults, I beg to differ. These are young people that are working to become adults.

  32. ArableLand Says:

    The professor is an ignoramous. Yawning is a spontaneous and natural behavior, although western cultural mythology loves to tag it as impolite commentary, anyone with even the tiniest bit of intelligence knows it isn’t. Although it is partly true people who are fully engaged in an activity don’t yawn as much, it’s not entirely true. There are many biologic reasons for yawning. People need to be trained to overlook such normal disruptions.

    Frankly, I’d be much more disturbed if someone farted than yawned, since the objectionable consequence would linger longer.

  33. Anonym Says:

    One cannot just summarily conclude that the lecturer objects the natural phenomenon of yawning. Rather, what he objects is how one yawned loud enough for the whole class to hear. I yawn often in class but I do it by being discrete. Thus, what one considers as a “natural biological function” may also be controlled in a way that it does not disrupt the whole class.

    “People need to be trained to overlook such normal disruptions”: while it is normal to yawn, one has the human capacitance to control it. Does one pee when he or she feels like peeing even within the classroom? Pissing is something normal as well but we do control them and wait for the appropriate time and place to do so. Does one fart in an enclosed room with people around whenever he or she likes it? It is natural to fart, but can this be controlled as well as not to make oneself disgusting while others concentrate on the lecture? The point here is that while yawning is natural, it can be controlled or if not, can be done discretely as not to disrespect the lecturer who prepared much for his presentation, and give injustice to the other 220 students trying to study.

  34. Dana Lane Taylor Says:


  35. John Stefano Says:

    That’s nowhere near as bad as my Sophomore year in international comparative politics. After a short argument with a clearly autistic student over the “thrid wave” the professor broke down lost his temper and his rant went like this: “Go Fuck Yourself! I’ve been studying this stuff for 20 years, I’ve authored papers, I graduated from Harvard! Where the fuck did you graduate from? I’ll tell you where: the University of Nowhere! Now get out of my class and don’t come back. Tell the registrar to come talk to me if they’ve got any questions about why I don’t want you in here.” The student walked out of the class and I never saw him again. The next class the prof. apologized profusely for the outburst but the damage was done. I wish it was recorded b/c I’ve never seen anything like it.

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