He also has been able to turn the dispute into a valuable teaching opportunity, he said. Cheney-Lippold, who is the author of “We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of our Digital Selves,” is teaching two courses this semester, one on cultural studies “from origins to the Internet” and the other on “the politics of code.”

In both class meetings on Tuesday, he said, he opened the floor for questions and discussion. Some of his students were critical of him, he said. Others affirmed their support.

“A Jewish student, a student who identified himself as Jewish, said, ‘All of my friends were calling this professor an anti-Semite, and I told them he’s the furthest thing from an anti-Semite,’ ” Cheney-Lippold recounted.

An open class session, with the teacher in attendance, is inherently coercive. Cheney-Lippold therefore had no business seeking support, or even accepting it, from students to whom he will later assign grades. It is impressive that some students had the courage to criticize him, but there is no way to know how many felt pressure to express approval. And even if they were sincere, they were nonetheless pressed into making statements in front of their classmates.

What student wouldn't confirm to Cheney-Lippold that he is "the furthest thing from an anti-Semite"? Seeking and invoking that sort of endorsement -- during a class period, with other students present -- is the definition of exploitation.