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Hot or Not? Rate My Professors Ditches the Chili Pepper Rating

Written by Connor Briggs-Morris

Illustration by Tyler Doupe from Student Life Network

After a fiery debate on Twitter, Rate My Professors has removed the controversial chili pepper rating from its website.

If you were hoping to find out if the teacher for your elective next year is a hottie, you’ll no longer be able to do it on Rate My Professors. Students predominantly use the popular ratings site to anonymously review their teachers. More infamously, students also rank a teacher’s hotness, with a chili pepper icon indicating whether a teacher is good looking or not. After recent controversy, the site has finally gotten rid of this hotness rating.

What’s going on?

A neurology professor at Vanderbilt University had finally had enough. BethAnn McLaughlin tweeted last week that she was sick of the chili pepper rating undermining her ability to be taken seriously. She further argued that it contributed to the larger issue of the unjust focus placed upon the physical attractiveness of female teachers as opposed to their teaching ability.

The tweet caught fire (pun intended) and other academics started flooding the site’s social media. The campaign quickly rallied enough support to garner a response from the site itself saying, “The chili pepper rating is meant to reflect a dynamic/exciting teaching style. But, your point is well taken and we’ve removed all chili pepper references from the Rate My Professors site.”

Apparently we got it twisted and the rating was supposed to denote a teacher being fire, not being hot. Sure…I guess almost all of their users must have missed that memo.

So what?

I’m not a teacher, but like any job, feedback is part of improving. I’m just not sure how being hot has any value in such an evaluation. The objectification is off the charts. Even forgetting about the sexism angle, the whole thing is just unnecessary.

In a way, this ordeal has reopened the debate concerning the usefulness of As in, can students really trust these ratings or is it just for fun?

I recognize that any system which relies on anonymous frankings will always come with questions. So imagine my surprise when searching some of my former university professors to find that the group consensus kept lining up with my own feelings.

That said, people can be Bitter Bettys. Sometimes, one bad mark can be enough for someone to give a professor a low score. After all, people don’t generally go to the trouble of posting reviews unless they feel strongly in one way.

The takeaway? Rate My Professors is still just as unreliable as ever. It’s up to you, as you pick your classes for next year, if you want to treat it as a legitimate resource. At least it’s a smidgeon more respectable for the moment.

Author’s Note: Got something to add to this story? Have a news story you think will help students and want us to cover it? We’d love to hear your story. Email us at


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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.