Consider the Facts Before Condemning Fraternities and Sororities

To the Editor:

A recent wave of negative news about fraternity life has some pundits proposing draconian solutions that would undermine the freedom of association rights and the educational experience of 800,000 other students nationwide. Some critics even seek to revoke the tax-exempt status of fraternities and sororities. We think the pundits are wrong. The merits of the fraternity experience far outweigh the damaging acts carried out by a handful of students whose actions undermine the reputa…

Kipnis’s Criticism of Spousal Hiring Could Have Gone Further

To the Editor:

Laura Kipnis is right on target in criticizing what she aptly calls “the institutionalized sexual favoritism of spousal hiring, with trailing spouses getting ranks and perks based on whom they’re sleeping with rather than CVs alone,” (“Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe,The Chronicle, February 27). But she could have gone further. She could have pointed out that it is especially ironic that favoring the wives of powerful men (which is one common form of spousal hiring) has come to …

NIH Can Take Immediate Steps to Prevent Research Misconduct

To the Editor:

“Amid a Sea of False Findings, The NIH Tries Reform,” (The Chronicle, March 16) is based on an interview with Francis Collins, director of NIH, and others concerned with the irreproducibility of published research results. The problem is attributed to flawed research methodology that NIH will now address with a required course in experimental design for trainees. However, a study of more than 2,000 articles retracted from the scientific literature found that 67.4 percent could be …

If Patient Sues, Physician-Patient Privilege Is Waived

To the Editor:

In “If You’re Raped on Campus, Don’t Trust Your College to Do the Right Thing,” (The Chronicle, March 2) Katie Rose Guest Pryal decries what she sees as a flaw in FERPA. While her opinion is obviously heartfelt, it is based on a glaring misunderstanding of legal fundamentals.

She describes a case in which the University of Oregon used the mental-health records of a plaintiff to defend itself against a claim for emotional-distress damages. The author explains that the university’…

Staff Members Are Not ‘Others’

To the Editor:

I am a staff member for an academic unit at a private research university. Outside our office suite is a bench on which people can leave free books and periodicals for others to peruse. Another department recently left back issues of your publication on the bench, so I thought I’d take a look at one such issue. Surely The Chronicle is inclusive of the entire academic experience, even that of staff… oh, no, I’m wrong. An article (“New Survey Documents Pay of Hourly Workers on Cam…

Lack of Investigations Into Increased Use of Lab Animals Is Troubling

To the Editor:

Whatever the reason for it, a near 73-percent rise in the number of animals used in top U.S. research laboratories over a recent 15-year span is very disturbing (“For Better or Worse, Universities Make Greater Use of Smaller Lab Animals,” The Chronicle, February 26).

Mice, rats, fish, monkeys, and the other animals typically used in hurtful experiments are intelligent, sentient beings who experience a wide range of feelings and emotions just as humans do. As the evidence of these …

Article Warning Against Using College Counseling Centers Was Harmful

To the Editors:

It was with much disappointment that we read the recent commentary article “Raped on Campus? Don’t Trust Your College to Do the Right Thing” (The Chronicle, March 2). This article makes sweeping generalizations about this case without addressing the variance in legal statutes across state lines that do have implications for how the case may have been handled in different institutions in different states, in keeping with different jurisdictional standards. It also incorporates fre…

Better Student-Outcome Data Is Key to Improving Teacher-Education Programs

To the Editor:

Michael Feuer is correct in “Improving Teacher Preparation: Right Destination, Hazardous Route,” (The Chronicle, February 23): Evaluation of our nation’s teacher-education programs is important and needs to be done sensibly. In critiquing the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed rule changes, however, Feuer does not go far enough. It is crucial that the nation not just recruit teachers for high-need schools, but also make sure that those teachers are excellent.

There is no deny…

Results From Remediation Study Are Being Misinterpreted

To the Editors:

Nearly every proposal for accelerating remediation cites the same research that your article “Would New Students Be Prepared for ‘Free’ Community College?” (The Chronicle, February 4) does—from Thomas R. Bailey at the Community College Research Center, at Teachers College of Columbia University, bewailing the poor success of students who need remediation. And nearly all of them misinterpret the results.

The denominator for this study comprised students who were tested into remedi…

Dartmouth’s Ban on Hard Liquor Won’t Stem Alcohol Abuse

To the Editor:

Dartmouth’s desire to reduce alcohol abuse and reshape its campus culture (“Dartmouth Will Ban Hard Liquor on the Campus, President Says,” The Chronicle, January 29) is commendable, but regrettably its key initiative is unlikely to succeed.  Mandating “prohibition” just does not work.  Through my work as president of three universities, the head of a higher-education association, and as a volunteer working on alcohol-abuse issues within a national social fraternity, I am keenly a…