Skidmore Effort to Diversify Faculty Raises Questions

To the Editor:

In a recent article, the dean of the faculty at Skidmore College is quoted as saying that the college should have a faculty that mirrors the community, and that when professors say they want to appoint the most qualified candidate, the dean is thereby provided with a teachable moment (“A Liberal-Arts College Intervenes to Diversify Its Faculty,” The Chronicle, July 24).

The dean’s policy is a nest of problems, and taking them seriously itself provides teachable moments.

(1) Does m…

Article on Graduate-Student Debt Lacked Context

To the Editor:

Student-loan debt is of great concern to me as a president, as I am sure it is to all presidents. At Nova Southeastern University we do everything to keep tuition as low as possible and offer the quality education expected of a private selective research university of nearly 26,000 students, 80 percent, or approximately 21,000 of which are graduate and professional students. On a per-student loan basis, we have made an examination of the average loan amount, versus per institutio…

No Place for Verbal Abuse and Bullying in Higher Education

To the Editor:

I was dismayed to read Robert J. Sternberg’s advice article, “Coping With Verbal Abuse” (The Chronicle, June 29), and to see so many commentators agreeing with Dr. Sternberg’s remarks. Verbal abuse, intimidation, and bullying are not acceptable strategies in any professional environment, much less an institution of higher education.

As the director of a department, I’ve seen firsthand the damage that this unprofessional behavior can do to individual staff members and the morale of…

Faculty Have Political Freedom Regardless of Tenure

To the Editor:

Rebecca Blank argues that the University of Wisconsin should retain tenure in part to protect professors from being fired for political views (“Why State Lawmakers Must Support Tenure at Public Universities,” The Chronicle, June 24). Tenure is not needed for this purpose at a state university. Supreme Court precedent prevents state universities or state officials from disciplining scholars on the basis of politics. Even in the absence of such case law, any university can contract …

New GED Test is an Asset, Not a Barrier, to Student Success

To the Editor:

The reality of today’s global economy is that fewer and fewer jobs require only a high-school diploma or, for those students who don’t complete high school, a GED credential. But the author of the op-ed criticizing the new GED test (“To Get More College-Ready Students, Drop the GED,” The Chronicle, June 10) misses the point: If his goal is to help more students avoid remedial education and earn a college degree, then the new GED test should be viewed as an asset, not a barrier. Th…

Essay on Arabic Studies Condemns the Victims But Not the Perpetrators

To the Editor:

Brian T. Edwards’ essay,  “To Make the World a Better Place, Teach Arabic,” (The Chronicle, May 11) does not need to be a political treaty. In fact, Edwards’ interpretation engages in inaccurate historical analysis rather than concentrate on the importance of teaching another language, in this case Arabic. His severe criticism is symbolic of the professoriate that is quick to condemn the victims but not the perpetrators. In their view, the reaction of the terrorist attack of 9/1…

Office for Civil Rights Urges Colleges to Respect First Amendment

To the Editor:

Much has been made of the recent internal complaints filed at Northwestern University involving Professor Laura Kipnis, including considerable vitriol directed at the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education. Writers have attributed Northwestern’s handling of the matter to the requirements of Title IX, to mandates issued by OCR, and to federal overreach generally. However, in 2003, OCR issued a Dear Colleague Letter (still in effect and still on OCR’s websi…

More Funding for Federal Research Program Would Benefit Nation

To the Editor:

“As they Slice NSF’s Budget, House Republicans Seek to Expose Research Misconduct” (The Chronicle, May 20) describes an array of issues, one of which is the funding for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), labeling it “affirmative action for state research,” but to place all the issues under the chosen title is misleading.

The use of “affirmative action” in this article is surprising given its normal context. Affirmative action is a powerful too…

Movement to Reinstate Football at UAB About Much More Than Sports

To the Editor:

Your recent article about the reinstatement of football at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (“Inside the Decision to Reinstate Football at the U. of Alabama at Birmingham,The Chronicle, June 3.) misleads. The grassroots “#FreeUAB” movement supporting reinstatement has been about much more than sports, identifying four issues central to the UAB story that are also at the heart of American higher education:

1.    shared governance;
2.    institutional autonomy;
3.    fis…

Colleges Should Urge Sexual-Assault Victims to Contact Police

To the Editor:

College women who become victims of sexual assault are directed to contact — or encourage their peers to contact — a campus health center, local hospital, counseling or a school administrator. Why are collegiate women not also being encouraged to contact law enforcement when it comes to sexual assault?

As a professional counselor in a correctional setting, I have met many men and women who have experienced sexual assault at some point in their lives. When providing counsel to thes…