Article on Book Controversy Was Reported and Presented Poorly

To the Editor:

The latest issue of The Chronicle carried an article about our recent book, The History Manifesto, and the worldwide discussion it has inspired. The article’s headline — “Historians Attack the Data and the Ethics of Colleagues’ Manifesto” — may have misled readers about both the content of the article and the substance of the broader debate the book addresses.

The article picked out five critical voices out of the many who have found the book beneficial to the debate and to academ…

Chronicle’s Salary Database Violates Privacy

To the Editor:

Last Monday, The Chronicle debuted a segment in its “Chronicle Data” section that is described as “a new interactive tool to search and sort comprehensive information, going back more than a decade, about faculty and staff salaries at thousands of institutions.” Previously, the source was the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). In using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (Ipeds) data in…

Office for Civil Rights Should Be Given Less Money, Not More

To the Editor:

Congress should cut the budget of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, where I used to work.  Contrary to Howard Kallem’s argument, it needs no budget increase  (Letter to the Editor, “Office for Civil Rights Needs More Resources,” April 2).

Kallem cited the fact that more complaints have been filed at OCR recently. But that includes many copycat complaints that cost little to investigate. On March 18, The Washington Post quoted OCR’s head admitting that just “t…

Methodology for Ranking Arab-Region Universities Will Evolve

To the Editor:

In “New Rankings Paint a False Picture of Arab Universities” (The Chronicle, March 30), thank you for clarifying that U.S. News will continue to develop the Best Arab Region Universities methodology. As described here, U.S. News is bringing to the Arab region university community the same depth of study that has become important to parents, students, and policymakers in the U.S., using our experience of publishing the Best Colleges rankings in the U.S. for more than 30 years.

The …

Office for Civil Rights Needs More Resources

To the Editor:

Students are increasingly relying on the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to address sexual violence at their schools. OCR has 104 open sexual-violence investigations against colleges and another 30 against school districts. OCR has an important role here, but its resources are being severely strained. The number of complaints filed with OCR has increased from 5,000 in 2004 to 9,400 in 2014, while the number of staff has dropped from 700 in 2002 to 560 in 2014. Se…

It Pays to Revise and Resubmit

To the Editor:

The remarks and suggestions on article resubmissions that Kirsten Bell offers in “From the Journal Editor’s Vantage Point” (The Chronicle, February 20) are valid and useful, but they perhaps unnecessarily complexify a basically simple situation. Some of the local terminology she mentions may be more meaningful to the specific journal’s editors than to authors or even the publication’s own peer reviewers. If a paper is rejected then it is clear that that journal is not interest…

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’…