ACADEMICS OR POLITICS
To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
I was somewhat amazed to read your editorial on Soc Rel 148 and 149 in light of your previous stand of ROTC. Apparently the CRIMSON considers it irrelevant that it is using an obvious dual standard of judgment.
In the editorial on Soc Rel 148-9 you speak condescendingly of Roger Brown's (chairman of the Soc Rel Department) objections to the courses, that they seem to have "'irregular' grading, 'unqualified' sectionmen, and 'activist' sections." This, to you, is not "an adequate explanation" for questioning the courses' academic standards. Yet, a little earlier in the year part of your main argument against ROTC was that the instructors were not qualified, the course content and grading system as well as personnel were not controlled by the University. Isn't this what Roger Brown has said about Soc Rel 148-9? That the department has little knowledge of or control over content, grading, and personnel.
Yet you dismiss Chairman Brown's objections as irrelevant even though you considered the same arguments as valid in the ROTC case. It seems, in your mind, that Roger Brown opposed the course "on political grounds." You conclude this from the alleged fact that opponents of Soc Rel 148-9 failed to talk with a "considerable number of students taking the course." Yet, again, in the ROTC cast you failed to mention that there was no investigation of contents of ROTC courses, distribution an rationality of marks, or effectiveness of University control.
It seems to me that you should admit in the case of Soc Rel 148-9 and in the ROTC dispute you use arguments about academic control and excellence to support what you like (abolition of ROTC) and dismiss them as irrelevant in campaigning against something you don't like (abolishment of Soc Rel 148-9). You should admit that you see both issues in political terms and that any talk about academic concerns are pure obfuscations.
You can't have it both ways. If you think that these issues are purely political--that it's a question of power only--that concerns about academic excellence. University control, grading, personnel--are irrelevant, then say so. I happen to think that these are legitimate concerns, and I'm sick of your dishonesty in exploiting them when you think it expedient and ignoring them when it doesn't suit you. Phillip J. MacDonnell '70