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Government concentrators from Littauer to Leverett heaved a collective sigh of relief Thursday when they heard Harvey C. Mansfield Jr. '53 will be replaced as department chairman after this academic year by the amiable Sidney Verba '53, professor of Government.
"Maybe now I'll be able to beat one of those history or psychology majors into Yale Law School," a Government concentrator said Friday.
Mansfield is best known around the University for his self-declared war on grade inflation.
Last year the department awarded no summas, and student pre-professional fear about the department's strict grading mounted so much that Mansfield obliged seniors this fall by offering a letter stating that Government courses award an average 14 per cent As and A-s. The Faculty as a whole doles out 29 per cent As and A-s.
But it is not clear that concentrators have real cause to expect a reversal in Government grading trends.
A number of Government professors and tutors said this week that except in tutorials, where the chairman has more input than in regular courses, Mansfield's departure from the chair will probably have little effect on grading in the short run.
"Professors are aware of [Mansfield's] feelings about grading, but in the end each professor makes the individual decision they are most comfortable with," Gary R. Orren, assistant professor of Government, said yesterday.
Mansfield, who has been department chairman for three years, was expected to step down this year since the position is generally offered to senior faculty on a revolving basis.
Dean Rosovsky appoints department heads after consulting every tenured member of the department.
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