The New York Times decided last week to remove its name from future editions of its controversial guidebook to colleges. The New York Times Selective Guide to Colleges.
"The Selective Guide," released in January, utilized a star system, similar to restaurant reviews, to rank 265 colleges in categories such as academics, social life, and overall quality of life.
Many college officials have questioned the ranking method that the author. Times Education Editor Edward B. Fiske, used; their criticisms drew extra attention to the book, which has already sold out its first printing of 15,000 copies.
Leonard R. Harris, director of corporate relations for The Times, said Thursday the removal of The Times's name from the title of next year's revised edition is in no way a reflection on Fiske's hook, "we think that the title inappropriately seems as if The Times is making the subjective judgements in the book, and it is not," he added.
Harris does not expect that the new title, The Selective Guide to Colleges, will have any negative effect on the way students use the book or on its popularity.
Although the format of the book will not change, there will be corrections of geographical and statistical errors which have been called to the attention of the editor. Any college that believes its rankings were based on inaccurate information is being review by Fiske Harris said "to my knowledge only Colby College has had its academic rating changed."
Colby's academic rating of three stars out of a possible of five upset Colby President William R. Cotter '58, said Stan Nickelson, vice president of the college. Nickelson added that Cotter wrote a letter to Fiske and presented him with evidence showing how Fiske had erred.
Harvard did not file any compliant despite the generally negative write-up, L. Fred Jewett, dean of admissions, said, "We don't tend to get very aggravated by these types of outside references."
"However, if students are going to be picking schools and basing decisions on that type of guide, then I doubt that they're the type of student we're interested in. "He was not surprised that The Times was taking its name off the book, saying. "I don't think the type of reporting and accuracy that The Times is known for was actually reflected in the guide."