Re-Grade Asked Over Sex Harassment

Student Challenges Professor as Biased

A student who last year rejected the sexual advances of her English professor and received a "C" in his course said yesterday that she will ask this week that the college remove the grade from her transcript

In making her request, which is reportedly without precedent, the student will have to confront an official University policy on grade changes which states that once a grade has been entered, it can be changed only by request of the professor who gave it.

Official Complaint

The sophomore woman, who asked not to be identified, last spring made an official complaint of sexual harassment against Derek Walcott, a visiting professor of poetry last year.

Henry Rosovsky, dean of the Faculty, determined then that the complaint "had merit," and sent a letter to Boston University, where Walcott is permanently employed, "admonishing" Walcott.


"As far as I know, no one has ever come to me to ask for a grade change on the basis of unfair treatment," Sidney Verba, associate dean of the Faculty, said this week.

But he said that he and other deans would determine if the request would be handled by his Faculty Council Committee on Educational Policy or by the Administrative Board.

'Unreliable Grade'

The student said that she is not asking for a higher grade, but rather that the course be changed to "credit" or "pass" "I will never be sure of the credibility of my grade," she said, "and it my grade is unreliable, it should not be on my record."

University procedure states that a student "may ask to consult with the chairman of the department or committee of instruction offering the course" in perusing a grade change.

But the student said that she was unsuccessful when she tried that procedure last semester because of the highly subjective nature of poetry, and because she had not retained all of the work she submitted for the course.

Marlyn Lewis, the assistant dean of the College who handles sexual harassment complaints, said last week that with Rosovsky's letter, the official inquiry into the sexual harassment case ended.

Lewis said that while the question of sexual harassment may still be considered when the student's grade change request is evaluated, the grade change procedure is entirely separate from the previous sexual harassment complaint.

John R. Marquan J. secretary of the Ad Board, said that the College does not have an explicit procedure for cases like this, and that its response "entirely depends" on the details of the case.

Verba said that when the student submits a formal request to him and John is Fox 59, dean of the College, they will determine how to resolve the issue. "It may just be that we don't have any precedent for this, "he added