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At a time when first-year students are anxiously considering their options for concentrations, the comments by Sociology Chair Orlando Patterson and Sociology Head Tutor James A. Davis regarding Social Studies are offensive, intimidating and inaccurate.
As a sophomore Social Studies concentrator--who, incidentally, has never worn a pinstriped suit--my initial reaction to Davis' and Patterson's comments was to laugh. But because the Sociology faculty members' comments may influence first-years choosing concentrations, I would like to assure the Class of '93 on certain points brought up by this irresponsible and unprovoked hostility.
Most important is the interdisciplinary emphasis of Social Studies. Despite Davis' comments. Social Studies demands of its concentrators knowledge not only of social theory, but of statistics, history, political science, economics and sociology. This training is not designed to give a smattering of each discipline, but to produce students capable of analyzing social problems coherently and comprehensively.
Unlike some departments, Social Studies does not consist of pre-professional training. Social Studies has the advantage of conflicting political opinions and many different approaches from faculty and tutors trained in the various social sciences coming together outside their regular departments because they want to teach undergraduates in a subject that excites them.
The victims of this in-fighting by the Sociology Department are the students. The graduate students of all departments suffer because of Sociology's antiquated militant attitude about "departmental loyalty," which is totally out of place in a liberal university environment. Above all, undergraduates suffer because of the lack of cooperation among departments with overlapping studies. I hope that Davis and Patterson will remember that, as heads of an academic department, their commitment is supposed to be to the students, not to a self-aggrandizing desire for a following. Nathaniel B. Michelson '90
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