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Tufts Daily Article Angers Students

By Cassandra Cummings, Contributing Writer

In an Oct. 29 Tufts Daily article about grade inflation a Tufts dean called Harvard students “essentially a lazy bunch,” and not “that smart.”

Tufts University Dean of Colleges for Undergraduate Education Charles Inouye, who holds a Ph.D. from Harvard, gave the comments to the student paper for a feature article entitled “Easy A’s at Harvard Inflate Student Egos.”

The piece was focused on grade inflation at both Tufts and Harvard, and some Harvard students said they felt as though the Inouye’s comments were unwarranted and inappropriate.

Inouye was unavailable for comment yesterday.

In addition to restating figures cited in an Oct. 7 Boston Globe article entitled “Harvard’s Quiet Secret: Rampant Grade Inflation,” the article also contrasted the level of difficulty between the two schools, asserting that “it seems getting an A is a more difficult task at Tufts than at Harvard.”

Several House e-mail lists were a flurry yesterday with reaction to the Tufts story and Inouye’s comments in particular.

“I think he’s a bitter man,” said Patrick D. Blanchfield ’05. In response to the assertion that Harvard students are lazy, Blanchfield retorted, “I personally am [lazy]. Everyone I know, though, isn’t.” Blanchfield said that he did not think Inouye’s comments or the article itself merited a response from him, however.

“I’m not taking what he said to heart,” Blanchfield said.

Other Harvard students sent letters to the Tufts Daily addressing Inouye’s statements.

One Harvard student wrote in his letter, “Don’t hate us ‘cause we’re better!” The Tufts Daily article was circulated on the Winthrop House e-mail list, Throptalk, and several students sent letters directly to Inouye.

Michael J. Giordano ’02 sent a letter to Inouye and in an interview with The Crimson said he thought Inouye’s comments were inappropriate.

“We’re one of the most talented student bodies on the face of the earth. When you get that many smart people they’re not going to do [low-quality] work,” he said.

He said he was also perturbed by Inouye’s vast generalizations, saying that “it reflects badly on Tufts as a school.”

Tufts students also made comments regarding Harvard and its curriculum quoted in Monday’s article.

Tufts sophomore Jonathan Parker was quoted as saying, “I think [Harvard] puts a little too much pressure on their students to succeed.”

When contacted by The Crimson yesterday, Parker said he has never had any official interaction with the University.

He said he based his judgment on the experiences of his friends who attend Harvard. “[My friends] have said that there is a lot of pressure on students to succeed from other students,” Parker said.

His sophomore counterpart Lauren Amira was also quoted in the article, saying, “I feel like Tufts is different because if you hand in less than quality work, your grade will reflect it. Harvard seems like an elite society where, once you get in, everything is handed to you on a silver platter.”

Amira said yesterday that she knew people who attended Harvard but has never discussed with them the idea of a “silver platter.”

She emphasized yesterday that her statement to the Tufts Daily was merely her voicing her perception of the University based on the recent Globe article.

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