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Miller: Censoring Course Reviews

(11/10/14 10:38pm)

The recent faculty vote to open course evaluations ostensibly seems to be a move in the right direction. And in some regards it is — Dartmouth ought to have made course evaluations available to students long ago. The editorial board’s Nov. 7 Verbum Ultimum discussed some of the proposal’s flaws, but it did not highlight some of the most troubling ones. In addition to the “opt-in” clause, which enables faculty members to open course reviews at their discretion, there is also the more troubling ability for faculty members to cherry-pick responses. Faculty members will have a 10-day window to pore over student comments, pull out ones they arbitrarily deem objectionable and submit them to their dean. The professor, then, could decide to censor student comments. Where is the line between truthful negative comments and ones subjectively considered to be inappropriate?






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