LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Lawrence not in decline

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Lawrence not in declineReading Allison Augustyn’s description of the curriculum might lead one to believe (erroneously) that minority literature and African-American history are “requirements,” and that courses in eighteenth-century literature, Greek history, or Anglo-American politics are now understood as “obsolete” by the faculty. In fact, no student must take the former and all may take the latter.
Ms. Augustyn’s account is short on accurate detail and long on vague innuendo. To what, precisely, is she objecting? If it is the new diversity requirement, she should say so.
It stipulates two courses (from among many offerings) that “prepare students for a more global world and a more diverse America.” By my count, students may still choose, in completion of their degree requirements, at least thirty-four additional courses whose instructors are free to do no such thing.
To single out “recent additions to the faculty” as the object of her scorn is most unfortunate. New faculty apply to Lawrence in good faith; they are among the community’s most hard-working members; and they comprise its most at-risk contributors-with not only a job to lose, but also a career at stake. Holding them responsible for policies implemented by the faculty as a whole is seriously misguided.
Ms. Augustyn has gotten one thing right. New faculty are the future of Lawrence. Current students need not lose sleep over the school’s purported decline.

Edmund M. Kern,
Associate Professor of History