Yesterday, 17 students published a convincing letter in support of Professor Michael Barry. I have never met the man, but I am convinced that dismissing him would be wrongheaded. No one at the University can replace his expertise.
A student familiar with Barry’s courses told me that overly generous grading is a likely reason for his dismissal. If this is true, perhaps the administration is right to show concern about his grading practices. According to the registrar, grades in his “Studies in Later Persian Literature” are based entirely on participation and an oral presentation.
But lenient grading per se is not a compelling reason for dismissing a scholar. In order to preserve the value of A-level grades, the University can make Barry’s seminar P/D/F only. This action has already been taken for creative writing classes, which remain as popular as ever and are vastly enriching to our students.
Newby Parton is a sophomore from McMinnville, TN. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.