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Robert L. Campbell - 5/14/2005
A few years ago, some faculty members at Clemson called for the suppression of a "Rate Your Professor" website run by a fraternity.
I was one of many faculty who publicly opposed the proposed suppressive measure. It was not adopted, and the website returned to action after being taken down very briefly.
Or course, a lot of the stuff that appears on such sites is of questionable to no value. (So, for that matter, is a lot of what gets distributed in hard copy.)
A couple of years later, a colleague complained to the folks who ran the site because comments were appearing about her teaching that mentioned no specific class and were obviously not written by students. Those particular comments were deleted and some measures were taken to increase the likelihood that comments on the site came from students (there's no way to guarantee that when the comments are anonymous).
But even if the folks who ran the website had disguised their identities or refused to respond to email complaints, I would still maintain that such a site should not be suppressed.
I agree with David that the St. Lawrence administration would have been better advised not to make an issue of the site in question.
David Timothy Beito - 5/14/2005
The same criticism could often be made of the anonymous sites that rate professors including rightwing ones, such as those sponsored by Horowitz. Under the cloak of darkness, a lot of junk appears (and some valuable information) but trying go suppress these sites only makes the situation worse. If the Saint Lawrence administration had just ignored the site, nobody (outside of a small circle) would even care.
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