The news of former professor Carleen Basler’s academic plagiarism came as a shock to the entire College community, with several students and faculty expressing intense dismay at the revelations about someone who is revered an idol, mentor and friend. While we at The Student do not wish to opine on the particularities of Basler’s case, we do wish to use this incident to highlight an important problem that not only plagues members of the College’s own academic community, but also elite institutions across the map: the lack of adequate support networks for the high pressures of academia.
Carleen Basler writes to all members of the College community.
Dear students, staff, and faculty,
I was dismayed by the mischaracterization of affirmative action portrayed in “Affirmative Action Detrimental to All,” an article published in The Student on Wednesday, Sept. 12. This article completely misunderstands the purpose of affirmative action. While I believe that racial diversity does in fact contribute constructively to any educational institution, benefit to the college community is not at all the function of affirmative action — rather, the goal of this program is to help bridge the achievement gap and ultimately to end the cycle of institutional racism that plagues our nation.
I’ve always been a fan of using facts in opinion articles. When I was an editor for The Student freshman year, I noticed that, many times, people wouldn’t cite anything to support their argument. Sometimes it may have been because the facts would have repudiated their article, but, most of the time, the inclusion of supporting facts would have greatly strengthened what they were trying to say.
Two weeks ago, U.S. News & World Report released its 2013 edition of America’s Best Colleges. For the second year in a row, Harvard and Princeton Universities tied to top the list of national universities, as Yale remained entrenched at third. In contrast, there was significant movement lower on the list, as the five-way tie for the fifth spot from last year’s ranking dissolved. The University of Chicago moved up to join Columbia University at fourth, inching ahead of Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which tied at sixth.
This election year is a special one: the first time this particular body of Amherst students will experience a presidential election on campus.
This election marks an intersection too; it is a means through which the community at Amherst intersects with the world at large. We bring what Amherst gives us to the voting booth, to determine the course of this country and the role of government in our lives.
Some people on campus may lack the courage to speak up yet still believe that the meritocratic culture of Amherst College provokes a sense of personal inadequacy among students of color. Others, like Katrin Marquez, recognized the inadequacy but misidentify its source. In last week’s issue, she disclosed how a faculty member puzzled her by paying more attention to her ethnic background than to her academic interests in an early advising meeting.