Reid Buckley’s report on the deplorable standards in some US universities (News Weekly, September 19, 2009), stimulated my memory.
In 1967, I was lecturing in a Canadian university. I graded the essay-style examination papers, awarding a Fail to “Dale”, then submitted the results to the department board.
The head of department called a meeting of the board of five members. He drew attention to the Fail awarded “Dale”. He asked me to reconsider the grading and award her a Pass. “On what grounds?” I asked. “She wants to be a teacher”, he replied.
I told him it was my duty to prevent someone’s becoming a teacher when she was so ignorant. “But her mother is member of our board of trustees,” he said. “Reconsider.”
I returned to my office and fished out the exam paper. On it I had written, “On no account allow this student to pass.” I reported to the board that I could not change the grade. “Okay,” said the head. “The registrar wants the results now. I’ll phone him.”
Three weeks later, on graduation day, “Dale” came up on stage a few metres in front of me and received her diploma and hood.
Dr Frank Mobbs,