Sunday, February 02, 2003

Dwight Meredith suggests a letter of recommendation for the biology professor at Texas Tech who has refused to write them for students who profess to not believe in evolution.

I think Dwight gets the point exactly right. By simply refusing to write such a recommendation letter based on a standard which some might consider to be discriminatory he opens himself up to that line of criticism - and legal recourse. I tend to side with those who think it is his right to do this, though I'll admit it does have one foot in the gray area. However, what is definitely his right is to say what he thinks in a recommendation letter. While tradition generally dictates that professors write "good" letters if they write anything at all, there's nothing requiring that. A professor isn't obligated to inform a student of his/her intent to write a nasty letter, though it would be unethical to write a dishonest nasty letter. However, writing a perfectly honest one, as Dwight suggests, would seem to shut the door on any criticisms. Or lawsuits.