Scholar Charges ‘Academic Rape’ as San Jose State Panel Raises Grades in Class

United Press International

A retired San Jose State professor, who refused a university request to raise the grades of an entire class to A’s, Wednesday called the university’s final decision to give passing grades to the class a case of “academic rape.”

“Tampering with a professor’s grades with no consultation with the professor is tantamount to academic rape,” Prof. John Gilbaugh, 70, said.

According to a letter dated Sept. 15, a university ad hoc committee awarded Bs to the 14 students who had received Cs or Ds in the 22-student course. The committee let stand original grades of A and B.

Gilbaugh, who taught at the university for 32 years, accused committee members of conflict of interest, because two members work for the committee’s chairwoman.


Personnel Matter

The chairwoman, Dr. Beverly Jensen, said she could not comment on a personnel matter.

Dr. Lucius Eastman, special assistant to the academic vice president, said university policy calls for one of four committee members to be from the faculty member’s department and the rest from outside the department.

“This is not something undertaken lightly,” Eastman said. “It’s extremely rare and unusual to change grades.”


Ten students out of 22 in the graduate-level fall 1987 education course, “Social and Humanistic Foundations of Education,” appealed for a grade change to the Academic Fairness Committee, saying that they were unclear what was expected of them and confused by the syllabus.

The committee, made up of faculty members, students and a nonvoting administration ombudsman, recommended the grades be changed to A last May. However, Gilbaugh, who had taught the course for 10 years, refused.

Gilbaugh said he had given students a detailed nine-page syllabus and spent two class sessions on the course methodology.

Assertion Made

Gilbaugh did not appear before either committee, asserting that university policy had been circumvented by not instructing students to discuss grade changes with him first.