That’s exactly what happened to science professors Milwood Motley and Larry Williams, both of whom refused to go along with the college’s Success Equals Effort (SEE) policy. SEE is a policy where 60 percent of a freshman’s grade is based on effort and the rest on academic performance. In a student’s sophomore year, the formula drops to 50-50, and it isn’t used at all for junior and senior years. In defense of his policy, Benedict’s president, Dr. David H. Swinton, said that the students “have to get an A in effort to guarantee that if they fail the subject matter, they can get the minimum passing grade. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”
According to a story published by
Dr. William Gunn, a faculty member for 40 years and president of
Dr. Swinton’s policy borders on lunacy. Imagine that a freshman gets an A for effort in his algebra class but has virtually no grasp of the material, earning him an F grade. Under the college’s SEE policy, the student would be assigned a C for the course. What can we expect when the student takes Algebra II and later takes a course where algebra is a tool? He’ll fall further and further behind because he hasn’t grasped the material from the earlier courses. He’ll graduate only if the fraudulent grading continues, and his job prospects will depend upon racial preferences.
Here’s my question to you: Can you think of a more effective way to discredit and cast doubt on the degrees of all students who graduate from Benedict? How would you like people to be certified in any activity that way — your doctor, your tax accountant, your mechanic or anybody upon whom you depend for reliable proficient service? Whatever academic handicaps Benedict’s students have when they enter — their median SAT score is 803 — are disguised and exacerbated by the school’s SEE policy. As reported in The State,
The blame for this academic madness cannot wholly be placed at its president’s feet. Benedict’s Board of Trustees bears the blame for either enacting or tolerating this policy. Also culpable are those taxpayers and donors whose funds make it possible for this madness to continue.
While I know it’s probably not the case, I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that members of the South Carolina Ku Klux Klan were Benedict’s largest contributors.