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Curriculum facts

To the Editor:

I write to correct serious misrepresentations in a column on the College's new requirements ("Bottom of the Course Barrel," DP, 3/16/07).

I did not characterize the "distributional" courses, which were eliminated from the new curriculum, as being more difficult than the ones remaining. I said the removed courses were more advanced and more narrowly focused than the ones selected for the sectors, characteristics that have nothing to do with difficulty. Because the new curriculum requires only one course in the first three sectors, the elimination of the distributional courses is no loss to students.

Second, the editorial decried the fact that some courses were dropped from the Living World sector. But your columnist did not discuss this sector with me at all. In fact, there are other reasons why courses were eliminated from the Living World. Under the new requirements, students may double-count no more than one course toward major and sector requirements.

Also, the courses cited were all Psychology courses and thus have Psych 1 as a prerequisite. Consequently, there is no need to list these courses in the Living World sector. One may wonder about students with AP credit for Psych 1. They may take any more-advanced odd-numbered Psychology course to fulfill the requirement.

Kent Peterman The author is the College's director of Academic Affairs

Buried coverage

To The Editor:

After the DP's January call for revived political activism, we were disappointed by the pithy coverage of Tuesday's Sit-in for Peace.

Dozens of students, faculty and staff marked the fourth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq by observing four minutes of silence to remember the tens of thousands of lost lives. Dozens more paused to listen to a dramatic reading of Simon Levy's "What I heard about Iraq (A Cry in Five Voices)."

Your photo of the event, buried in the recesses of Thursday's paper, offered little context for the sit-in. Penn and Drexel undergrads, Penn graduate students and alumni, faculty and staff joined communities around Philadelphia, the country and the world in reading Levy's piece. What's more, the war, "subject of several protests" according to your caption, has been the subject of thousands of protests nationwide this week.

Public demonstrations against the Iraq War have been a mainstay of the past four years of anti-war activism. Unfortunately, news stories on this opposition have been scant. We can only guess at the impact that media neglect has had on interpretations of the American people's sentiments about the war.

On March 20 at 12:00, we paused to remember the terrible price Americans and Iraqis have paid for a war opposed by the majority of citizens in both nations. We believe you had a responsibility to cover this sad anniversary and community action more prominently

Lydia Pecker & Sue Andrews Penn Medicine 2010

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