“More Rigor!” They Cried

President Kroger is quoted (December 2016, p. 7) as saying “the graduation rate for all Reedies is too low.” Hogwash. Reed used to be synonymous with academic rigor and repute; Reedies who could not hack it did not graduate. Perhaps Kroger should destroy the declining academic reputation of Reed completely and just offer a diploma when parents cut the check? The current grade inflation has already rendered Reed grades as useless as those of its peers. Should students feel they are owed a diploma like they apparently are entitled to a 4.0? Students should not expect to graduate simply because they got accepted.

As for your request for a better alternative to “fallen” . . . seriously? From a Reedie? I can’t believe you did not consult Mr. Praline:

“He’s not pining! He’s passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! He’s expired and gone to meet his maker! He’s a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed him to the perch he’d be pushing up the daisies! His metabolic processes are now history! He’s off the twig! He’s kicked the bucket, he’s shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!”

Choose any of the above when I have entered my final slumber to see what dream may come.

Philip Wilk ’95

Germantown, Maryland

Editor's Note: I applaud your lively defense of rigor (and rigor mortis), but your underlying assumption about grade inflation is off the mark. According to the registrar, the average GPA for all Reed students in 2015–16 was 3.11 on a 4.00 scale, a figure that has increased by less than 0.15 of a grade point over the past 31 years—hardly a collapse of standards. Does academic rigor mean that Reed is fated to have a lower graduation rate than other colleges? Probably. But I am convinced that Reed can improve its graduation rate without sacrificing rigor, if it provides students with the right support. Perhaps we should install a parrot in Commons?