Letter to the Editor: Syllabi should be easier to obtain

To the editor:

Peter Knupfer makes some valid points in his July 13 letter to the editor, “Syllabi Aren’t Secrets,” but I disagree that syllabi “are as public as can be.” I would like to examine all the syllabi of a particular highly influential academic department at a distant university. My formal requests have been ignored, possibly because they know I am critical of their work. I tried locating the syllabi on the internet, with no success. The syllabi may or may not be on line in the university intranet, where I have no access.

Professor Knupfer is correct that if I were to travel the hundreds of miles to that campus and spend the considerable amount of time it would take to locate students taking each of dozens of courses I could, eventually, gather all those syllabi. But, that is hardly “as public as can be.”

Richard P. Phelps
Asheville, NC