erious students and slackers alike were taken aback when moral-minded officials at Boston U. banned the sale of Cliffs Notes at the campus Barnes & Noble bookstore. Refusing to aid students in their perpetual quest to cut corners, administrators opted out of the reference book racket. The message was clear: Do The Reading.
"They said they didn't want to be profiting from something that students were using to cheat, that Cliffs Notes were undermining the academic integrity of some classes," says senior Gene Johnson. "What it boils down to is that if students can get good grades reading only Cliffs Notes and cutting corners, then it's the professors who need to examine how they're teaching and raise their standards."
Boston U. isn't alone in banning the bright yellow symbols of intellectual laziness. Last year, Villanova U. also banned Cliffs Notes from their campus bookstore. Alex Pappademas, a Boston U. senior, agrees with the administration's decision and says Cliffs Notes are a crutch. "If you've gotten this far without learning how to read a whole book, you have bigger problems than not being able to get your hands on some study aids," he says.
Cliffs Notes marketing director Kelly Jo Hinrichs says her company is being unfairly targeted. "It's an odd statement that Cliffs Notes is the lone product being removed when there's a whole reference section in every bookstore across the country," she says. "We have a viable product that helps students better understand the subject area or work of literature they're struggling with. We believe in [Cliffs Notes] and so do millions of students across the country."
With three other Cliffs Notes retailers within walking distance of BU's campus, however, the secrets of literary subtext can still be found with ease.
How's that for irony?
By Christopher Tennant, U. of Wisconsin/Photo by Christa Rimonneau, Pennsylvania State U.
Return to Table of Contents