illustration of author Mitch Albom sitting next to Morrie Schwartz, who is lying in a bed

Tuesdays With Morrie

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Why did Morrie give all his male students As?

Morrie gave all his male students As during the 1960s because he wanted to help them keep their deferment status and not be sent to the Vietnam War.

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Morrie truly listened to his students and became personally involved in their concerns. He often attracted "radical" students to his sociology classes because of his open-mindedness and refusal to unfairly judge them, regardless of their beliefs.

During the Vietnam War, male students could receive a deferment for being successfully enrolled...

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Morrie truly listened to his students and became personally involved in their concerns. He often attracted "radical" students to his sociology classes because of his open-mindedness and refusal to unfairly judge them, regardless of their beliefs.

During the Vietnam War, male students could receive a deferment for being successfully enrolled at any college in any field of study. The faculty learned that students who did not maintain a certain grade point average could lose their deferment status and be drafted, and they wanted to take action. Their proposed solution was just to avoid giving any students any grades at all. The college administration insisted that students receive grades for their coursework and asserted that any student who did not receive a grade in a course would therefore fail that course.

Morrie had a solution: simply give every male student an A.

And that's exactly what the sociology faculty at Brandeis University did. Morrie's solution exemplified his belief about loving people:

Love is when you are as concerned about someone else’s situation as you are about your own.

Students loved Morrie and trusted him because he was genuine and compassionate. Wanting to protect them from being drafted into the Vietnam War, he was willing to creatively design a solution that would both fulfill his needs as their instructor and would ensure that they would be able to remain safe and on campus.

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