Architectural Blatherations

— Lafond writes to us

top rule

The Good Oil

Some time ago we received an email from someone using the name — Lafond, from the email address —lafond@hotmail.com: hereafter referred to as the —lafond entity, or simply the entity. Of course, we have no idea if the entity is a real person, and – if so – whether —lafond@hotmail.com is its legitimate email address.

The entity took us to task about our research ranking of the schools, and offered a lengthy criticism of the architecture school at Northeastern University in the USA. The entity is keen to sue us, asking us to reimburse he/she/it to the tune of $US16,000. We reproduce the email in full below.

We're confused

Since then we have received a slew of emails from the —lafond entity, stating variously that (a) Mr Lafond does not exist, (b) my room-mate sent the email without my knowledge, (c) someone called John Doe sent the email.

We are completely confused. Some emails from the entity claim to be legitimate emails from a real person. Other emails claim that the address has been used fraudulently. Goodness us! The entity also feigns surprise at his/her/its email being published on this site. As we state very clearly in the footer of each and every page on our site, all correspondents agree to place their emails into the public domain.

We don't know what to think! Our sundry replies to the entity have been rejected by the postmaster at hotmail. We are hoping that a smart lawyer's letter will sort it all out. Of course, we will be publishing that letter here.

The entity claims to be a former student of Northeastern University, and a current student at Harvard. Our advice from the registrar at the Harvard Graduate School of Design is that no one with the name on the entity's email has been or is registered. Our emails to Northeastern University have gone unanswered.

The —lafond entity writes

We have no idea if the entity's criticisms of Northeastern are valid. Some have a ring of truth, some indicate redneck prejudice. Certainly, the entity's literary skills are rudimentary. For example, referring to restrooms, he means to say that half the time they're broken but can only write have the time their broken [sic]. We aren't sure if this is an indictment of —lafond's high-school education, or Northeastern's.

Please re-examine you [sic] methodology for ranking schools . Do you realize that Northeastern University according to you [sic] rankings is ranked as a top tier school but, they don't even have the most rudimentary facilities.

They don't even have the most rudimentary facilities. Such as:

Also;

Why don't you do a little research before you make students excited about a particular program.

I wasted $16,000 on this Joke of a school of architecture because of your insane ranking.

Seriously, your method of ranking is a joke!

It has no credibility!

I should sue you for misinformation and demand the cost of my tuition back!

You'll be hearing from my lawyer!

Former Northeastern Graduate Student

Now a Harvard Graduate Student

Our response

The entity, it would seem, decided to attend the school of architecture at Northeastern University entirely on the basis of our research rankings (and thereby lost $16,000). Even we wouldn't do that, and we made the ratings! We were discombobulated by the entity's remarks and re-read our original statements. Did we mislead the entity? We hoped not. Here are the paragraphs that the —lafond entity apparently took to heart, and transformed into a positive directive:

…The survey does not claim to be a guide to those keen to become working architects. Our rankings won't help someone out of high school looking to maximize their future prospects and income.

… We have attempted to measure the architecture schools and their academics {professors} in terms of their research output. We make no statement of their quality of teaching. Our only claim that is that postgrads looking to complete higher studies, or undergrads looking for an intellectual challenge, should cast a glance over our ratings.

How anyone could transform those remarks into a God-given recommendation eludes us.

All that aside, the —lafond entity makes some very serious complaints about Northeastern University. We have no idea if they are valid, but at the very least Northeastern should be investigating.


1. In the original post from —lafond, we deleted the entity's specific complaints about Northeastern University, pending a response from the university. Since Northeastern has declined to respond to our emails, we have no compunction in publishing the criticisms in full.