The proposition to reduce the number of courses necessary for the degree of Bachelor of Arts at Harvard has come up again with more prominence than ever. At the meeting yesterday, the Overseers considered the reports of both the majority and the minority of the Faculty, concerning the change. It seems that a majority of this body advocate the shorter course.
We have read the arguments of the majority. We admit that the average age of Harvard freshmen is too great, and that men are now unable to get through a professional education until too late in life. We admit that all this is true, but we see no necessity for the change proposed. If men are now able to get better preparation before they enter college than formerly, this is so much gained toward education, and is not a reason for compelling all men to hurry through their college course.
We understand that the plan proposed will not influence the present standard of American scholarship, we do not intend to argue that we fear for the reputation of our college.
The present plan is well enough as it is. The method which has been in vogue during past years needs no change, and it is only necessary to do away with a certain amount of red-tape in order to accomplish just what is proposed for those men to whom the change would apply most strictly. Men can now, if they please, finish work in three years or even three and a half years,- in which case they must wait for their degree until Commencement, which is no great misfortune,- and moreover they can, by proper management of courses do the work of the senior year at college, and of the senior year at college, and of the first year at a professional school in one year. And many men have done, and are doing these things. It is only necessary that these methods should be made known and be better recognized by the governing bodies. If the total amount of work to be done is no more, we cannot see why the present method, is not the better. It is not right to force a majority of the students to complete their college work in a short time, in order to influence the work of those who intend to enter a professional school. By the present method the old institutions are maintained, and, with a simple act of the executive, all the proposals of the new method can be accomplished.