Long the butt of criticism from students and professors, the degree of cum laude in General Studies is on the point of being abolished or radically altered. Committees from the faculty and the Student Council, having considered the question, are postponing action on it until next year, when presumably an entirely new and more wholesome attitude will inscrutably have come to pass.
Left over from a time when course grades were, almost exclusively, the basis of the degree, the general honors award has become sharply out of harmony with the ideal and aims of the college. It places unfortunate stress on the grade-grubbing routine and permits neglect of tutorial work, the thesis, and the advantages of concentrated study in one field culminating in general examinations. Aside from its inadequacy within the College, there is marked inequity in granting the same cum laude on such different grounds of achievement. The degree should be a badge of something approaching maturity of outlook; nine honor grades in unrelated courses are not the least guarantee that their recipient is not a hopeless duffer.
The compromise which has been suggested is perhaps the best solution. It is proposed to give a degree with Distinction in General Studies, quite separate from that with the cum laude in a special field. For certain borderline cases where there has been a late change of field, or where the student does not wish to specialize as much as honors would require, for distinction between the scholar and the man who has done a minimum of work, this would adequately fill the place of general honors.